How To Become More Independent (And Make Friends!) Before College
It’s impossible to be 100 percent prepared for the transition to college. You can read all the advice columns, follow the schools’ social media accounts and even get a taste of campus life with a pre-college program, but the change will still be a shock to your system.
But it’s a good kind of change.
It’s a big dose of independence to springboard you into adulthood. And, you’ll have opportunities to meet new people and have a fun social life as well. One way to soften your landing is to start practicing independence and social skills while you’re still in high school. Here are a few things to try.
Get a part-time job.
Working while you’re juggling school, a social life and extracurricular activities can serve a multitude of purposes, not the least of which is that it will force you to manage your time. It’ll also teach you how to take direction, be punctual and, depending on the job, strengthen your soft skills, such as patience, communication and teamwork. If you think you know what you want to study in college, having a part-time job or volunteer experience in that field may also help you get into the school of your choice. Of course, the extra money you’ll make doesn’t hurt!
Learn to manage your own money.
Whether you have a job, an allowance, your own business or some combination of the three, you’ll be earning your own money. Budgeting will become your best friend in college, so it’s vital that you learn how to divide up your money to last between paychecks. Practice living frugally, and put money into an emergency fund.
Meet new people.
In college, you’ll need to be proactive with your social life. To start doing that now, organize a weekly game of pick-up basketball or gather a group of friends and friends of friends once a week to watch your favorite TV show. When you get to college, organize a similar get-together among your dormmates. Doing something on a regular basis will make it easier to form friendships quickly. Most of all, be confident, and don’t get discouraged if it takes a little time and effort. It will be worth it!
Solve your own problems.
Your parents have been solving your problems since you were born. But they won’t be in your dorm room to help you compromise with your roommate, in your classroom to ask your professor for an extension on that paper or in the cafeteria to make you chicken noodle soup when you’re sick. Instead, you’ll be left to your own devices, so start practicing now.
Try new things.
College isn’t just a harder version of high school. Going to college is a stage of life that takes you into new relationships (some wanted, some not), leads you to test boundaries, encourages you to ponder your future career and pushes you out of your comfort zone. Why go from zero to 60 when you can start preparing yourself now by trying new things? How about challenging yourself to try one new thing every day to see what happens? Taste a new food, take a different route to a friend’s house, go on that ski trip or volunteer for a local charity.
Work on your independence and social skills while you’re still in high school, and it’ll make the transition to college life that much easier!