News flash, kids: You’re getting older. And for a lot of you young HackCollege readers out there, this may be your last real summer before college. You may not even realize it yet, as your last few days of high school come and go, and your summer begins, how truly different your life will be in a few short months. It may sound cliché and you may think you know what it’ll be like, but it is far different than you’d expect.

Friendships

Harsh reality check number one: You know the same group of friends you’ve been hanging out with for the last 4 years? Chances are most of them are not going to the same school as you, as much as you think you’ll stay a team forever and ever, you may end up drifting apart. They are busy, then you’re busy, and before you know it the year is over and you barely talk.

The weirdest part of it all is that it won’t really bother you. You’ll make new friends, have priorities, and so will they; that’s life. So, make sure you make the most of this last summer with your friends. Hang out as much as you can, stay out late when you have work the next day, and make some good ole’ fashion summer memories.

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Work Your Butt Off

Congratulations! You are now a part of the few, the proud, the poor college student demographic. On top of basic costs you have already thought of  – tuition, housing, books — there are tons of hidden costs that will suck your bank account dry. There’s a reason there are a hundred ways to make ramen, and even choking down cheap vodka adds up after a few parties.

The money you have, no matter how much of it you do have, will be gone much faster than you think. That’s why you should spend this time making money! A few hundred to a few thousand dollars will go a long way in college, as we are the kings and queens of stretching our dollars.

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Prepare

Okay, this may sound a little open ended — mainly because it is — and it’s different for everyone, but in a few short months you’re going to be gone. In fact, it’s probably the last time you’ll ever really live at home. No mom and dad, no best friend, and no more familiarity. It’s a little scary, but at the same time: no more going to school all day, no curfew, you can literally do whatever you want, whenever you want.

So the best way to handle this, and not be one of the many freshman who tank their first semester and work the rest of their college career saving that GPA, is to be ready for it.

Start learning right away. No, not classwork — college life:

  • What classes can you skip?
  • What classes do you have to attend?
  • Can you really party all weekend and maintain good grades?
  • Is it a bad idea to hook up with a girl you met in the first week?

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The answers are different for everyone, except that last one — tread carefully, chief. A first week hookup can lead to a year of regret. Lastly, remember this: You only have one shot at this whole “college” thing. It can be a hell of a lot of fun, but only if you’re smart about it. So get ready for the best 4+ years of your life because it’s over before you know it.

 

Image: armandolobos