Things to do before college starts

am almost positive that most people would agree with me on one fact: high school flies by at a blink of an eye. So, I have a few things to do before you rush straight into adulthood head first.

1. Travel

Trust me, once you step onto a college campus, it’s almost as if time is the opposite of what it actually is (a theoretical construct) that only exists when you don’t want it to. For example, when you’re on an awkward Tinder date or when you’re trying to think of a better way to say “very informative” while evaluating a research paper you found on EBSCO host. Anyway, you get the point, time flies. There aren’t going to be four-months long summers as they will be filled by internships, summer jobs, and summer courses. Your parents are going to start using the “you’re an adult now” card on your, which is undeniably sad but true. On that note, I came up and organized a few traveling destinations and tips for various types of budgets and travelers.

Best destinations to visit for nature lovers

Latin America is a great destination for someone who loves the outdoors and, isn’t completely strapped to the central air conditioning or completely broke with two cents on their debit card.

1. Machu Picchu, Peru

Now, as much as it is a tourists hot spot, the beauty of this sub-tropical paradise is undeniable.

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A flight from LAX to Cusco, Peru is around $800-$1000 round trip depending on when and with which airline you book your flight. Some of the cheaper options are LATAM Airlines and American Airlines. While that price might sound intimidating for a plane flight, it’ll be the most expensive thing on this trip.

To illustrate, a low budget day in Peru will cost you around $20-$30, and hostel prices can be as low as $10 a night. Buses are a great and inexpensive way to get around. One of the most popular options would be the Peru Hop, where you can purchase a week-long bus pass that gets you around Peru for as low as $149.

2. City Babes

If you love your Carrie Bradshaw moments (not so much as Sex and the City portrays but more in a Carrie Diaries sense), this could be a great cozy yet productive option for you.

3. Montreal, Canada

Even though Montreal is considered a little bit more pricy for traveling, there are always ways to get around. And yes, you can speak English here.

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It will cost you around $500-700 to fly from LAX to YUL. The STM is a great way to explore Montreal, and you can get a weekly pass for about $27 (it’s $16 if you are 17 or under). Hostels expense looks something like $25-65 a night depending on your preferences and the location. An inexpensive meal ranges from $10-16, and if you are like me, a caffeine addict, an average cup of coffee in Montreal costs $2.67 to be precise.

2. Attend Festivals

Attending a music or art festival is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and try out something that’s otherwise intimidating. It could be your big debut for a new and totally different persona that you envision yourself to embody in college or just a fun experience with some high school friends. Either way, enjoy the pounding headaches and the rushing of your adrenaline while it’s still considered, you know, enjoyable.

Burning Man

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While Burning Man does not exactly seem like the innocent summer camp your parents would sign you up for, it’s also not what it seems. Yes, sure, there’s going to be drugs, sex, and an excessive amount of alcohol just like any other place on the planet. However, it’s unwise to judge a place or an event based on other peoples’ subjective experiences. Burning man is always what you want it to be. It could be a mind-blowing experience with some of your best friends. It could be a soul searching week with incredible art and an amazing community, or it could also be a week of exploring the Orgy Dome. Again, it’s whatever you want it to be.

A few tips and hacks before you head to Nevada:

  1. Do not go alone. Go with family, friends, meet people there and know your neighbors.
  2. Make sure you are prepared for the week whether it’s food, water, shade.
  3. Ask packing advice and tips from someone who has already been.
  4. Hydrate!
  5. Check out the website and guidelines

The cost of attending Burning Man varies every year, but a ticket from the Main Sale in 2019 looks something like $425, and a Vehicle Pass is around $100, which could be split in between your companies. I was fortunate enough to get in with a low-income ticket at $250 as I was 18 and fully independent as an adult. Just be sure to track the different sales and application deadlines.

The Governors Ball

The Governors Ball is a three-day music festival in NYC. It’s not only known for its incredible lineup and live music, but also the food, activities, and street art. The three-day passes start at $305/pass to VIP tickets costing $705/ticket.

Tips for attending the festivals at NYC:

  1. There are free water stations to fill up your water bottles
  2. Bring sunscreen!
  3. Bring a blanket
  4. Keep an eye on those weather apps you paid for no reason (well, until now)
  5. Don’t skip performances for an autograph signing. You’ll regret it.
  6. Plan ahead (duh. But seriously, hotels, transportation…etc. And be very vigilant about it.)

3. Make Money and Save Money

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One would think that money isn’t going to be a problem until Sophomore year of college because everything has already been paid for, such as food and rent. However, expenses do add up. Toiletries, textbooks, school supplies, phone bills, and not to mention all the partying you’re going to do.

For many college students, making and saving money while still living under their provider’s roofs is a privilege. It’s significantly easier without having to pay for basic daily supplies.

Here are some ways you can make a little cash before heading off to college.

  1. Part-time jobs. Some great places to work at are Target, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, Rubio’s, Yogurtland, and Jack’s Urban Eats.
  2. Babysitting. If you invest in building a babysitting business early on in high school, the fortune will follow all through the summer before college. People are likely to use the same babysitter over and over again or even recommend you to their connections.
  3. Dog sitting/walking and house sitting. Often those two come in together and people that need a house sitter will likely pay you a good amount.
  4. Sell on eBay. If you have those designer jackets or shoes that you made your parents buy when you were 12, or 10 SAT books you never read, sell them online! Make sure you calculate your profit correctly and take the time you spent on preparing an item for sale into consideration as well.
  5. Mow the lawn for your grandparents or neighbors. Pass out flyers with your contact info and expect for some calls.
  6. Invest in stocks. Now, this requires an excessive amount of research and an understanding of the market. I suggest you seek into the other five options if this is completely irrelevant to your future career and would be a total waste of time. If you do proceed, do the research and start small.

4. Start Engaging in Politics

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As some of us are approaching or at the voting age, it is very important to know what your values are and how they relate to the world. With that said, solidifying some of your core principles and backing them up with substantial and logical research and understandings isn’t a bad idea.

Ways to get involved in politics for students:

  1. Read or watch the news. However, be aware that everyone has their own biases, especially the media.
  2. Do your research.
  3. Pay attention in U. S History courses and Civics
  4. Talk to your peers, teachers, and parents about politics. This one could often be hard to do without creating tension since a lot of topics are highly controversial today. However, it’s important to understand one seemly straightforward topic from different angles.
  5. Form logical and coherent opinions and know how to express them in a non-invasive or offensive way.

5. Try to Read More

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In all honesty, I barely read ten books in high school. I understand how dreadful those assigned books are and I wouldn’t read them again either. What I’m trying to convey is, you don’t have to read all the books assigned to you in class. You could even listen to them on Audible. However, it’s important to keep a healthy reading habit because that’s what you’ll do for the majority of your college classes.

Some book recommendations for students (for both before and during college):

  1. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  2. Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov
  3. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  4. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
  5. Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
  6. The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  7. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  8. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  9. The Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  10. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

If you find reading boring but still want to keep a good habit, I would suggest reading articles first instead of a whole book. It’s not as big of a commitment.

6. Learn How to Cook

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Learning how to cook and how to shop for food has more perks than you’d expect. You no longer have to rely on microwaved meals and packaged salads, you save a lot of money, and it’s also considered a positive asset as a young adult.

Cooking yourself a full three-course meal might sound intimidating but binge-watching Gordon Ramsey screaming at full-grown men, or on a more temperate note, tasty videos will help boost your confidence. Start with breakfast foods if you’re skeptical of your cooking ability. Eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, potatoes, and smoothie bowls are all good staters.

Here are some recipes for quick and easy meals for college students:

  1. Spaghetti Carbonara Total cooking time including preparation: 25-30 mins
  2. Fried Rice Cooking time: 30 mins
  3. Teriyaki Chicken Cooking time: 20-25 mins
  4. Pesto Pasta with Shrimp (or any other protein of your choice) Cooking time: 25-30 mins
  5. Broccoli Beef Cooking time: 15-20 mins
  6. Lemon Garlic Salmon Cooking time: 15-20 mins
  7. Ramen Cooking time: under 15 mins
  8. One-pan Eggs Cooking time: under 15 mins
  9. Taco Salad Cooking time: 20-25 mins
  10. Tofu (or another choice of protein) Pad Thai Cooking time: 30-35 mins

A quick tip on cooking rice (not in the microwave): get a rice cooker! It’ll save you a significant amount of time. You can find one on Amazon for less than $25.

7. Go to a High School Dance/ Party

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Not every party has to be the stereotypical high school parties you see in movies or even on social media. Parties can be safe while also being extremely fun and exciting if you know how to navigate your way through. Know your limits, don’t drink and drive, and enjoy.

If partying isn’t your cup of tea, go to a dance! If prom seems overwhelming, attend Homecoming! One might think that high school dances seem like a huge cliche. That’s because they are in every sense of the word. They are also a critical part of the high school experience, and one dance definitely won’t kill all of your brain cells and ruin your future if that’s what you are worried about. A debatably exaggerated dance could also be an opportunity for you to forget about school or anything exceeding the dance floor. It’ll give you a chance to temporarily pause your life and manifest another that’s undeniably exciting and glamorous.

Quick Prom/ Homecoming checklist for incoming students:

  1. Prompose! It’s a sweet gesture regardless of your gender.t tickets
  2. Buy tickets
  3. Look for a dress/ tux (try it on before purchasing), and pick a theme color
  4. Look for shoes and accessories that match your dress
  5. Show your date a part of your attire showing enough to help him get an idea but not revealing your whole game.
  6. Decide on a makeup look and a hairstyle
  7. Practice doing your makeup and hair or make appointments to have them done
  8. Order the corsage or boutonniere
  9. Get a haircut at least a week before if you need one

A checklist before going to a party:

  1. Get your nails and eyebrows done
  2. Shave/wax whatever you need to
  3. Go easy on the diet or detoxing, if you’re even doing one
  4. Do a face mask
  5. Hit the gym if it makes you feel better
  6. Plan to take pictures and make a dinner reservation
  7. Make sure the corsage or boutonniere is ready in time

A checklist on the day of a party:

  1. Get a lot of sleep
  2. Hydrate and moisturize your skin
  3. Remember deodorant
  4. Don’t starve yourself and don’t consume too much caffeine
  5. Have fun!

8. Make a Scrapbook or a Photo Album

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Have you ever experienced that moment when you realize old memories are slowly slipping away and you can barely remember your childhood best friend besides know their name? It can be equivalent to the feeling of reading your ex’s yearbook comments after years, well, minus the aggression. Creating a scrapbook or a photo album can be a creative and heartwarming way to allow yourself to revisit those unique moments.

What can go in the book before you head to college (basically anything):

  1. Polaroids spent way too much money on
  2. Pictures (you can print them online and have them delivered at Target)
  3. Wristbands from concerts, ice rink…etc
  4. Quotes you made up with your friends
  5. Funny stories or any story
  6. All your aggression toward your exes or just people in general (but this is not the burn book so maybe consider being more…subdued).
  7. Souvenirs from places you’ve visited
  8. Your doodles
  9. Heartfelt letters you never had the courage to mail
  10. Cutouts from your favorite magazine

For some of you, this article might seem a little late. However, while high school might be the prime time to embark on these activities, it’s not quite too late to try anything.

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