From the vantage point of a high school desk, college can seem impossibly far off – a different, mythical world. It’s a quickly approaching leap from life at home to life in a college dorm, and in the scramble to prepare oneself academically for collegiate life, it’s easy to overlook the fact that in a few short months, you’ll be living completely on your own. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can start doing this very second to ensure that your transition from bedroom to dorm room is as smooth as possible.
1. Start Doing Your Own Laundry
Laundry is incredibly easy to get the hang of. Even if it’s the designated chore of someone in your house, ask if you can throw in a few loads or start doing your own. Most colleges don’t have laundry services, and the ones that do are usually relatively pricey.
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Save precious cash by getting good at laundry now. You’ll not only save yourself from the expense and horror of ruining your favorite shirt in the wash, you’ll learn to make sure your clothes look their best and last longer. Plus, do you really want to be that freshman that has to ask an upperclassman how to run the washing machines? No way.
2. Get Organized, and Stay Organized
Developing organizational skills goes beyond efficient studying and better grades. In high school, it can be pretty easy to get away with being totally disorganized, especially when your parents handle a lot of the valuable documentation in your life.
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But in college, you’ll be handed important information and papers, and you’ll need to handle them yourself and know where they are when you need them. Get a binder or a folder for hard copies of important documents, which are great to have in case of a computer malfunction. The method you choose isn’t as important as your ability to follow it, so choose what works!
3. Develop Some Basic Cooking Skills
Even if you’re on a meal plan, you’ll still need the occasional snack in your room, and surviving entirely on Mountain Dew gets a little old after a while. Learn to make a few quick, healthy snacks by taking foods you love and paring them with something good for you.
Nutella addict? Spread some on whole wheat bread with peanut butter, and you have an easy dorm snack. Make chips a little better for you by melting fresh cheese on top – it adds a boost of protein and dairy.
Try to develop a basic ability to navigate a kitchen. Not only will it open the door to a variety of awesome food, but you don’t have to be the kid that sets off the fire alarm.
4. Learn to Set a Budget
Whether your parents give you a weekly allowance or you’re putting in hours at a part time job, figuring out how to allocate the money you have is a skill that will prove invaluable before you even get to college.
Learning to separate things into needs, wants, and savings is a great skill to develop not only to spend your money carefully once you’re in school, but to help decide what school is right for you in terms of what money you have and what you’ll need. At school, you’ll have to find money for books, clothes and spending time with friends, so learn to plan ahead!