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So, it’s officially the end of July. Two months of summer have passed — without me noticing, it seems — and we only have 30 or so days between us and the start (or restart) of college. Obviously, it’s normal to be excited. It’s normal to feel like you can’t wait to leave home and just have it begin already. It’s also normal to feel nervous; you’re about to leave home for probably the first time to a new place with new people and a new schedule that you’ve heard so much about. I could tell you about what it’s like, try and find a way to ease your nervousness or hype up your enthusiasm. But I think you’ve got a good grasp on that. Instead, I want to tell you about things you should do before college, things that you’ll be happy you did in your last month at home before you begin your grand adventure away.

  1. Spend time with your family
    Mothers worry. Fathers nag. Siblings annoy. But they all love you and, despite how you may feel sometimes, you will miss them when you leave. Make time to see them: take one last trip to your favorite family restaurant, walk your dog around the block with them, spend your Saturday night watching re-runs of the Simpsons together. These moments are really precious. Of course, you’ll still have them when you get back, but it’s important to experience them before you leave — to remind you of home, to comfort you, to remind yourself where you come from and why you are who you are.
  2. Spend time with your friends
    Not all of us are lucky enough to go to university with all of our friends. In fact, this hardly ever happens except maybe in corny teen films which we know are unrealistic anyways. The real, sad fact is you’ll end up missing your friends. So it’s important to remember to spend as much time with them now. You’re all about to go off onto new adventures, meet new people and experience new things. But it’s so important to remind yourself of the great times you’ve had with the people you grew up with. As much as I love my university friends, I am so grateful for my old friends, too. I am grateful I made time with them since time is so precious now. Engage in those dumb rituals you did throughout high school — you’ll look back on those memories fondly. Your life can only be made more rich with more people in your life, so I would encourage keeping as many in your life as possible.
  3. Take a walk around your neighborhood
    What you don’t realize is that your home is more than the people who are there — it is a physical, beautiful place. There’s always going to be something comforting about coming home: the familiarity of the oak tree that has stood in your backyard since you were born, the curve of the street you learned to drive on, the coffeeshop a couple streets down you used to study at. Walk around your high school. Walk around your street. Walk around your friend’s house. Walk around anywhere you love, and take in your surroundings. Remember them, and return to them when college feels foreign and you need a place that makes you safe.
  4. Figure things out
    This is a vague command, intentionally so. But you likely know what it refers to. Whether you have personal stuff you’d like to get sorted, or you have an unresolved fight with a friend, or things in your room you’d like to throw away, now is the time to do it. You want to go to college with a clean slate, feeling weightless and happy and ready and accepting. Your last month is a great time to complete your last checks so that you’re ready to move on.

This post was really sappy, a little sad, mostly nostalgic. But that’s mostly how you feel in the month before you leave for college — at least, that’s how I felt. What everything in this list really boils down to is just taking time to be grateful in your life for things you might not realize that you’ll miss. You should take time and remember and be happy. And when you’re ready, we’ll be waiting to greet you with open arms.