Dear Graduate//Future Blue Jay –
First of all, congratulations on your graduation (or in some cases upcoming graduation)! Amidst all the yearbook signings and parties, take a moment to think about it – you survived high school!! You managed to navigate the treacherous world of adolescence, braving the cliques and prama (prom-drama), and maybe doing a little schoolwork along the way. Your reward for all of this – a spot in the prestigious Johns Hopkins Class of 2015.
I remember how I felt at graduation: ready to experience the world outside the walls of my high school, but nowhere near ready to say goodbye to the friends who had surrounded me since pre-school. As excited as I was to get to Homewood already, I needed the summer to prepare myself (in the physical and emotional sense) to become a college student. I have decided to dedicate this blog to advice to help you get ready to come to Hopkins in just two months!! Here are my suggestions:
- Make a packing list. It can be very daunting trying to decide what you will need to bring to get through your freshman year. I found it was helpful to download a packing list from the Internet as a starting off point, and then edit it to fit my needs. Make your packing list at the beginning of the summer so you don’t spend your last week at home frantically running to Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target. It takes time to get yourself ready, so start early to minimize the stress. Some things I couldn’t have survived freshman year without: mattress pad, vacuum, hangers, bounce dryer sheets, lint roller and rain boots.
- Get pictures. Even though Hopkins began to feel like a home to me within days of my arrival on campus, I still missed my friends and family from Ridgewood. Decorating my dorm room with pictures helped make the unfamiliar space feel like my own. It was so comforting to have reminders of the people I love tacked up all over my walls, so be sure to make copies of all your favorite photographs!
- Spend time with your friends and family. This may seem extremely obvious, you will be surprised how quickly the summer flies. Much like last minute packing, you don’t want to spend your last week at home running around trying to see all the friends you have neglected during the summer. And even though your parents may drive you crazy on occasion, you will be surprised how quickly their presence is missed once you are at school so be sure to spend time with them too!
- Make money. Again, it might sound obvious but trust me, this is an important one. You will be floored by how much money you blow in college, and how quickly it all seems to be spent. So even though I know how hard it is to find a job as a high school student, try your hardest to find employment! Once you’re at school, you will be glad you did. It is also extremely easy to get a job once you are on campus. I also found it helpful to plan ahead of time how much I was allowed to spend a month, and to budget myself accordingly. If you are looking for a bank to use in the area, Bank of America has a branch a block away that was an easy walk when I needed an ATM.
- Get excited. You have the most amazing year ahead of you, and Homewood is one of my favorite places on the planet. While saying your temporary goodbyes to everyone from home, remember that while this chapter of your life is ending, an even better one is about to begin. Go Hop!