Off to College: How to Spend Your Summer

Off to College: How to Spend Your Summer
  • Opening Intro -

    The summer season gives high school students a short window before the college academic year resumes.

    June high school grads in northern states may be on campus in early August if they attend a southern school.

    For some students, summer break will be no longer than six weeks before heading off to college.


Your summer between high school and college can be a memory maker. Use this time wisely and you’ll head off to school with fond memories in tow, a repository of good thoughts to bring to mind every now and then.

A time for reflection. The hustle and bustle of your senior year of high school is behind you. Likely, your senior year has given you the right send off as you transition into full-fledged adulthood. Soon, you’ll be absorbed with your new surroundings, adjusting to roommates, to a new and much larger campus and finding yourself in an environment that is unfamiliar to you. You’ll want to look ahead now to reflect on where you’re at and where you want to go. This can help you choose the right classes to take as you begin college as well as look a little further down the line at your major and life after college. Set up short- and long-term goals to have something to work toward.

A time for loved ones. Those people who are important in your life may never be as available to you now as they will be later on in life. Sure, you’ll be home for important breaks, perhaps enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with the family and meeting with your extended family at Christmas. Between semesters you’ll meet many of your friends from high school, enjoying each other’s company and comparing life notes. But, your time wiith those you care about will be limited and soon over. This summer you can set aside time for family picnics, trips to the beach with friends, taking in a movie with younger siblings, and taking in those activities that will be harder to do later on.

A time to work or volunteer. If your break is especially long between high school graduation and the first day of college, then you may have more time on your hands then what you may want. A summer job, especially one that may be related to your chosen field, is a good way to occupy your time. Also consider volunteering as there are many needs for people to pitch in and help out. Your church may have a summer missions project planned to help repair homes in tornado-ravished communities. Or, you may be sent overseas to hold children in an orphanage. Give something of yourself and be a blessing to others. You’ll be blessed by God in return.

A time for preparation. You don’t have all summer to get ready to go off to college. Early on, make a list of everything you’ll need for college. If you’ll be living away from home, that list might be quite extensive and will go well beyond fall clothing, bedding and personal effects. Throughout the summer there will be sales and these events will give you time to shop for everything that you’ll need. Save money by working with your parents to see what furnishings from the home can accompany you to college. You’ll also want to open up a checking account that can be accessed while at college — as a college student, most banks will waive your monthly fee. Check with your cell phone provider to ensure that coverage where you’ll be living is adequate. Your parents may need to update their health and auto insurance policies accordingly.

A time to thrive. You may have an idea of who you are and what you want to become. This is good. If not, counsel from your minister or other trusted professional can help you get on track and stay there. Expect feelings of nervousness and unease as you prepare for college. These feelings are normal. In the first step we discussed “reflections” and by the end of the summer you should have a good idea where you are and where you’ll be going. Expect to arrive on campus in time for freshman orientation, taking in the related activities to help you prepare for clases. Within days, upperclassmen will be arriving and then the first classes will begin. Summer is now over and a new chapter of your life has begun.

A Time For College

You have many other options for using your summer time including traveling, if you can afford it. Keep in mind that what you do this summer may be repeated next summer including a job, volunteering and spending time with those you care about most.

Career Management reference:

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Categories: Personal Advice