Your Summer To-Do List Before Going to College

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Your cap and gown are ordered. Your acceptance letter to your dream school is in your hand. With all the stress of high school done and a summer to adjust to the major life changes about to hit you, you may be left wondering, what’s next? If you are unsure where to start, here is a to-do list of how to prepare for your final summer at home before college.

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1.   Say Your Goodbyes

While you may be staying local for your college, your friends may not. The months leading up to the start of school should be spent enjoying the company of your high school friends. Plan a party, take a road trip, or explore each one’s new campus. It will bring you closer together while giving you some last moments to enjoy their company before you officially enroll in courses.

2.   Get Your Records in Order

Your records and IDs are an essential part of college. Most schools have a special day or week in which freshman can gather to get all of this done, including registering for courses, taking pictures for your photo ID, and meeting with your official advisor. Skipping these days put you behind the pack or may mean missing out on dorm room picks, first choices of classes, or getting your meal plan set up.

3.   Learn Some Life Skills

Your mom isn’t wrong when she says that she will not be around to do your laundry! If you are lacking a basic “home” skill such as washing your own clothing, cooking simple meals, or prioritizing your time, be sure to sit down with people who have the know-how to learn from their expertise. You’ll appreciate the education when it’s time to do your first load of laundry.

4.   Start Shopping for your Dorm Room

Preparing to move into the dorm rooms can be intimidating. While some schools provide you with a comprehensive packing list, others may leave you blind about what is essential and what is not. Research your future dorm room’s setup and shop from there, making sure to grab enough appropriate bedding, linens, and classroom supplies.

5.   Refresh on Tough Classes

With your course schedule set up and ready to go, you may be struggling to remember what you learned in Calculus 101 or the basics from that American History class from freshman year. No need to be scared if you’re feeling behind the pack. Remedial or review community college courses are a great way to ensure that you are on track to great grades and ensures confidence in the new classroom.

6.   Relax and Enjoy!

Soon you’ll be transitioning from high school student to college undergrad. That alone can be stressful enough for many students. Make the most of your days relaxing and enjoying your freedom while you still can. Stress free time off is the perfect solution to any pre-college nerves that may be building up before you leave home.

What are your thoughts as you prepare to graduate high school and jump into the college world? Have you experienced this before? What kind of advice do you have to new undergrads?

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Preparing for “Good Bye”

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It is a moment we know as parents will come one day, and for some of us that realization happens hours after they enter our lives. We only have 17 years with these beautiful creatures before they leave our nest and go out into the world to experience “life”. How can we possibly teach them everything they need to know before they become adults in the eyes of the nation? How can they possibly be adults, when they are still our “babies”? As the end of their senior year approaches and life shifts into the fast lane, at full speed, we as parents have to take a moment to enjoy the ride as well.

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Take the extra picture, make a day out of shopping for the prom dress, celebrate each acceptance letter, plan something special for graduation and make the most out of the summer together, because before you know it the end of August will be here. You’ll be shopping for all of their Dorm room essentials, picking out the best supplies, and maybe even updating their wardrobe.

The world of emotions that will be felt will vary from happy, excited, overwhelmed, proud, sad, nervous, and afraid; but through it all be confident. Confident that all lessons you have tried to teach your child have been learned and they will be okay. Prepare for those first few weeks that may be filled with sad calls of missing home, but also prepare for those calls that tell you how great everything is and how much they love it.  Because, let’s be honest, as a parent it’s going to hurt a little anyway.

 

3 Ways to Loosen the Grip of Helicopter Parents

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We’ve all heard the term “Helicopter Parent” and while most people associate that with a parent looming over their child’s every move, there’s actually more to it. A Helicopter Parent does consist of over protective parents shielding their children intensively, but the student is just as much to blame. Being sheltered is great, but eventually problem solving skills need to be formed, and that means without the hovering clouds of your parents. If you complain about your Helicopter Parent or rely on your parents for almost everything, it’s time to grow up. Being away at college is the start to your wonderful life of independence. Calling home everyday may not be as expensive as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily be doing it.

The first few months of school are intimidating, overwhelming and a bit uncomfortable. This is to be expected. You’re in a new place (maybe even new state) with alien surroundings and people you haven’t yet had a chance to really get to know. You may be feeling confused, out of place, homesick and a bit sad. You aren’t alone. Most every other student there is feeling the same way at some point and could probably use a friend. If you’re still feeling really homesick and can’t stop dialing your parents on speed dial, put your phone down, take a deep breath, and follow these three tips.

1) Once or twice a week-Max.- Unless there are some birthdays, questions or “Happy Anniversarys” to wish, you shouldn’t be calling home more than once or twice a week. Years ago, when students would say goodbye to their families on move-in day, it really was for long periods of time. Long distance calling was expensive and traveling was less efficient. Now a days, there’s so many different technological outlets that communication is constant. This is great in hindsight, but what students fail to realize is that they’re patching over a hole in their learning development. During college, struggling a bit just comes with the territory. If you’re calling your parents for every little problem and issue, you’re not growing, and you’re not learning.

2) Try to solve things on your own FIRST- I give college kids credit everywhere for some of the things they have to deal with. Those who live off campus have to deal with disgruntled landlords and outdated properties, students are learning to budget and be financially responsible, and getting sick is much harder without a cup of soup and the personal nursing touch from mom. It’s like being pushed into a cold pool in the middle of winter. But, just like any other pool, it’s cold at first until you get used to the water. Before calling home for guidance, try to solve issues with professors on your own. Get your roommate and give your landlord a hard time until they serve your requests (be reasonable). Make yourself a budget and don’t spend like you have no limit. Being an adult means doing things adults do and that means NOT calling your parents to mop up every mess you make. You can do it. If you’re still struggling with something after a day or so, call them, but first try to work things out on your own.

3) “I’m doing great, call you in a few days”- Helicopter Parents (much like any parents) just want the best for you. They want to make sure you’re doing okay and have everything you need. Even if you’re a little stressed out, that’s normal and isn’t grounds for you to alert your parents. You’ll make them worry and then they will call you even more than usual. If you’re trying to get your parents to loosen their grip a bit, keep enforcing the idea that you’re doing great on your own and while you miss them, you’ve got it under control. It may be hard for them to see you being so independent at first, but learning to be on your own is a golden rule of college. Remember that you have friends and your roommate to lean back on if you feel a little homesick. Go to a movie or have a pizza night to take your mind off it.

While your parents won’t stop worrying about you… ever (it’s their natural superpower), they’ll learn to let you make your own way. Texting, calling, Skyping and communicating with your parents multiple times a day is allowing them to keep a grip on you. Definitely still communicate with them once or twice a week, but take the extra time to learn about yourself and your surroundings. This independence will make you learn heaps about yourself you never even knew you had in you! Independence is exciting and teaches you a lot about responsibility. Use college as a chance to grow, your parents will notice and loosen up a bit.