Thursday, June 4, 2009

That Summer Before College

Well the APs. proms, commencement ceremonies, senior parties and Praise the Lord! college applications are over and for seniors the summer before college has begun. What to do?

* Nothing - That is what my son will be doing for the first couple of weeks. Coming home after nine months away at school where he did what he was sent to do does give him some justification. In addition there is not a thing wrong with getting some R & R. Summer will be three months long so there is time enough to do something "constructive" and it gives him time to re-charge his batteries. Meanwhile "doing nothing" involves sleeping (he is still striving to grow taller), keeping in touch with friends - most of whom live abroad - via Facebook, watching movies, eating - the tall issue is still at work here, thinking about life and reading of course.

* Get a Job - Kids need to learn how to budget and manage money. With the global economy in a sad way, if a teenager can get a job he should grab it. College costs money and even if you managed to get full aid you will need extra funds for expenses. Not everything is covered by financial aid sure tuition, books and boarding may be covered but you may need to travel off campus, find something else to eat, do your laundry, find a cell phone provider, remember there is health insurance and you should always have emergency funds. Remember Murphy's law.

* Read the College Stuff - Yes your college would have started sending you stuff in the regular mail, online and on your phones. Read them! You must know when college starts and get there for orientation. You should also note when the semster ends. Family vacations are being planned, plane tickets are to be bought, deals are not usually to be had at the last minute neither are finals handled well when they clash with intervening events. Before that you may need to return important documents duly signed. If you are an international student you will need to get the relevant documents to present to the embassy for the appriate student visa. Figure out the requirements early including must-do courses. Ascertain registration dates so that you don't end up just filling slots that are left. The college website is one place with which you must become familiar.

* Find or Revive a Hobby - The long summer months provide the perfect opportunity to refine or learn a new skill without the many interruptions that school can bring. Learn to drive, build a website, make money online (if you can't get a job) or sharpen your artistic are athletic talents which were newly budding in your last few years of high school.

* Exercise - Some kids roll their eyes at adults who grumble about their weight but they are yet to understand about age, hormones and metabolism. With college can come bad eating habits and a falling off from the active lifestyle they once followed. How many of us watched in helpless surprise as the pounds piled on in college? I have found the best way to exercise is to play a sport, any sport you enjoy. So get out of the house even if you have opted to do nothing for a while exercise should play a part.

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