So it’s your last summer before you head off to college to start your preparation for “the real world,” and you want to do something to commemorate it. You could make a scrapbook . . . or document the summer on a video camera . . . or start a journal. Or you could do something crazy. Something that will probably make your parents shake their heads. Yes, it’s something that you may come to regret a little bit later. But probably not. And it has the potential to commemorate a summer that you’ll never forget. Are you looking for some crazy ideas for this summer? Here are a few.
One option that seems to be a consistently popular one is to do something that will scare you out of your mind. Maybe it’s sky diving. Or bungee jumping. Or even horizontal bungee jumping. Whatever it is, it’ll probably scare the crap out of you. And it’ll be awesome.
A lot of people combine doing something dangerous with the second crazy idea—going really far away. Take a road trip, or jump a plane to another country. Wherever you go, get to somewhere you’ve never been before. Hang out on a beach in Mexico, or head to the Swiss Alps. Maybe you can find a way to make it to Japan. If doing this seems really difficult, and slightly unrealistic, you’re just not trying hard enough! If there’s a will, there’s a way. (Oh, and don’t watch any of those movies that start out with recent high school or college grads going on a road trip that turns into a fight for their lives before you go. Not a good idea.)
Another good way to commemorate your last summer is with some sort of body modification. Get a new piercing or a tattoo! Piercings are fairly temporary, so I won’t offer much caution on those. But tattoos are permanent. So if you get one, get something cool that you won’t regret in six months. Don’t get a pot leaf, don’t get your boyfriend’s name, don’t get your high school mascot (yeah, it’s been done). A lot of people over-think their tattoos and don’t ever end up getting one. Give it some thought, but if you really want one, go for it! Under no circumstances should you get a piece of flash tattooed. Have your own design done.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. There are thousands of crazy things that you could do to make this summer a great one. It doesn’t have to be something outrageous, either. Many people come up with great ideas that they don’t even have to leave their neighborhood for. Just keep thinking, and you’ll come up with a great idea to commemorate your summer.
Oh, yeah—don’t do any of this stuff behind your parents’ back or without their consent. That’s just stupid.
Depending on when your college starts classes, you may be moving in for the first time in the near future. Leaving home and moving to campus is a big change—getting off on the right foot by having a successful move-in can help you make the switch as comfortably as possible. The move-in day (and the entire move-in week) can be a little stressful, so make sure that you’re prepared and ready to go. Once the day arrives, use some of the following tips to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
First, and most importantly, have all of your stuff packed! If you’re running around your house the morning before you move in looking for a table fan, a desk lamp, an extra blanket, or your toothbrush, you’re going to start the day stressed. Get a move-in checklist and go through it several times in the weeks before you move in. Make sure you have everything together, packed, and ready to go. “Packed” doesn’t mean “together in a pile”—get all of your things into some bags and boxes so that you can just walk them out to the car in the morning and be done.
It can be really helpful to talk to your roommate about when you plan on showing up to move in. Depending on how large your dorm room is—and how you both like to do things—you may want to coordinate so that you’re not there at the same time. If you’re both trying to move your things into a small room, it can get pretty jammed and difficult to move around (especially if both roommates’ families are there helping out). Try to plan so one roommate gets there in the morning, and another arrives in the afternoon. It’ll be much easier for everyone involved.
It can be very helpful to have a plan on where you’re going to put your things—check out the floor plan for your room a week or so before you move in and start thinking about how you’ll organize it. Find out how the beds and desks are laid out. Will your bed be lofted? If so, you’ll have some more storage room. Does your desk already have a lamp on it? Then you can use yours on your nightstand (if you have one). Knowing things like this will make it even easier when you move in.
After you’ve moved in, start exploring your dorm! Get out and meet your hallmates and neighbors. Introduce yourself, see if you can find someone who’s in one of the same classes that you are, and just get to know as many people as you can. You’re going to be living with these people the rest of the year, so it’s good to start being social as early as possible!
So, where to go to college? Everybody wants to know what your plans are. Have you nurtured thoughts of traveling to faraway places, meeting people and learning a language or two? You’ve probably conjure up images of studying in a foreign country, the thrills and excitement of being engrossed in another culture. Then, are you considering going to college overseas? Attending college abroad entails lots of preparations and decision-making. But proper planning and the right information can help assure a wonderful learning experience that will probably be one of the defining moments of your life.
A Learning Experience
Many students are now considering going to college overseas for quite a number of important reasons. Studying abroad is not just about gaining an international degree but an enriching learning adventure in life and in education. It exposes a student to new ways of thinking and living and in the process allows for maturity and independence. It increases self confidence and sense of pride for achievement gained in living abroad. Going to college overseas deepens ones knowledge of global issues and provides one with a wider perspective of world affairs. On a more personal note, it enhances ones employment possibilities. Employers, nowadays, seek graduates who studied abroad because these graduates possess international know-how and often have second language skills needed in a highly globalize world. Added to these potential benefits are ones own personal reasons and goals. Decided, in-depth preparations should begin as soon as possible as there is so much to consider
Preparing for the Experience
The first and most important step is to decide on what course or field of study to take. You might like to explore an entirely new subject that is not available on your home campus. Or you might want to learn an entirely new language and living in that foreign country can make learning the language easier. Once decided, research on what is available to fit your need, resources and time. You can talk to your high school guidance counselor or study abroad advisor about opportunities, say, student exchange programs. You can also search the internet as they provide detailed information about academic courses by country, length of program, curriculum, grading system and medium of instruction.
From here, look up the schools that offer your course of choice, and while doing so, consider the school’s location, too. Schools provide a sneak peek of the course syllabus through their web sites. Finding the ideal school and country that meets your criteria is of paramount importance. Living and learning in a foreign place will have its stressful moments. You would want it to be worth all the hardships, right? It also helps to ask around for organizations that assist students who want to have an international education. These organizations usually offer services that range from assessment, counseling, admissions, visa applications, travel and housing accommodations. You could also get firsthand information from those people who shared the same experience before you.
After you’ve chosen your course, school and country, gather facts about the host country you’ll be staying in. Do research on the country’s climate, culture, language and other pertinent information. It is a must to help you adapt to a new environment.
Upon application, you have to meet the necessary academic requirements. These include transcript of records and academic background. There will be a number of specific prerequisites. Just bear in mind that the more complete your documents are, the better the chance of making it. Have a timeframe of when you want to start your studies. Take into account the time spend for submission of requirements and the school and the country’s processing time. It differs from one country to another.
Financially, you will have to have funds available. How much going to college overseas will actually cost you or your parents vary. Actual cost may be less or much more compared to what study at home costs. Financial aid, be it from an institution, the state, or other public or private sources may be applied.
Housing is also a significant factor to consider. Housing arrangements vary. You may opt to stay in the university residence hall, dormitories or apartments where your roommates could be students from the host country or other foreign countries. Home stays where you live with a local family can also be arranged. It pays to be well-prepared before going to college overseas to be able to survive being on your own.
Living the Experience
You know the feeling of a stranger setting foot on unknown territory surrounded by strange people and choked by strange rules you’re not really born with. This is a problem one encounters at first living in a foreign country. There will be lots more as your stay in a foreign place is dictated by the number of years you’ll be studying,
For one, frustration and confusion is a problem. This is usually called “culture shock”. Symptoms may extend from depression, sleeping difficulties, homesickness, stress, fear and concentration problems. Living a life that you are not used to and being away from familiar places and faces cause feelings of disorientation. Try to overcome culture shock by learning as much as possible about your host country’s culture. Keep in touch with fellow countrymen and family and friends at home. It is natural to feel overwhelmed, but give yourself time, things will get easier. Have an open mind and participate. Be amenable to try new things. Cooperate and make friends, whether you are staying in a dorm or with a host family. Getting to know them can help you learn and appreciate a new culture. You can also be exposed to diverse political, ethical, ideological ideas and acquire new perspectives. This will also give you a chance to test valuable traits such as tolerance, resilience and humility.
During the course of your stay, be careful of the food you eat, ensure if tap water is drinkable. Exercise to ward-off culture shock and to be more energetic and less stressed. Watch your alcohol consumption. In short, take care of your physical health.
Regarding money, you will need to learn how to use your host country’s currency. Budget your allowance properly as cost of living maybe high. Don’t spend on unnecessary things. For example, if you can walk, do so. It is a good way to appreciate the scenery as you stroll along. Keep track of your expenses. Open a bank account, if possible.
Also, be a law-abiding citizen. You should be aware of rules because you are in a new environment. Ignorance is not an excuse. Some rules in your host country may not be found in your own country. Be responsible. Be aware of the host country’s policies on safety. Know how to cope with emergencies. Know where your country’s embassy is in your place as well as organizations or persons to approach in case of emergency.
All said, the best way to enjoy studying overseas is to enjoy your stay – savor every moment and learn. Definitely, it is one big adventure of a lifetime, one that will make you a better and more intelligent person than before.
So, challenge yourself, face the world!