Students are moving to campus within the next couple of weeks as classes start all across the country. For many students, it will be the first time they have lived away from home.

The move from home to college is a big one. Students are out of the nest, sometimes far away from home in a strange environment and without anyone they know. Friends have been left behind as everyone disburses to their respective schools—sometimes these friends are lifelong buddies. While it is a time of looking forward to a bright future, it is also a time of tremendous change and much stress.  

With move-in dates literary days away, for some students the opportunity to prepare for life away from home has already passed. For seniors embarking on the last year of high school, a year of preparation is still a reality. Take the time now to learn habits that will relieve the stress of the transition.

Here are a few tips to make a smooth transition to college next year:

• Know how to wash, fold, and iron your laundry.
• Learn how to cook. Talk to your parents about good food choices and learn how to shop for them. Think dorm room. Microwave. Eating in the room saves lots of bucks.
• Start a rainy-day fund now. If you have a job, start setting aside a certain amount in savings to have for emergencies, future needs, and some of the fun things you want to do after you arrive on campus. If you don’t have a job, find one—even if it is a few hours a week and stash that money away.
• Establish a sleep routine and plan to stick to it when you get to college. Life is better when you get the sleep you need. All night study binges do not really work. So, get into good sleep and study habits now.
• Wake yourself up. Once you are on your own, no one will be there to wrestle you out of bed. Start setting an alarm to make sure you wake in time enough to be ready for school. Get into a morning routine that will carry you through college.
• Don’t procrastinate. Learn to set priorities. Try the things you dislike the most first and work down to the easy-peasy items. This will save you lots of headache on college assignments.
• If you don’t have them good cleaning habits already, start practicing good cleanliness. Roommates will appreciate it when you clean up after yourself and keep your part of the dorm room tidy. No one likes roommates that are messy and disorganized. Space is tight. It doesn’t help to have items scattered about the room. This includes washing your dishes and keeping the bathroom area free of toiletries, water, and green junk growing in the bowl.
• Practice good money management over the next year. Handling money for the first time while off at school can be challenging. The tendency will be to spend. Learn to be frugal and think ahead about upcoming expenses.

Learning good habits now will make a lot of difference in that first year on campus. Your parents will appreciate your efforts to be a responsible student and conscientious money manager.

A little effort in the last year of high school will go a long way to living on your own.

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Constance Camille
Writer, Poet, and Photographer who craves words, and people who love words, Constance Camille hangs her hat somewhere in Florida with her three Volpino Italiani doggies where she writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and a good poem when she’s in the mood. Her idea of heaven is a picnic and a good book. A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in English-Creative Writing, she recently completed her poetry chapbook "Other Shiny Things" and her story "The Forger" recently appeared in "The Write Stuff Anthology." She also serves as a submissions reader for the Florida based literary journal "Longleaf Review."

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