This time of year is pretty exciting because of all the looming change. Whether you're getting ready to graduate high school or to start your senior year, it's time to start transitioning. Change is fun!
Here are five things that I wish I did before starting college at DePaul:
(1) Identify a mentor for the next four years, someone that you will be able to look up to for guidance. This may be someone in your potential career field or someone from back home that you're particularly fond of. Whoever it is, it may be best that they are a bit older and ready to give honest advice. This could also be a DePaul professor. In fact, that would be excellent because they can help you navigate your four years while also being someone that will see you change through your time here. I've had a faculty mentor (Dr. Caitlin Karver) and I can't stress enough how thankful for her I am. So, take a leap and reach out to someone (a professor, someone in Chicago, someone back home). Think about your support system, who you go to when you need help or support.
(2) Do some introspection. Think about the core of who you are. You're going to be challenged by a lot of new things in college, but what are some things that you're not willing to give up? What are some things you're ready to move past? College is a fantastic time to let these changes happen :)
Make a list of goals. Like real, solid goals. They could be long term (4 years and above) or short term (1 year) goals. Even goals that may seem impossible. Challenge yourself to set expectations. It may help you start taking advantage of the incredible things that DePaul and Chicago offer! For example, "Tom's goal #1 as an entering freshman at DePaul: Ride on every single CTA
bus line start to finish"- Such a great way to see new neighborhoods. Goal status: incomplete (because I didn't articulate this goal before starting college!) :(
(4) Summer, Summer, Summer. This summer you should do something life-giving. Something that will give you energy that you can take with when you go to college. For example, maybe get a job working at a summer camp. You'll have countless stories when you get to college. Or, get a fun job where you learn something new. Make memories with your parents, family, loved ones. Then, document your memories! I can't tell you how many times freshman year I went through the pictures from my summer before. It was comforting and helped me remember some of the people I loved when I wasn't seeing them all the time.
(5) Get ready for a hell of an incredible experience! I'm not sure how to prepare for this, but just get excited. You're soon to embark on a fantastic journey. Celebrate your success so far and prepare so that you can thrive in college.