Ways To Prepare For The Transition To College
Many teens make the mistake of assuming college will simply be an extension of high school. Sure, you’ll be attending classes and making friends, but that’s where the similarities end.
1. Practice Independence
Few transitions in your life will be as drastic as the jump from high school to college. Suddenly, you’ll be responsible for getting up on time, eating healthy, studying for tests, doing your homework, turning in papers and going to bed on time—all without well-meaning prodding from a parent.
You’ll likely be faced with big decisions, feel overwhelmed at times and deal with homesickness. You’ll probably experience some serious temptation (party or study?), periods of pennilessness and times when you wish Mom could make you some chicken noodle soup. Now is a good time to start looking for ways to practice independence and spread your wings. Learn to do laundry and cook meals, and set your alarm clock without the snooze option.
2. Expect Conflict
If you’ve never shared a small space with a sibling, being thrown into a tiny dorm room with one (or two!) strangers is going to require a lot of compromises. You’ll need patience, negotiation skills and the ability to listen.
3. Learn To Budget
Getting a part-time job while you’re in high school can help you learn how to make your money go further. Start by calculating the cost of gas to get to and from work, and figure out where it’s cheapest to fill up on your route. Determine what it costs to pack a lunch versus buying fast food. Make a list of needs and wants for each paycheck, and plan accordingly.
You may be inundated with credit card offers at college, but don’t fall prey to high interest rates and annual fees. If you decide to accept an offer, make sure you do your research first.
4. Learn To Be Your Own Advocate
If you think you deserved a higher grade, need support during an episode of depression or anxiety, or are struggling in a class, you’ll need to stand up for yourself and seek out help. Don’t wait until things get so bad that you fail a class or need to move home because you haven’t learned any coping skills.
5. Build Resilience
You’re not going to get into every class you want on the first try or get offered the work-study gig you wanted. You’ll probably fail at something. Your crush won’t reciprocate your interest. Your new friends will forget your birthday. You’ll miss Thanksgiving because you can’t afford to fly home two months in a row. Yep, life isn’t always fair or fun, but the disappointments are such a tiny sliver of what you’ll experience at college that you’ll bounce back and move on with little more than a shrug.