Many of you probably made some resolutions on January 1. Maybe you want to work out more… make more money… or fix a bad habit. All these things are great! (And I hope they are still going well for you.) But, as you’re nearing the end of high school, allow me to suggest a few things that will help you prepare for your new life at college.
Sure, it won’t start for another nine months or so, but if you start prepping now, you’ll be glad you did.
- Get organized.
High school is usually a pretty structured place. Your classes are laid out for you, your schedule is very typical and you have a lot of people to help remind you about assignments, tests or projects. In college, you will pick your classes, pick your schedule and don’t have as many people staying on you to study, do homework or show up to class. It sounds scary, but it’s not bad if you are prepared for it and know your resources.Get organized now by getting a planner and writing in assignments, club meetings, etc., — even if they are routine, or you don’t think you’ll forget. Make it a habit now and it’ll be second nature to you later.
- Remember to study.
In high school — and college, I guess — it’s cool to say that you aced a test without studying. I get it. But, unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to say that in college. You might think it’s enough to just go to class and take notes. It’s not. You actually need to read the book, study your notes and go to class. There is no easy way to get good grades. You need to put in the effort. This is blunt…but even if you manage to pass a college class once or twice with minimal effort, it won’t work like that very long. To help with this now, practice studying for exams more often. Take notes and ask your teachers how they recommend you study. Even if it seems redundant or a “waste of time,” it is still better to practice and sharpen your study skills.If your classes are too easy, look into taking more difficult ones. See if your high school offers AP, CAPP or Youth Options courses. Or try taking some classes at a local community college. Don’t let yourself take an easy road because you’re a senior. If you took a year off a sport and just played video games every day, do you think you’d still be a star player a year later? (Probably not.)
- Step out of your comfort zone.
College is going to present a ton of opportunities in academics, athletics, internships, clubs and social life. Get yourself mentally prepared for this by going out of your way to do new things in high school. Try being in a musical. Or go out for a sport you’ve always wanted to try. Take harder classes or volunteer in the community. Don’t do so much you stress yourself out… but trying new stuff now will make it less scary or intimidating later. And you’ll get better at meeting new people.
- Be clean.
Unless you’re going to be commuting to college, you’ll probably live in a residence hall. And you’ll probably live with another person. In a shared space. Unless you like living in a mess, you’ll want to start getting used to cleaning now. I recommend doing the small things: throw away food wrappers, do your dishes (or at least put them in the dishwasher), make your bed, take out garbage, pick your clothes up off the floor and do laundry once in a while.I’ll be honest, I don’t know many people that regularly washed windows or dusted. (And you won’t have to worry about any bathrooms to clean.) But when space is at a premium in your room, you’ll want to make sure the floor in your res hall room is clutter-free, your room doesn’t smell (garbage/dirty dishes) and that you have clean clothes. If you have a loft you might be able to get away with not making your bed… it’s less noticeable up high.
A hint… many arguments start between roommates over cleanliness issues. Seriously. If you can start some good habits now, you’ll be golden.
- Learn how to manage money.
This is a resolution for life, really. To keep it short: money is limited. Save it, be wise with it and make good decisions. If you want to spend a lot, make sure you get a job. Want to go on a trip during college? Save up! You can work on this by getting a job, watching your spending habits and starting a savings account. Also, identify some hobbies or interests that aren’t super cost-intensive. A lot of entertainment at UW Oshkosh is free for students, which is really nice.
Those are a few of the more general resolutions I can think of. Depending on your personality, future ambitions or individual situation, you might want to add a few more to your list.
Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of all these? Space them out throughout the year. Start small and add on as you feel comfortable. Or, do the most time-sensitive ones first. (Like the academic ones… since you only have a little time left.)
Good luck and cheers to 2013!