Do This, Not That: The Summer Before College


It’s almost here—freshman year. Besides the obvious, like arranging your housing and packing, what do you really need to do the summer before college? You only have a month left before move-in day, so do the important stuff before heading out on your new adventure. Here’s a list of what to do and what not to do the summer before college.

Do This: Enjoy time with your close friends and family in your hometown.

Friends spending time together the summer before college

Not That: Stay home and plan every week of your first college semester in advance.

Three men typing on their computers and saying "I love this. I feel so social."

The IT Crowd / Giphy

Take a big gulp of that hometown sweetness. Search the best eateries in your area on Yelp and pay them a visit. Take a trip to your favorite secret hangouts with your best friends. Eat at the neighborhood diner late at night. Buy some locally made crafts to hang onto when you’re miles away at college. It’s not that you’ll never see your friends again, but it will be a few months at least, so stay in the present and enjoy your time with them now. Write down everyone’s addresses to send them cards when you miss them and plan Skype dates with your family for when you’re homesick.

Do This: Tell your high school crush how you feel.

Two students listening to music from the same set of headphones and talk about what to do the summer before college.

Not That: Break up his or her relationship.

Kim and Kanye West looking dumbfounded

Keeping Up With the Kardashians / Giphy

Attention: If you have a high school crush, now’s the time to act! That said, it’s probably not wise to do so if your crush has a significant other, but if you’re both single and heading to college for the next couple of years, what do you have to lose? Tell that person how you feel and let fate take the reins from there. Besides, it’s not like you have to worry about making awkward small talk at the lunch table if you’re rejected.

Do This: Incorporate some grown-up things into your life.

A girl smiling and talking on the phone while figuring out what needs to get done before moving to college.

Not That: Get into a ton of trouble and wreak havoc on your hometown.

Arya from Game of Thrones shooting arrows at a hay target

Game of Thrones / Giphy

Once you move out of your parents’ house and into your first college dorm, there’s no one to teach you the adult stuff. Start now! Practice cooking for your family, do your own laundry, and fold your own clothes. College discussions span topics well outside of the classroom, so stay current by reading the news more frequently. Apply for a college debit or credit card with a bank that is available both at home and at school. Most importantly, inspire yourself to be a good student rather than a partier. Let’s be honest—if you want to party, you’re going to, but letting yourself get excited to learn is the key to a successful, stress-free semester.

Do This: Get on social media.

A girl smiling, wearing headphones, and using her laptop

Not That: Become Instagram famous for your drinking talents.

Beyoncé falling over

Beyoncé / Giphy

Whatever you do on social media, keep it clean. Don’t post anything that incriminates you for underage drinking or illegal drug use. While Facebook is a great place to connect with your future roommate, the last thing you need now is to jeopardize your freshman year by getting into trouble. Be good, young grasshopper.

Do This: Reach out to your roommate in advance.

A boy walking past a white wall and talking on the phone

Not That: Wait until you’re both claiming sides of a two-person dorm to introduce yourself.

A character from the Simpsons waving

The Simpsons / Giphy

When you receive your housing assignment, you’ll get your roommate’s name and maybe some contact information. Hop on social media and send a Facebook message. That will help you recognize each other in person, kick-start your friendship, and learn about your shared interests. It will also allow you to begin coordinating what to bring to college. Maybe your roomie already has a mini fridge, for example, and is willing to share. Perfect! No need for two.

Do This: Complete all of the requirements before the first day of classes.

A boy sitting in a cafe and texting

Not That: Go to the bookstore mid-September; the deals are great.

An old woman tossing money into a fireplace

Looney Toons / Giphy

Before heading off to college, you must check a few things off your to-do list. First off, your school will notify you during summer when it is time to register for classes. Do so immediately in order to get your first picks. When your schedule is set, you’ll need to order the books for your classes. If you order them from an online store, like Chegg, do it a few weeks in advance. You should also stop in for a checkup with your primary care doctor. Last but not least, prepare yourself for orientation, where you will meet other incoming freshmen, learn about the school, and play some ice-breaker games.

Do This: Clean up and pack up.

A student and his dad packing the car the summer before college

Not That: Throw everything into a bag last minute.

A girl putting on sunglasses and rushing to the door

The Hills / Giphy

It’s not uncommon for college kids to move into their dorms with their clothes in garbage bags and books in boxes, but it’s not the best choice. Begin cleaning out your closet early (you never know what you’ll find) so that you can become familiar with what you want to bring and what you’re okay with leaving home. Then, invest in a quality suitcase. College will take you a lot of places, so you need something that will last. When you’re all packed up and ready to go, head to campus early. Move-in day is busy and has a survival-of-the-fittest kind of vibe. If you get there early enough to grab a trolley cart, you’ll be thankful.

You’re now even closer to going away to college. Go on! Explore your hometown, spend time with your loved ones, cross things off your bucket list, and enjoy your summer!


About Katelyn Brush

Katelyn likes learning, good health, traveling, and pizza on Fridays. Her mixed education, composed of SUNY the College at Brockport, a semester at a community college, and one abroad at the University of Oxford, helped her earn a bachelor’s degree in English. College also gave her a few lessons in Taekwondo and sleeping in a hostel dorm with total strangers. She’s a yoga teacher, author and illustrator of the children’s book, “Signing Together: A Guide to American Sign Language for Everyone.” As a Student Caffé writer, she hopes to help you through the highs and lows of college with a laugh ... or 20.

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