Tag: transitions

Why College Orientation is the Best Social Opportunity You’ll Ever Have

Your college orientation presents an especially rich opportunity for you to socialize with others who, just like you, are looking for new friends and new experiences. There’s a very good reason for that: colleges actively engineer these orientation activities to help you meet and bond with your classmates. Here’s how they do it—and how you can make the most of this unique season of your life.

Read More

Graduation-Related Tasks You Might Not Anticipate

It’s the spring of your senior year of high school, and graduation is near. You’re likely very busy juggling final exams, AP tests, award ceremonies, prom, and everything else that comes with being a graduating senior.

On the CollegeVine blog, we’ve covered the academic tasks you’ll need to take care of around graduation, like sending your final grade report to the college you’ll be attending. Here on the Zen blog, we’ve also addressed some activities that you may want to try to fit in before you leave for college, from organizing and packing to spending time with friends.

However, there’s another category of tasks to consider: practical, everyday tasks related to your transition out of high school. I don’t want to overwhelm you, but I do think it’s a good idea for you to keep these needs in mind as you prepare for the end of high school, so that you can plan to fit them into your busy schedule.

Here’s what you need to know to get your practical affairs in order before college—in particular, the things I wish I’d known when I was doing my own planning.

Read More

How Much Should I Talk to My Parents in College?

Any way you slice it, starting college means substantially altering your relationship with your parents. If you’ll be living apart from your parents, as is the norm at most top-tier schools, the difference in your day-to-day life will likely be dramatic, both for you and for them In this context, it’s easy for communication—how much, when, and by what means—to become a source of uncertainty or even stress.

If you’re still in high school, and especially if you don’t have older friends or siblings to consult, you’re probably wondering what a “normal” or “average” college student’s relationship with their parents looks like. (Of course, this can be expanded to other family members as well.) Sure, you have your own preferences, but it’s also valuable to have some basic parameters to use for reference.

The truth is a little more complicated, and your eventual arrangement will depend upon decisions you make as a unique and specific family. Read on for more information about the breadth of “normal” college experiences, the needs you’ll have to address on both sides, and the importance of communication in coming up with a plan that works for you

Read More

Dealing With College Acceptance Guilt

When you think about the emotional impact of receiving your college decisions, your mind likely jumps to the possibility of rejection. It’s true that getting rejected from a college you loved is upsetting and discouraging, and you might find that experience particularly emotionally difficult.

However, rejection isn’t the only outcome that can cause emotional upheaval. If you get accepted to a school you’re really excited about, you might encounter jealous or mean-spirited reactions from others, start worrying about the school’s expectations, or wonder whether you’ll fit in on campus. You might even get to feeling like you don’t deserve to attend your dream school. When I was accepted Early Decision to my first-choice college, I certainly experienced all of these.

The transition from high school to college is a major one that touches upon multiple aspects of your life, and it’s normal to experience mixed feelings, even when you get exciting news. Still, there’s no need to beat yourself up or feel guilty for your good fortune. Here’s some advice for dealing with college acceptance guilt, balancing confidence with realism, and maintaining strong relationship with friends who are going through the same difficult changes.

Read More

Making Memories: Why The Things You Remember About High School Will Surprise You

Senior year of high school is a busy time to be a teenager, even aside from the work you’ll put into applying to college. It’s also full of events that are specifically designed to serve as capstones for your high school experience, like prom and graduation. As you reach the end of the year, these events will come on thick and fast.

You may find that these senior events are a lot of fun and a chance to end high school on a high note. However, you might also find yourself worrying about whether you’re doing the right things to enjoy these events properly. After all, you’re supposed to remember these milestones for the rest of your life, right?

Not always. The memories you really treasure from high school may come from unexpected places, and some of the best memories won’t be formed in scheduled, traditional events. You never know which experiences will shape, inspire, or affect you in retrospect. As someone who’s been out of high school for over a decade, here’s what I’ve learned about memories, formative experiences, and the pressure to enjoy traditional graduation-related events.

Read More

When Do I Start Adulting? Navigating Between Childhood and Adulthood When Preparing For College

Being a teenager can be an exercise in contradictions, and that fact becomes particularly visible as college application season looms. How can you pick the college that’s best for your intended future career when you still have a curfew? How can you ask for help when it seems like you’re supposed to be working on your independence? When it comes down to it, are you an adult or a child?

As with many other issues, the answer to this question is far more complicated than one or the other. Even though it’s uncomfortable, the reality is that when you’re in your late teens, you’re somewhere in between. Read on for how to get more comfortable in that middle ground as you get ready for your transition to college.

Read More

A Guide to Being a Good Roommate

As you’ve no doubt seen in the many screen depictions of the college experience, having a roommate is often a fact of life once you get to college. At some colleges, this is by design; at others, it’s because first-years get last pick of housing options. Either way, if you’re bound for college, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself sharing a room— and needing to figure out how to maintain a good relationship with your roommate.

Like everyone, I’ve had my share of roommate annoyances, incompatibilities, and conflicts. I’ve also been the annoying roommate more often than I like to admit. However, I’ve come a long way since my first year of college, and what I’ve learned may be useful to those of you who are newly encountering this challenge.

Trying to manage an adult-like life in the same room as another person who’s trying to do the same thing is not always easy, but it can be done! With a little thoughtfulness, you too can learn to survive and thrive with whatever roommate you get.

Read More

Things To Do Before You Leave for College

The summer before you leave for college is a busy time. You have to fill out paperwork! You have to choose your classes! You have to buy a laundry basket! Alongside the practical necessities, however, there are a number of less tangible things that it’s a good idea to take care of before you leave town.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you contemplate the end of your senior year, your summer break, and the process of getting ready to transition to college.

Read More

Splash of Cold Water: Independence Woke Me Up

Leaving for college is always a big step, no matter how far from home you’ll be. After all, leaving home is generally one of the first steps to becoming a full-blown adult. Waking up to a new and independent life is exhilarating. I certainly wanted to be on my own. In my mind, I would finally be waking up to a bright world as a full-grown adult. What I didn’t realize back then was that my initial venture into college independence was hardly what I could call “fully waking up.”

Read More

Making the Most of Your Summer Before College

You made it past high school graduation! Only the summer lies between you and your first year in a brand new world. Of course, there are countless ways to prepare, which can be overwhelming. So in order to break it down, I’ve come up with three categories that may help simplify your priorities. I’ve also included a few specific examples that I think were important in my own preparation.

Read More