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The Summer Before College: What to Do, See, Try, Read and Explore

By Ronnie Piper

Cabanas on the beach

Congratulations, you’ve made it past the halls of your high school and you’re on your way to college. But first you’ve got to consider how you should spend your summer before college starts.

Wondering what to do in the summer before college? The gone-too-fast weeks before college is your last hoorah, not because you will never have free time again or won’t have lots of choices in college, but because time management is going to throw many impulsive plans out the window. So really and truly this is your last untethered, no strings attached, oh what-about-that-homework-assignment time for a while.

So before orientation begins, here are 5 suggestions on things to do the summer before college and making the most of your time:

1. Road Trip
Sun setting over the open roadThink about it, you’ve been bogged down by club activities, athletics, recitals and homework throughout your high school experience. What else should you do with your free time but see the world one state at a time while hugging the asphalt with high school friends who will most probably be scattered over the nation following their own academic pursuits

2. Make a List
Creating a bucketlist

Remember that time when you wished you had the time to do a little something for your own selfish enjoyment but being back at school on Monday morning or turning in a project or making practice tabled it? Well now that you’re free you can make a list of everything you want to do and things friends suggest and go for it all, while checking it off your summer before college bucket list.

3. Next Stop the Big Apple
New York Times Square

So you may be from a small town in the South where the street lights come on and everyone is nestled in the comforts of home by a certain time of night. Break the mold and visit The City That Never Sleeps, the concrete jungle. See the landmarks, check out a Broadway show and don’t forget to check out the amazing museums, and last but not least, fight victoriously against your first slice of authentic New York style pizza. Times Square is just waiting for you to experience what tourists worldwide yearn for every year. If New York is too far for you, take a trip to a favorite big city near you.

4. Read Something for Fun
Girl reading a book in the grass

Find some books to read the summer before college! I can’t tell you the last time I have ever heard of a college student who reads leisurely amidst homework and projects of the collegiate caliber. So if you want to check out the latest Veronica Roth, James Dashner, Cassandra Claire or collective offerings of the likes of Suzanne Collins or Steven King; now is the time.

5. Get a Summer Gig
lifeguard umbrella at the beach

Summer jobs before college can be a great learning experience. Whatever field you want to go into, there is nothing like firsthand experience to either set you on fire about your future or make you snap out of the fantasy of it all. So get a job, internship (paid or unpaid), or shadow a professional in that field and see what a day in the life of that profession is actually like. What’s the worst that could happen? You get experience and an insider’s perspective and then some. Now that’s a win-win if I ever heard one.

6. Prepare for College

While the summer before college is your time to relax and kick back you can also take some steps to ensure your freshman year gets off to a good start. This could be doing things like connecting with your new roommate, starting to get familiar with your college town if you are moving to a new city, checking out the different clubs and student organizations your college might offer, or just simply organizing your life so you can clear out the clutter and be ready for a fresh start.

There are plenty of fun activities and ways to spend your last summer before entering college. Take the time to do something you’ve always wanted to do, or learn more about potential careers. With all the hard work you did in high school behind you make sure to take time to relax and get refreshed so you are ready to conquer your freshman year of college.

7. Take a Whirlwind Tour of Houston

There are literally dozens of fun things to do in Houston during the summer. There are even lots of free things to do in Houston. Immerse yourself in all our beautiful city has to offer!

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About the Author — Ronnie Piper

Ronnie Piper is the senior social media specialist for the University of St. Thomas. In addition to managing "likes" and "shares," he also serves as the University photographer.

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