The 35 Things You Need to Know Before You Leave for College

1. You got this. I have had a front row seat at your life and I know with every fiber of my being that you are ready for this moment.

2. When I cry as I walk away, know those are good tears, the tears we shed when life has given us a gift. You have been a true gift.

teen jumping in sunset
I have had a front row seat on your life and I know you got this.

3. Seek help when you need it. Academic, psychological, medical. There is no shame in asking for what you need. College is a new challenge and you might need new resources.

4. There is never another time like the first weeks in college; (if you don’t believe me, read this ) do not squander this opportunity to explore.

5. You will be homesick. It would be a sad commentary on the last 18 years if you weren’t. Call us and we will remind you that it will pass. Better yet, go get pizza with your new friends.

6. It is okay to call when you are sad. It’s just not okay to call only when you are sad.

7. College is hard, add a social life, sports and activities and it can seem like you have very little time. But don’t give up what you love. Run, listen to music, watch good movies. It is what keeps you sane.

8. Pregnancy, STDs…Condoms. There is a reason they call it protection.

9. Take one small class every semester if you can. Research confirms it will improve you college experience.

10. I am here, I will always be here.

11. Meet your professor, and if you can’t or won’t do that, get to know your TA.

12. When something you are learning really excites and interests you, pay attention, you are going to college to find just that.

13. Take at least one computer science class. It is an almost inescapable aspect of modern life.

14. The only way to have good friends is to be a good friend. There is no short cut.

15. If your siblings are some of your very best friends, everything about the rest of your life will be better. Don’t ignore them just because you moved away.

16. Saving money is a habit. Start now.

17. If you treat your body badly it will return the favor. Eat well, exercise often, worship at the altar of a good night’s sleep.

18. Time management is one of the most important skills you learn in college. It is a skill you will need every day of the rest of your life.

19. But the most important thing you will learn is the ability to think critically and deeply. Intellectually, do not skate on the surface for four years. Dig deep.

20. You will never need to be able to fold a fitted sheet. Never.

21. Whatever is happening in front of your face is usually more consequential, more real and more long-lasting than whatever is happening on your phone. Look up.

22. If something seems like a bad idea sober, but then, after a few drinks seems like a better idea, it was always a bad idea.

24. Unless you are studying culinary arts, stop photographing your food. No one cares.

25. Study one thing you have never heard of. You are going to colleges to explore.

25. Know where the closest Urgent Care Center and Emergency Room are. When you need this information it will be 2 am, your phone will be dead and the Student Health Center will be closed.

26. Join. Something. Anything. But, join.

27. You will feel scared and anxious and even defeated at times. Everybody does. Everybody. How you deal with these feelings is all that matters.

28. You are at that unique moment in life where you can stretch your arms in one direction and already feel your adult life and stretch them in another and still feel your childhood. Enjoy this moment, it comes but once.

29. Over the counter medications are still medicine so read the label. Or call me.

30. Do your laundry while you still have two pairs of clean underwear. Don’t back yourself into a corner.

31. Have $10 you can lay your hands on. Credit cards get denied.

32. Remember how high school seemed to go on forever. College is not like that.

33. Manners matter and always will.

34. Your grandparents have adored you and your siblings since you took your first breath. Pick up the phone and call them. Give them glimpses into your college life.

35. Your dog saw your through your childhood and will be there as we pack up the car to drive you to college. Hug him tight before you go.

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