Oberlin Blogs

The Summer Before College

February 13, 2021

Aishwarya Krishnaswamy ’23

Baby making funny expressions
That is baby Aishwarya's way of saying good luck senior!! Photo credit: Aishwarya's mom and dad

Recently, as a Pioneer Academic alum, I was on a panel to share my college application experience with high school seniors currently doing their application process for college or trying to stay motivated in their classes upon getting into their desired college. 

The one question that came up the most was, 'What do you do over the summer to prepare for college?' or some variation of that question. I think that this is a very relevant question and one that even I wondered a lot during my summer before college. So here is a list of things I did and a list of things I would like to do if I could relive that summer once again! 

Things I did:

  • I spent time with a lot of friends, especially after not seeing my friends for a long time due to the significant '12th board exams' in India.
  • Built connections with people from my future college! I initially went about it through my admissions officer since I did not know any current students from Oberlin. Connecting with students, staff, faculty, and alumni allowed me to overcome my anxiety about this new place I would live in another five months. 
  • I became super mindful of all the things and people I know I'm not going to see as often anymore. Relished some yummy, spicy paani-puri's and rasgulla's.
  • I watched a lot of YouTube videos about college life! 
  • Binged on a lot of Oberlin blogs. 
  • Stressed a lot about packing, what to take/what not to take, and making friends! 
  • Built on my hobbies (painting and playing piano) and learnt new ones like singing! 
  • I went to the beach a lot and tried getting sentimental (but I was too excited for that). 
  • I started a few Coursera courses but struggled to finish them. 
  •  Fantasized about going to college in the U.S. and all the freedom that was just a few months away. 

 

While I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and there is no point in regretting past actions: 

Here is a list of things I would if I could go back in time/ suggestions and ideas for current seniors: 

  • Don't sweat about all the things you could do to be ready for college, because no matter how much you pre-plan, there is only so much you can do, so what's the point in stressing about things you can't control (like making friends) and actually doing things like cherishing friendships/relationships you already have. 
  • Learning a coding language (R, Python, Matlab, etc.). I just find that these skills are so useful and do not require a formal training environment to learn.
  • Working on writing skills! No matter which major/college, we all have some or the other paper to churn out during the semester. Having good writing skills will make life soo much easier. 
  • Packing less! If you tend to overpack like me, try to be conscious about minimizing. I promise you won't need ten pairs of shoes or your entire wardrobe from home. Also, packing and moving around so many things in college is such a pain in the neck!
  • Learning to cook things you like! 
  • Essential life skills would help too! Learning about saving, getting a job, going to the bank, post office, doing your laundry, and maybe even knowing the traffic rules might help! 
  • Being open to change, embracing adaptability, and unashamed to ask questions! 
  • Understanding the history/ political climate of the college and the city/country it is in. 
  • Familiarizing yourself with accent/catchphrases people use (especially if you are an international student!). 
  • Creating a structure with boundaries to connect back with family and friends once you go to college. 

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