1. Buying Your Dorm Stuff
Ok, so many of you still have a month or two (I’m looking at you, UCLA) of summer left, but buying dorm essentials is cutthroat. Super stores like Target and Wal-Mart already have their dorm collections available, and they will sell out long before you crack open that pesky summer reading book.
If your aim is to have a super unique dorm feel no one else has, I suggest checking out discount stores like Home Goods and TJ Maxx to achieve the eclectic Oh-I-just-threw-this-together look. Save yourself some time and embarrassment, and ditch the Bob Marley, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Beatles poster - ain’t nobody got time for all that unoriginality!
2. Joining the Class of 2017 Facebook Group
Even if you’re too cool for Facebook groups (or Facebook for that matter), your University’s Class of 2017 group is the one you should make an exception for and join right now. From roommate opportunities to book sales, concerts and parties, this group will be essential your first year. Trust me, there will be a lot of weird people mixed in with the good people posting, and these posts will give you something to chuckle about in your moments of summer boredom. Even as a rising senior, I occasionally revert back to checking my class of 2014 Facebook group for good ol’ nostalgia sake and a good laugh.
3. “Researching” Campus Activities
The Internet is this beautiful, magical place where you can find out anything you ever wanted to know about everything, so use it to your advantage! Whether you’re interested in a certain Greek life group or an academic honor society, chances are they have a Facebook page or website you can casually stalk. Knowing a lot about a group will help you feel comfortable joining them when school starts.
If you have an opportunity to visit your school and hang out over the summer, I really suggest you do. Having the social advantage when you begin in the fall will be a huge relief.
4. Seeing EVERYONE Before You Leave
If you have the fantasy in your mind that you and your friends from high school will be flying to visit each other at school all the time, then you are probably mistaken. Not only is it expensive, visiting friends requires a time commitment that doesn’t exist in college. No one plans that far in advance, and no one wants to miss a good deal of what’s happening on campus, so seeing all your friends before they move away is smart. Winter and spring break will be that much sweeter if you haven’t seen each other for a while. Plus, you will hopefully have some great stories to swap. It may seem like no one will ever compare to your high school friends, but allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by the amazing people you’ll find in college.
5. Packing Smart
Not to sound like your nagging mother, but the sooner you pack, the better! Chances are you’ve lived in one room your whole life, and that is a lot of crap to sift through. You may have no idea where to start, but it’s essential you only bring things you really need. You will accumulate so much stuff in the next four years, so start off minimal. I promise your Halloween costumes, giant boom box and coin collection have no reason to be in your 10x10 cell of a dorm room.
AND...If I could tell my freshman self anything I would say:
- Get a part-time job! Being broke is only worse in college because there’s so much you want to do and need money for all of it.
- Take fun classes! If you have to do a general education class, at least pick something interesting. I eventually took screenwriting as my art and an automobile class for my science.
- You will change… for the better! All that sappy “finding yourself” stuff from college movies has some underlying truth. If you come to college and find yourself changing, don’t fight it.