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7 Things You Need to Do the Summer Before College


While applications are now over and your decision has been made, there’s still plenty to do to prepare for college! The summer before your first semester of college is a transitional period that serves as a great chunk of time to get things done before shipping off to school. We got in touch with collegiettes across the country and asked them what they did (or wish they’d done!) the summer between their last year of high school and their first semester of college. Check out what they missed so you can steer your summer in the right direction!

1. Spend more time with family

These last few months before heading off to school may be your last chance to spend quality time with family for a while, especially if you’re heading far away. Consider setting aside lots of time to hang out with your parents and siblings this summer!

“Now that I'm in college, my summers are spent working, saving money for grad school and also interning,” says Tabia Robinson, a junior at the University of Albany, “[so] I have absolutely no free time.” Tabia says she knows all her hard work will be worth it in the end, but if she had the foresight to know she would be so busy, she would have utilized her pre-college days to spend more time with those who matter most.

"Looking back, I wish I would have spent a little more time with my family the summer before leaving for college,” says Rachael David, a junior at Pennsylvania State University. “It was so easy to go out with my friends every night since I knew I would be saying goodbye to them too, but I discovered that when school begins and the homesickness kicks in, your family is who you're going to miss most,” she says. “Don't wait for family vacations to get in some good quality bonding and cherish your last few months together before college."

Take advantage of the long summer days and give special attention to your family—trust us, they might annoy you now, but you’ll miss them when they’re not at arm’s reach all the time.

2. Rethink your relationship

While your high school sweetheart may seem like the guy or girl of your dreams right now, chances are things might change in the near future. College is a time full of new experiences, so you might want to start thinking harder about your feelings toward your SO. If you’re on a rocky road or feel the need to be more independent, this summer might just be the prime time to cut ties.

While it’s definitely not a bad thing to have a boyfriend or girlfriend in college, many freshmen who arrive in long-distance relationships with their hometown SOs end up regretting it. College is a time to really be yourself and figure out the next chapter of your life, so breaking up with a significant other might be the first step in that direction. If you’re hoping to start fresh in college, consider how your current relationship might affect that.

Nathalie Vacheron, a student at Rhodes College, regrets not cutting ties with her SO before college. “I threw away my entire freshman year of college pining after someone who was not open-minded or rational when it came to our long distance relationship,” she says. “Be 100 percent positive you want to do long-distance [before heading off to college]. Trying it and seeing how it goes is okay, but don't be blind. College is a precious, fleeting time full of new friendships and opportunities. Don't sacrifice your happiness for someone who is more selfish and controlling than encouraging of your growth and involvement in college.”

If you’re happy with your current relationship, there are still some things to consider. If you and your partner know you want to stay together, consider preparing for the road ahead. If you’re going to separate schools, think about how you’ll stay in touch. It sounds tedious, but setting some ground rules might be the perfect way to start the semester off the right way with your SO!

3. Get in shape

Transitional periods when big changes are already occurring can be a great opportunity to form some new habits. If you’ve been bogged down with homework during the school year and haven’t had the time to focus on working out, this summer may be the perfect time to get started.

Take advantage of your free time and put it toward your health. Work on getting fit for when you arrive at school in the fall. Getting your health in check will in turn make you feel more energetic and more confident—perfect for starting the next chapter in your life!

If you’re new to exercising, it can be a bit daunting; but have no fear! There are tons of easy ways to get into working out. Go for short runs, hikes or bike rides with friends or on your own. If you’re feeling curious, turn to YouTube for some great (and free!) workout programs. Once you’re feeling more comfortable, consider heading to the gym or taking a class with friends. Before you know it, your workout will be a regular part of your routine—which will come in handy when you’re trying to ward off the Freshman 15.

4. Score an internship

If you’re an ambitious student looking to get ahead on your career, check out local internship openings! While it’s perfectly normal to head into college with little or no internship experience, a position before college can give you an edge when it comes to looking for another internship or job later on.

The summer before Janine Eduljee, a rising junior, arrived at Northeastern University, she scored a paid internship in a company's HR department. “Aside from padding me until that point [of] non-existent savings, it also gave me some really fantastic experience in learning what an office environment was like,” says Janine. “Not to mention, I also earned some really great references and made connections with my fellow colleagues.”

Securing an internship before coming to college will give you that leg up and perhaps make you better prepared for the semester to come, especially if you work in a field related to your major. Not only can an internship offer a safety net of cash to fall back on (if it’s paid), but it can also be an awesome resume-booster and push you ahead of the pack!

If you’re new to the internship search, do a bit of research. Check out internship and job postings online, and consider meeting with your guidance or career counselor at your high school. Think about some local businesses that you’d like to get involved with and see if they offer internships. Take advantage of the resources around you and start searching!

5. Relax

On the other hand, you may feel overworked from your senior year and feel the need to lie back for a while—which is just as good (and important)! The anticipation of college can be stressful, so be sure to take time to sit back and relax.

“I wish that I had taken that summer to spend with my friends,” says Natalie Kelley, a rising senior at Santa Clara University, who regrets signing up for an internship the summer before college. “I wish I had stuck with my part-time job so that I could have had the free time to go to the pool and just relax with my girls one last summer.”

Instead of spending your days thinking about the upcoming months, clear your mind and enjoy the moment. Log off of that orientation Facebook group, take some time off from your summer job and hit the spa. There will be plenty to do during the weeks before you leave, but there’s no point in sweating it now!

6. Hit up favorite hometown spots

If you’re leaving town for college, you might want to savor those special things about your hometown before you go! While you might be sick of seeing the same places your whole life, you might just miss them when you’re gone.

Gather up a group of friends and set out to hit up your favorite spots around home. Visit your favorite hangout spot, go to the town landmarks and eat at your favorite restaurants. Even if you’ve seen them before, you might not have the chance to visit when you’re gone!

7. Branch out from high school friends

College is a time to start fresh, so why not begin now? When you arrive at college, you’ll be surrounded by a new group of people and will likely have to make new friends. And while this can be a bit intimidating, it’s easier than it seems!

Lynn Chalati, a rising senior at the University of Ottowa, says she wishes she had spent some time away from her high school friends the summer before she left for college. “[I wish I’d spent] more time with my family, or branching out and meeting new people,” she says. “It's hard to swallow that you may not be friends with these people anymore (though maybe you will!).” It’s always good to remain open when it comes to incorporating new people in your life.

There’s no harm in hanging out with your high school friends, but know that you’ll probably have to step out of your comfort zone soon. Take this chance to start making a change and preparing for what’s to come. There’s no need to abandon or cut ties your high school friends; just consider supplementing your current friendships with a new social circle!

With the anticipation of college coming up, now is the time to wrap up your last moments as a pre-collegiette! Be sure to take advantage of this time before you head off, and do your summer the right way.

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