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The Summer Before College, Practice Living on Your Own

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Finally, I learned how to do laundry!

Finally, I learned how to do laundry!

I have a confession to make: Throughout high school, my mom did my laundry. It's not like I didn't have chores. I was responsible for the dishes and mowing the lawn. I had just never done the laundry.

When it came time to head to college, I was worried that I would be confronted with all sorts of unfamiliar tasks. So the summer before college, I started trying to live as though I was on my own. I figured that if I learned to do these things in the comfort of my home, it would be far less stressful when I went to school. Here are a few things that I advise making sure you learn before you move to college.


Start doing your own laundry. The more you do it, the easier it will be. Figure out which of your sweaters you can get away with tumble drying, and which you really have to hand wash. Learn how to hand wash things. Try to get an idea of how often you will need to do laundry. This can help with budgeting laundry expenses at school. You can also establish a pattern that can last you throughout school. Maybe Fridays are your laundry days, or every other Friday if you're lucky.

Solve Your Own Problems

Things will come up in college. Maybe you'll have to email your professor about an absence, or schedule a doctor's appointment. The summer before college, try dealing with the stuff that comes up on your own. Manage your own schedule and appointments. If you have to sign some student loan agreement or put together your class schedule, try reading the fine print and handling it on your own before you ask your parents for help.

Learn to Cook

Figure out what sort of kitchen availability you'll have in college. Maybe you'll have a full kitchen in your common room or suite, or maybe you'll have to make do with a microwave. Either way, you can figure out a few simple meals to cook and practice them at home. If you'll have a kitchen, maybe learn some simple rice dishes or a cookie recipe. If you've got a microwave, there are tons of cool microwavable edibles. Just look up "mug recipes" on Pinterest. You're welcome.

Pack on Your Own

Chances are, you'll be doing a lot of packing in the next few years. It can be tough, and I recommend that you do your best to pack for your first year of college on your own. Figure out how to put together that bookshelf. Find out the best way to fit all your shoes into a cardboard box. If you need help doing any of these things, you will of course have the option to ask for assistance. Just remember, independence is one of the best parts of college, so it's good to know how to be as independent as possible.

Some of you might have been doing these things all your lives, while some of you might need to catch up on your household skills. All I can say is that having practiced these tasks before my freshman year began, I was able to start my college experience without worrying that I couldn't handle living on my own. College is so full of new experiences and new knowledge. You shouldn't have to worry about laundry.

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