How to Last-Minute Prep for the End of the Year


Woman posing after graduation

The end of the year is coming around, along with all the unavoidable stress. Even if you can put aside finals (which is a big if), the whole situation is already stressful. You’re probably moving out of your dorm or apartment for the summer, and even if you’re not, your friends probably are. How can you best handle all the non-school related stress that comes along with the end of the school year, so that you’re free to stress over finals?

Plan Out Your Living Situation

Hopefully where you’re going to be living is already figured out (if not, get on that ASAP), but you still need to make a plan for the specifics. There are some great sample moving plans online, but you might need to make your own if your situation is unique.

If you’re moving out of the dorms, where are you going to store all your things? Most college towns have storage facilities available, and the university itself probably has some sort of free storage space available. Ask your RA about it! Be aware, though, that space is likely limited, so compact your personal items as much as possible.

If you’re moving out of an apartment, then it gets a lot easier and more complicated at the same time. On one hand, you’ve got some free storage if you’re renting the apartment all through the summer. On the other hand, a lot of college kids only rent their apartments through the school year in order to save some extra money. So then you’ll have a lot of extra stuff that needs to be put somewhere safer than the side of the road.

Decide if it’s even possible to take your stuff back home with you. If not, you’ll have to fork over some cash for a storage unit or ask if you can fill your friends’ garages over the summer.

A lot of students spend the summer at their parents’. If you will be, establish some ground rules with them before you even cross the threshold. Summer can be a strange time because you might not have a lot of responsibilities to keep your busy. Discuss with your parents exactly what they expect from you beforehand before you get pumped for three months of vacation.

Plan Out Your Connections

During the school year, it’s easy to maintain a connection with your friends or significant other, since you all see each other nearly every day. You probably even live with some of them. However, once summer rolls around, it can introduce a different dynamic into your relationships.

Despite all the ways to keep connected long distance these days, young people are more worried about losing relationships than other generations. We have more nightmares about our significant other leaving us and it’s harder than ever to maintain meaningful friendships with the proliferation of social media.

Make sure to put a plan in place with the people you really care about staying close with. We all know life happens, but there’s nothing wrong with promising to exchange emails weekly or Skype usernames. This not only puts the framework in place for your friendship to flourish, but it lets the other person know that you’re interested in maintaining your relationship. If you can, plan a trip together!

These steps can help you stay connected over the summer. You don’t want to come back to school and not know where to pick it up again.

You’re supposed to be focusing on finals, but that can prove impossible when you’re worried about preparing for the end of the semester. Check off these big worries so that you can move on to acing your exams and nailing your presentations. Once your living situation is squared away and your relationships secure, you’ll be ready to knock both of them out of the park.

All The Feelings As Summer Break is Ending



While we love a good countdown, we’re not exactly loving looking at how many days are left until school starts up again. Summer’s dwindling, and we’ve got a lot of feels going on here. From excitement to seeing our college BFF to dreading the 8 AM lecture class, we’re basically a mess of emotions over summer break coming to a close. Here’s just a tiny peek at what we’re going through.



We’re holding onto the end of summer as hard as we can. With only a few days or weeks left, we’re trying to make our nights longer, our parties better, our tans darker. There’s only so much we can do with what little time we’ve got left, but we’re going to try our hardest to make the most of it.



It’s not happening. We’re not reading this article. It’s still June. There’s no telling us any differently. Stop sending us back to school emails and notes about pre-class reading assignments we need to get to because it’s just not happening. Summer is NOT ending.



You mean to tell me that we’ve spent our summer vacay doing nothing?!? Call it “denial” if you will, but I refuse to talk about summer ending. And if you bring up the fact that I have yet to pack for the move-in day one more time, I’ll probably explode on you.


Secret Excitement

YASSSSSSSS! … I mean… No, I’m not excited to see my best friends, eat my favorite cafeteria food, wear pajamas every day without being judged, play frisbee on the quad, or pledge the sorority this year. No way would I ever be excited over that when compared to the summer…



I thought summer was supposed to be the time to kick back and relax, but now I am being told I need to register for class, make sure my tuition is paid, contact the professor, get my reading assignments done, pack for the dorms, meet a new roommate, sign up for the freshman orientation… Summer isn’t supposed to be about to-do lists!



There was so much we wanted to do and see, and instead, we wasted it watching The Bachelorette from our parent’s sofa. How could we do that when we were going to make it the best summer ever? I mean, there were good times, but now it’s over and it won’t come back for months. It might as well be winter in our hearts.



The last stage of summer ending is the realization that no matter what we feel, it’s inevitable. Summer is almost done, but there are a few more days to make the most of it while we still can. But even with dwindling warm days, there’s a lot to look forward to on the other side. Stay positive, keep cool, and get through the final days of vacation.

Stop Being a Summer Zombie!


We look forward to summer vacation all year, but about halfway through it can get stagnant. Yeah, you’re probably busy meeting all your goals, working a job, and padding that resume. Friends and family fit somewhere in there. But there are plenty of people who spend their summer vacation doing nothing, relishing the time when their biggest concern is determining what to watch on Netflix that day. Whichever camp you fall into, busy bee or couch potato, the fact remains that you’re probably not being as mentally stimulated as you are in the school year.

But during the summer? The brain drain is real. Zoning out every once in awhile is okay, but doing so for such an extended period of time makes you run the risk of becoming a zombie. Furthermore, engaging your mind frequently benefits your future career, as well as your grades, come fall.

So, how do you get the cogs in motion again without writing a term paper on your vacation? Well …

Keep Up on the News

Look, I know it’s complicated. Not only is it difficult to piece together everything happening around the world, but who’re you supposed to trust? That’s ultimately up to you, as everyone will have different political leanings, but try to assess every story’s validity. Read multiple different sources for every story, and you’ll eventually get a feel for which sources are reflecting a viewpoint and which ones are truly reporting the news.

Current events are a great way to keep your gears moving, and you’ll definitely impress your political science professors come fall.

Don’t Neglect Math!

Math is one of, if not the, most hated subjects out there, but it’s generally required at most universities for a good number of majors. If you’ve finished your mathematics requirements, maybe you can ignore this one, but math can be very useful for everyone, no matter your career field.

Understanding statistics helps you understand how the world actually works; knowing how to convert units helps with baking or building; realizing the true effect of percentages can help you understand how student loan interest affects your life after college. Math doesn’t come easy to everyone, but thinking about how math actually affects your life might help you care a little more. Consider any math problem, no matter how simple, like a puzzle to spur your brain on.  If it’s something very important, like your monthly budget or your savings, there’s no shame in using a calculator, but try to do it in your head first.

Have Good Discussions

Just because you don’t have to write a paper on the latest book you read doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t analyze it. Sometimes having a soundboard can reveal illogical assumptions you made — or even lead you to question your original position. Even if books aren’t your thing, you can have valuable discussions about anything: current events, a TV show, trends you notice in your own friend group, football, whatever. Just try to go a little bit below the surface, and it might spur interest in something you never thought about before.

Furthermore, keeping up-to-date on a variety of issues will help you have better conversations. If you’re well-informed on most topics, most people will probably want to talk to you. And who doesn’t want to be known as the smart one?


Having a clean space is not just to put your mom at ease. It has actual physical and mental benefits too. It’ll improve your productivity, letting you focus easier instead of slumping back into bed. Being messy might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you consider that this will help you live an all-around healthier life, it’s really a no-brainer.

So whether you need to find space for your clothes or just keep them off the floor, clean your room! Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to fulfill all the stereotypes.

Keeping mentally sharp is a task that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Eventually, you’ll finish school, and you’ll have to do it completely on your own. Right now, you can rely on classes to expose you to new ideas, but don’t slack off during summer vacation just because you can! As your classmates shake off summer stupidity after returning to class, you’ll wow your professors and feel better than ever.

How to Stay Fit During the Summer Break


Summer is finally here and with it a well-deserved break from your everyday routine. If you’re coming back home from college, you probably just want to relax and indulge in all things you’ve missed so much, like your mom’s kitchen, hanging out with your friends and basically doing nothing. Or maybe you’ve planned an exciting vacation, filled with never-ending parties and exotic food.

Either way, it’s easy to forget all the hard work you’ve done throughout the year in order to look and feel healthy. Routines break easily and there are always tons of convenient excuses for missing out on a workout or eating junk food. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little break but it’s not really good for you, in the long run, so we’ve come up with a few tips on how to make your summer fun and productive at the same time.


Drink plenty of fluids

But not the bad kind like “diet” soda or alcohol. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially during your summer activities. Water ensures a healthy and balanced body and mind. Just remember to always keep a bottle somewhere close by and that’s all there is to it. And if you get tired of drinking tons of plain, regular water, switch it up a bit and try a so-called spa water. It’s easy to make and its flavor is sweetly subtle. The best part is that it helps you stay away from sugary, calorie-filled fruit drinks or soda. And it looks really good served up on the table. So, make a party out of it and invite your friends for a cool, healthy refreshment after which you won’t have to worry about how much did you have to drink.


Prepare healthy meals

Yes, you are on a vacation, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have the time to focus on your food for a bit. Quite the opposite, you have plenty of time now. Barbecue season shouldn’t be all about burgers, ribs and hot dogs; it can be about veggies, fish and chicken breasts. Grilling gives much more flavor so even seemingly tasteless food can turn into a delicious feast. There are plenty of veggies perfect for the barbecue like red pepper, zucchini, tomato, red onion and portobello mushrooms. Put some seasoning on them and get ready to be amazed. Since it’s summer, markets are packed with all sorts of fruits, so staying away from ice cream, cookies, and other sugary goods shouldn’t be a problem. Also, cut back on bread and other carbs, eat fresh meals packed with proteins which will give you that sensation of fullness without any extra pounds to worry about.


Exercise outside

With cold weather nowhere in sight, you don’t need to be cooped up inside the house or anywhere else for that matter. Step outside and do your exercises while breathing the fresh air. Go for a run or for a swim, try kayaking or paddleboarding if you’re somewhere near water. And if you’re an early riser, there’s nothing better than doing yoga while the sun is coming up. All you need is all is some basic knowledge you can get from watching yoga tutorials, a quiet place and some essential 
yoga accessories. Make this a part of your everyday routing and you’ll be starting every day energized and relaxed.


Enjoy a ride

There’s nothing better than riding a bicycle on a warm summer day. Whether you’re at home, just getting around town or sightseeing somewhere abroad, a bicycle will become your best friend very quickly. Almost every European city has great bike share programs which make it easy to rent and return. You can go everywhere, with anyone, avoiding traffic jams and still getting a proper day’s exercise.


Have a spa day

Book a massage, go to a steam room, or a sauna, you’ve earned it. If you’re traveling, skip one morning of sightseeing and treat yourself to a 
full spa treatment or visit your local spa center back home. It’s a perfect way to relax, unwind and cleanse your body. It will definitely help you get rid of all that tension that’s been bottling up for some time now.


In the end, just try to enjoy yourself and avoid stress. No one is asking you to be perfect and maintain all your healthy habits every day. Do what feels right and be sure your body will tell you if there’s anything wrong. All you need to do is listen.

How to Have a Productive and Fun Summer


It’s finally summer. And since you know that you only have so many summer vacations left, you’re prioritizing relaxing and reconnecting with friends and family! It’s time to fit in everything that you couldn’t during the school year when you were too busy to even sleep. Now, everything is a little slower paced.

Except, soon enough it’ll be August, and none of your goals will be accomplished. This isn’t to say that you don’t have anything to fill your time now. You probably have a summer job or internship and are visiting old friends. But that doesn’t mean you have no chance of achieving some long-procrastinated goals. The truth is that you can have both, with some careful planning. Summer is the perfect time to have your cake and eat it too. You can read those books you were supposed to in high school (and now realize weren’t just a waste of time), travel somewhere new (so you’ll have something interesting to say to your new roommate), or lose that freshman fifteen (or sophomore 20, we don’t judge).

Write Down Your Goals!

It might seem useless, but writing down your goals makes it more likely that you will achieve them. Writing them down not only shows more commitment than simply envisioning it, but it also ensures that your goals will be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). While it’s easy to think things like, “I should read more this summer,” or “I should work out more during the summer, since I don’t have to get up early,” it’s a lot harder to come up with actionable goals. When you’re writing goals down, you’re forced to confront the fact that your goals aren’t very SMART. Instead, you’re more likely to write down something like, “I will read three novels this summer” or “I will work out five days a week for an hour.”

Perhaps most importantly, this will let you know see whether or not you’re overburdening yourself. If you have a goal list 10 pages long for the summer, this might not be a summer vacation, and that’s a priority too!

Plan Trips Ahead of Time

You’ve only got a couple more weeks until the end of summer, but you’re scheduled to work some extra shifts. That’s okay you’ll make some moolah right before the start of the semester — no problem, right? Until your friends call you about an impromptu camping trip, and you’re stuck between scrambling to get your shifts covered or missing out on one last hoorah with your friends.

It’s a crappy situation and one that too many ill-prepared college kids find themselves in. It’s even worse if you’re only in town for the summer because then the pressure is really on to both make money and spend as much time with friends as possible. It’s much easier if you plan out your trips in advance. Obviously, this can’t be a reality in all circumstances, but you should do with as many summer trips as possible.

Also, planning ahead for trips will let you account for your goals! Everyone accounts for work schedule changes, but keep in mind whatever schedule you have built around your goals as well. Of course, it’s not impossible to stay fit while traveling, and learning a language while traveling can be ideal! However, there might be some goals that you have that are more difficult to do, like making money to pay for tuition. Plans you have for those sort of goals might need to be accelerated when you consider travel plans.

Pad Your Resume

If you don’t have a job or internship, there are other valuable ways to gain experience. You can volunteer for various organizations, write for online magazines, or do online classes. The experience you’re looking for will depend on your niche, but this summer doesn’t have to be completely useless. You can use it to get ahead.

With this step in particular, though, make sure that this is an experience you will enjoy. Summer should be at least somewhat relaxing, and no one wants to start fall semester already burnt out. It’s important to pad your resume with experience, but it’s also important to take a moment to enjoy yourself.

Summer shouldn’t be a productivity wasteland, but deciding how productive you want to be is up to you. Some people see this as a great time to get ahead. Others just need to take a month and reset. However, don’t fall into the trap of getting absolutely nothing done. It can be easy to fall into the habit of doing nothing, but accomplishments and experiences will make your summer, not Netflix binging. Focus on the end goals, and you’ll have your best summer yet.

8 Unconventional Ways to Spend Your Summer Break



Our final papers are done, our exam notes are prepared, and we’re already busy packing up the dorm for the year. Summer break couldn’t come any sooner for us! But we don’t plan on spending it lounging around home. Instead, we’re putting our weeks off to good use by trying out these eight unconventional ways to spend your summer break.


  1. Going to School

Say what…? No, we’re serious. The summer is the BEST time to catch up on classes or get a headstart. Most universities allow you to take and transfer a certain amount of credits from other classes. With local community colleges open year round, you can save time and money by getting a basic biology gen ed out of the way or retaking a communications class.


  1. Volunteering Abroad

There are so many programs out there looking for college students to work and volunteer abroad. For example, you could work on a farm in exchange for room, board, and a small stipend. Or, you could spend your summer volunteering at summer camps in Europe or Asia.


  1. Couchsurfing

Now that our old friends are scattered throughout the US, it’s the perfect time to go on a road trip. Couchsurf from one friend’s place to another and see how far you can go before you need to reserve a hotel room. Recruit friends to meet new friends along the way. It’s affordable, challenging, and so much fun.


  1. Banking for the Next Year

College is expensive. We all know that. That’s why we have no shame in admitting that we will be side hustling our butts off this summer. From mowing lawns, babysitting neighbors, and making money freelancing, there are tons of opportunities for short-term, low-pressure jobs geared towards college students.


  1. Backpacking America

With your student discount, you can go or do anything for so much less. Amtrak trains offer student fairs, and many hostels require you to show student IDs to use them. In other words, with a small budget, you could see the country without breaking the bank.


  1. Making a Difference in the Community

Your time matters, especially when you put it to good use. This summer, give back and add some new skills to your resume. A few great ideas include working at a local animal shelter, tutor English language learners, or help out with charity races.


  1. Sticking Around Campus

Sure, it would be awesome to go home, but there are so many reasons why living on campus during summer break rocks. For one, you’ll be one of a few. Colleges empty out for breaks, so you’ll rule the roost. But there’s also opportunities to work in a professor’s lab, take on a campus job, or catch up on coursework.


  1. Interning for Future Career Points

Interning can seem intimidating, especially compared to relaxing on the beach, but it’s a huge deal for college students, and it could make or break your career path. Some popular college summer internship programs include working on a cruise ship, through the Disney program, or with nonprofits in your area. If you’re not yet up to interning, consider shadowing or requesting a mentor instead. It’s less pressure and more time to enjoy your break.



Why You Should Definitely Spend Summer Break Backpacking


Summer-Break-College-Travel-BackpackingSummer is here, and it’s time to lock down your plans. For many, it means taking a timeout for a long and relaxing vacation. However, if you’re more like us and in need of a great big adventure outdoors, backpacking may be for you. Whether you’re a beginner or clocked in hundreds of miles already, here’s why backpacking is the perfect way to spend your summer.


What is Backpacking?

For each person, backpacking means something different, but the basic definition is that you take everything you need for your trip in one bag. Trips are usually longer, such as a week or more, and require an extended period on your feet hiking, walking, climbing, etc.

Pro hikers use special, very expensive backpacks that are made to carry a lot of weight on your back. They may also have compartments for tents and sleeping bags, along with tools and food. Other, more casual backpackers, get away with basic packs that are more lightweight and made for short-term, mixed-use trips.


Where to Backpack

The best part of backpacking is that you can do it anywhere! You could even spend your summer backpacking the local state park, if you wanted. The destinations are unlimited, and even urban backpackers are welcome! If you’re looking for summer backpacking trips, here are top destinations in each region:

  • East Coast:

    • Appalachian Trail
    • New York City
    • Adirondack Mountains
    • Acadia National Park


  • Mid-West:

    • Sleeping Bear Dunes
    • Dakota Prairie National Grassland
    • Obannon Woods
    • Chicago Lakeshore


  • South:

    • Bartram Trail
    • De Soto National Forest
    • Florida Trail
    • Ozark National Park


  • Southwest and West Coast:

    • Crested Butte
    • John Muir Trail
    • Pacific Crest Trail
    • Grand Canyon


Going Beyond

With all those destinations, you could be traveling for summer after summer trying to cross them off your to-do list. But if you’re looking for a real adventure, why not save up for a trip of the lifetime by crossing the border.

Many college students are at the perfect point in their lives where they can travel internationally by backpacking. It’s affordable, safe (in most places, but always check travel alerts first), and the perfect way to see some spectacular, off the beaten path destinations.

Take a month and go to Europe using backpacks, hostels, and trails (or trains) to hit up your favorite cities. Visit South America to see ancient ruins from tribes long extinct. Or get a real culture shock from seeing Asia outside the major cities and tourist hubs.


Why You Should Backpack While in College

Backpacking is a great distance exercise. It requires a lot of strength to carry around enough food, clothes, tents, and supplies to last you. And you’ll be pushed to your limits if you take it up a notch by selecting a trail that’s elevated or headed through forestland.

In addition to exercise, you’ll save cash on gas, plane tickets, luggage fees, and more. You’ll just need to get to and from your destination, and the rest can be extremely affordable. Use friends or sale sites to source your camping gear or backpack needs to save even more!

However, the main reason to backpack is to see the world from the outside. When you’re able to take everything you need on your back, you’re not tied down by suitcases or expensive flights. You can see and do what you have always dreamed of with just your two feet.

6 Weirdest Roadside Attractions to See on Your Summer Break Roadtrip



Hitting the road during for an epic road trip is always a great idea — especially when you’re on summer break. Whether you’re going a few miles or traveling North America from east to west, there is so much to do and see. There’s especially no shortage of quirky and unique destinations for you to pull over and stretch your legs at. These are our favorite weirdest roadside attractions you absolutely must put on your map this summer.

Spend Summer Break Checking Out These 6 Unique Roadside Attractions

  1. World’s Largest Ball of Twine — Cawker City, Kansas

Photo via

The name pretty much says it all: it’s a giant ball of twine. But here’s the kicker — it isn’t really the biggest. The competition is apparently fierce in the twine ball world, and in Darwin, Minnesota is the largest twine ball… rolled by one person. Why not see both and decide which one is best?


  1. Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail and Museum — Weldon Spring, Missouri

Photo via

Sure, it’s a little morbid to think about, but you’ll be entertained for at least an hour or two on this outdoor path and museum. It chronicles a shutdown nuclear waste site from World War II and educates the public on what the dangers of atomic weapon manufacturing.


  1. Fountain of Youth — Lewes, Delaware

Image via

You probably don’t need it now, so stopping here isn’t a necessity unless you’re interested in folklore and a bit of weird mystery. Legend has it that the fountain was discovered by Dutch colonists in the 1600’s, but after it was given designation three hundred years later, the well went dry. Even the shell used to drink from the fountain is missing.


  1. Cadillac Ranch — Amarillo, Texas

Photo via

You’ve probably seen the iconic pictures of this attraction, so why not check it out? You’ll feel better about yourself knowing that it’s a work of art created by an art group called the Ant Farm. The artists took old cadillacs, spray painted them, and then placed them so that they are at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza.


  1. World’s Only Corn Palace — Mitchell, South Dakota

Image via

From afar, it looks a bit like an old-world palace for a duke or king. But in real life, it’s a structure in which, yearly, someone painstakingly glues corn, wheat, grass, and other agriculture to the outside. Every year is a different theme, so you can always come back for more.


  1. Lucy the Elephant — Margate, New Jersey

Photo via

This elephant is a bit more impressive than ones you’d see at a zoo. At six-stories tall and built in the 1880s, it is not only a giant, but it is the oldest roadside attraction in the United States. It went from being a restaurant, viewpoint, marketing ploy, and even a summer home. Today, you can still climb aboard.


Summer Adventures: End of Summer Bucket List


End of Summer Break

The clock is ticking on the remaining time left in Summer 2016. The year to come will bring new classes, new challenges and new responsibilities, but it will also bring new adventures, fun and happiness. That said, make sure you’re tackling your end-of-summer bucket list to start the year off strong, motivated, and ready! Here’s my advice for finishing off the summer right.

Make One Last Trip

Be it the beach, amusement park, cabin or local garden, make sure to visit your favorite summer spot one last time.

Summer Break Beach

GIF via Giphy


Have One “Last Supper”

Does your mom make the best mac & cheese? Or maybe you have an absolute favorite restaurant that’s only in your hometown. Be sure to treat yourself to your favorite meal before returning to dining hall food until Thanksgiving.

Selena Gomez Eating

GIF via Tumblr


Get Together with Friends

While we know they’re just one call away during the semester, be sure to get some face-to-face time during one last summer hurrah.

Friends Saying Goodbye

GIF via Tumblr


Don’t Forget About Extended & Immediate Family!

Be sure to say goodbye to your siblings, grandparents, and anyone else you might not see until the holidays.

Saying Goodbye to Family

GIF via Tumblr

I hope you all enjoy these last few days of summer! Squeeze every last bit of joy out of it, and you’ll return back to school fully energized and ready to take on the year!

Move-in Series: 2 Months Out (aka How to Get Through the Longest Summer Vacation)


Move in 2 months out

The days, weeks, and even months leading up to the start of college can be tough. Plagued with an incurable case of senioritis, high school seniors often catch themselves doodling shopping lists and dorm room layout designs in class, daydreaming about what it would be like to pledge Greek, and longing for the days of no morning classes. We’re right there with you!

It’s hard to be patient when there is so much to look forward to. To encourage that enthusiasm, we’ll be sharing a Move-in Series specifically for students like you, that helps you to tackle all the to-do’s before moving away to college. To get you prepped and ready for move-in day, we’re going to take you through five stages. From two months away to move-in day, we’ve got you covered. Here, let’s discuss how to kick off your last summer before freshman year!

Step 1: College Registration

You may have been accepted into college, but you’re still ways away from the start of fall semester. That doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking ahead! First things first, take care of any paperwork for your school, financial aid, and/or scholarships. Get the most boring stuff out of the way first, so it’s out of sight and out of mind. While you’re at it, don’t forget to setup your college email! Check it often so you don’t miss out on any important notifications from your department or residence hall RA. Lastly, sign up for your classes early! Popular professors and time slots fill up fast, so even if you’re schedule is tentative, sign up. Dropping or adding a class is easier to do early on.

Step 2: Get your money right

Before you start shopping for all your college needs, make sure you have your finances in order. If you haven’t done so already, open up a bank account. Take care of any student loan or credit card applications. You might even apply for your first credit card to increase your credit score.

Next, build a budget that takes into account all of your income and expenses. Keep in mind a time frame for your budget. Are you budgeting for the initial dorm expenses, your first semester, or your entire freshmen year? Consider what it’ll cost for a meal plan, books, dorm supplies, clothes, etc. Plan for those big ticket items and set aside some emergency funds. Figure out what you can afford and stick to that budget!

Step 3: Gather inspiration for your dorm room

Browse around OCM and check out all of the possible color combinations for your room. If you want to add a personal touch, plan some Do It Yourself projects. Print out some pictures of family and friends to put on display. Perhaps you could even create a vision board for your room! The point is to get an idea of what you want your room to look like so you may shop smart!

Step 4: The checklist

The question “What do I need for college?” may seem like a daunting one. The easiest way to approach the checklist is by splitting everything up into two categories: things to bring and things to buy. Consider what you will bring from home: toiletries, back pack, alarm clock, photos, keepsakes, etc. Then, keeping your budget in mind, consider what you’ll have to buy: bedding, furniture, storage trunks/containers, school supplies, etc. Whatever you decide to bring with you, make sure everything will fit in your new digs. Dorms are not huge living quarters, and many come furnished. With limited space, it’s important that you pack accordingly. We have our own college packing checklist that you can print out and use to help you plan!

Step 5: Start shopping

With your moving checklist list ready to go (or at least a work in progress), begin shopping for your dorm and school supplies! You might be surprised at how long it takes to gather and pack everything you need, so it helps to get started as early as possible.

Ordering online is hassle-free, but you have to account for time and money spent on shipping. Also, if you were to forget an item or need to return one, having an extra month to do so is beneficial. As far as packing goes, it’s not a priority at this stage. However, you should go over your checklist from time to time, adding items when necessary, and reminding yourself of what you still need to buy and pack.

Step 6: Preparing for life away from home

You may not be a jack of trades, but you should know basics for living on your own. That means learning to do your laundry, cooking a dorm-friendly meal, and basic car maintenance if you plan to bring your car to campus. The best way to practice these skills is by doing it at home!

Ask your family and friends for help when you get stuck, but be sure to try each of these things on your own. After all, you may not have guidance when you go to do it yourself in school! You need to put in the effort now to learn so it will come as second nature in college. If you are forgetful, or just can’t find the time, put together a schedule. Designate days and times for doing laundry, cooking meals, and whatever else you need to practice.

Step 7: Spend time with family & friends

Planning for college can be stressful, but it’s important to make time for family and friends. After all, you are moving away in two months! Don’t know what do or where to go? Plan a trip to the beach, go on a hike, or just hang out. Whatever you do, enjoy the time spent with your family and friends, making and documenting memories you can think back to when you’re miles apart.