Day 2: Lists, Lists, a Hundred Lists

7:00 AM

I don't know if you got it from the title of this post, but preparing for college (for me anyway) involved/involves A HUNDRED GAZILLION lists. That's right. And after all those lists scribbled on every available surface?

You still forget stuff. It's a nightmare.

Have no fear! I am here to help. Since I've been through this stuff already, I feel like I'm qualified to hand out suggestions. Right? (You hope so.)

First of all, I know lists vary depending on all sorts of factors: are you a commuter (driving back and forth to school from home) or do you stay on campus? are you moving two hours away or two states away (hint: big difference)? It all depends and, of course, I can't cover all the variables in this post, but I shall do my best to cover the things related to living on campus and other general things that every almost-college-student needs to know.

The General Things:

There are three enormously important things that you have to remember not to forget (See what I did there? Eh? EH?): high school grades, college forms, and books.

I'm pretty sure almost everyone has had someone tell them how important doing well in high school is. They were right. It's alright, you can groan. I promise that agonizing through high school has a point though. Many of us are not rich. In fact, many of us are the opposite of rich. And college is pretty darn expensive. If you get awesome grades in high school (and by good I mean A's) and do well on your ACTs or SATs, whichever test is common for your state, there is a high possibility that you will get a scholarship. Any money will help!

College forms. Blegh, I hated going through all those repetitive, long, and boring applications. A few things you need to know about this little section of college prep...

1. YOU WILL NEED TO WRITE MANY ESSAYS. This is inevitable. Thankfully, many of you have no problem writing. You probably love it. But these paragraph and essay answers will be asking about you. What has been the most important moment of your life and how did it affect you? What are your goals? What is a place that makes you completely fulfilled? And the hardest: Describe yourself. Oh. my. gosh. I cannot tell you the painfulness to me of these things. These aren't easy questions. They're hard. So, this is a heads-up. Prepare yourself. ;)

2. Colleges also always have a section where you mention extracurricular activities and such things. For some of you, this may be no problem whatsoever, but for others it could be a problem. It was a huge problem for me.

3. Have teachers who will write you letters of recommendation! This is SO important. Even if you're not the most talkative, friendly, or social student, work hard and do well and your teacher will most likely be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. This is not only important for many college applications but also for some scholarship applications.

4. DEADLINES. Keep track of them. There are many and they will ruin your life. So you need to remember them and beat them at their own game. If you don't know important deadlines for the colleges you're interested in, you need to find out as early as possible. Possibly junior year, but definitely summer and fall of senior year.

Books. There are many opinions on this. In most cases, I would recommend not buying directly from the school itself. There are many places online and in physical locations that rent school books for a fraction of the cost. Also, places like Amazon and are a great place to buy books for English classes, because you want to be able to make notes or highlight in your book but you don't want to pay full price for a new book. In these places you can buy a good used copy for an awesome amount of money (meaning tiny).

But you also need to be careful. It's getting more and more common for college courses to require access codes for the class. If you rent or buy off Amazon, it's not guaranteed that you will get a usable access code. This is a situation where it would be good to buy a brand new copy from the college bookstore, no matter how painful it feels when you pay for it.

(ON CAMPUS) Things You Don't Want to Forget:
1. Umbrella 
2. Scissors
3. Comfortable walking shoes
4. Water bottle
5. Paper Towels
6. A Planner
7. Some type of air freshener
8. Laundry bag

Things You Need to Familiarize Yourself With Before You Leave Home:

1. Banking: credit cars, debit cards, accounts... ALL that jazz.
2. Doing laundry. This might be a given for a lot of you but I never did laundry because I did dishes and other chores and my parents wanted me to focus most of my time on school.
3. Your car. Yeah, sorry. You probably should be able to drive at least averagely. 

And now after all my fabulous lists, I'm going to write about random things that I've learned since moving onto my lovely campus. I feel like this needs to be in the "being prepared" section so I shall put it here. 

You will cry. As much as you've told yourself that you will. not. cry. You will. It's gonna happen. Tears will flow. It's natural. With that said, I come to my major point-- the first day/night is the absolute worst. After that it gets better, I promise. 

There are three things that you need to always remember to have with you: your wallet, keys, and cellphone. This was hard for me since when I lived at home I almost never left home. It's just not something I was used to doing.

The bathroom is not five steps away. You can't walk to it half asleep. It is, at best, through your dorm room's door and more steps beyond. At worst, it's on the other side of your floor of the building. REMEMBER THIS. 

There are going to be nights (or days) when you just don't feel like walking to the cafeteria or whatever. You need to have snacks in your room. And places to keep your snacks. I'm probably not one to talk since my side of the room is still a pretty big mess but there are bugs and roomies in college (not to bunch them together or anything ;)) and when you add those two things with snacks lying everywhere you don't usually get pretty results.

Skylar is really not sure if she likes college yet. It seems scary. There are tons of people, lots of walking, and the food is ages away. It's like her nightmare come true. Some good things have happened though, she saw her roommate for the first time in a couple months (since orientation). AND she organized/decorated her room. These things make her happy. 

Blogging Section:
I don't have any concrete plans except to pre-plan as much as possible and schedule TONS of posts so I don't disappear from my blog when classes start. 

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  1. Whoa your posts are wayyy longer than mine. :-)

    But yes UMBRELLA. I have one in my backpack everyday, rain or shine, just in case. (Chicago is a fickle city.)

    And oh - my favorite college app essay topic? "What is the correct way to compare Apples and Oranges?" I compared their cultural and historical significance. Ironically, that was the one university I did NOT get accepted to! :-P

    Finally, YOUR BLOG IS CUTE

    1. Haha I tend to get off track ;)

      I know! An umbrella is a must. I definitely have used mine even though the weather was obnoxious and rained when I didn't have it. :P

      Oh woooow, yeah, I never got that essay topic. Why should we compare apples and oranges? Shouldn't we view each object as an individual idea or fruit without dependence on each other? Isn't college about individuality? Huh huh? (Ok, that was my attempt at being deep. Let's move on.)

      THANK YOU SO MUCH. I'm pretty happy with it *grins*

    2. Ha you would have done awesomely on that application. (It was for UChicago, by the way, in case you were wondering... They always have clever, hilarious, student-written essay topics.)

    3. Lol thank you *bows* I actually casually checked out the University of Chicago! Buuut too far away and too expensive.

  2. First off, YOUR HEADER IS DIFFERENT! I like it! Also ugh. College. I bet I'll have a whole notebook full of lists by the time it even comes close. It sounds like you've learned a lot already! Hopefully that means it'll be smooth sailing from here on out, right?

    1. YAY YES IT IS AND THANK YOU. *happy dance*

      You summed up my thoughts on college perfectly ;) Yes, I will sail smoothly! It's definitely much better than the first few days (which were awful) and I'm really loving what I'm learning in my art classes.

      You will have a notebook full of lists (or if you're like me, a notebook of lists except not in a notebook but on sticky notes, random scraps of paper, etc. etc. I am very organized) but you'll do awesomely. Of course. :D


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