The prevalence of “one last hurrah” high school films--of varying quality--can, I think, be attributed to the fact that the summer between the senior year of high school and freshman year of college feels so powerfully and bizarrely ineffable.
I have yet to encounter that feeling again: the first real notion of a chapter of your life-- a huge one--decisively ending, coupled with the realization that you’re starting something huge and new. It’s months of building up question after question about will come next; some of these questions have easy answers. A capful of detergent should do the trick; all of your Monday classes are going to be in the Scott building; there are three pizza places open until 3 am. However, questions like “am I prepared enough to be here,” “is everyone here smarter than me?” and “am I going to make friends?” don’t quite have such simple answers.
I truly think it’s a one-of-a-kind moment we encounter too young to recognize just how special it is. So while the market oversaturation of alleged “last day of high school” gutbusters will always invoke some eye twitching, I can appreciate the sentiment. Begrudgingly.
So what’s to be done during this time? How do you spend this strange moment in time? It’s not a one size fits all type situation, but the crux of all these tips is to try to reflect on your priorities and prepare yourself for college having done the things you’ve always wanted to do.
Spend time with your friends and family.
One of the best things about college is the new friends you’ll meet, people from all different walks of life. It’s an infinitely exciting prospect, but it’s made bittersweet by the acknowledgment that you’re leaving behind the people in your life who have shaped you into who you are now. Meeting new people is invigorating, but sometimes you’ll want nothing in the world more than to laugh at your three-year-old inside joke with your best friend. So, in preparation for the first-time you’ll be apart, cash in on those good times. Have plenty of quality time together, let them know you’ll miss them like crazy, and make plenty more inside jokes that will make you bust up laughing in the middle of your first lecture hall. (It’s not as bad as it sounds!)
Do that ridiculous, crazy thing you’ve always wanted that seemed too frivolous or silly to indulge.
Want to enroll in circus classes? What’s stopping you now? Maybe you’ll even really enjoy it and sign up for more classes and especially love trapeze even though it does leave some fairly substantial bruises on your ankles. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything...
You sure nailed that whole circus thing! Really hit it out of the park. I can see a promising clown future for you, but nevertheless, it may be wise to really focus on getting yourself academically organized. This is an incredibly fun time, but it’s also stressful. You can alleviate the stress a bit by taking initiative; look at the syllabi for your classes, stock up on the required supplies, do any preparatory readings you may have, find all of your classes on maps or GPS apps, etc. Your first day will be crazy no matter what, but you can manage a lot of the chaos by doing a little bit of preemptive work!
Read list after list just like this.
If I had to wager a guess I’d say that this is probably not the first list of this type you’ve read. That’s normal; it’s hard not to hope on some level that one of these kinds of lists will have that magical piece of advice that will make everything seem less huge, daunting, and scary. While I can’t promise that, it isn’t a bad idea to do some research and comb these kinds of listicles for some good tips and tricks from people who have been in your shoes and come out better for it. With that in mind...
Realize that at the end of the day, the only thing you can truly do is accept that you won’t know everything.
College is the beginning of something--many things--and that’s nerve-wracking in the best way possible! You’re going to learn a subject you may never have even heard of and realize you’re passionate about it. You’re going to meet people who will be in your life forever. You’re going to come back home with more stories than you can imagine.
Do everything you can in the last few months before college, but the best advice I can offer is to come to terms with the fact that there are tons of things you have to learn and that’s not only alright but amazing and exciting. Good Luck!
WRITTEN BY Nicollette Brady Rutgers University
With a hot off the presses Bachelor’s in English from Rutgers University (no frame though so please don’t breathe on it!) and unlimited access to a coffee machine, Nicollette has officially run out of excuses not to write. She loves cats, bats, books, rats, needlessly elaborate long-form japes, plays, words, and wordplay. She’s incredibly proud to work as the High School STEM Marketing Intern at BFW High School Publishing, but slightly less proud of the fact that the third cup of coffee of the day is sounding awfully enticing right about now.