The 18th Summer

As the Summer Approaches, Many High School Seniors Face the Challenge of Preparing for College


Maya Canaday

(From left: Ben Dallman, Allie Marcotte, Jessica Poley, Lauren Roth, Keven Nguyen) Five seniors pose for one last picture outside of Lafayette before they go off to college.

The wait is over. After months of preparing and anticipating, your college is picked, you’ve been accepted, and it’s time to graduate. This moment occurs for numerous seniors each year after receiving their high school diplomas. It is an exciting rite of passage and a wonderful time to think about the future. However, it can also be a very stressful time for those involved. There are many obstacles still ahead that inexperienced college attendees are oblivious to, thus making them unprepared. These obstacles include finding a roommate, choosing college activities, or simply determining which bed spread to pick. We gave current college students an opportunity to reminisce over great freshman year experiences, while informing rising freshman of possible issues along the way. This transitional time can be stressful; however, as new students learn and adapt to their new environments and find their niches, this period changes to a largely fun, memorable experience.

Connor Wrann
Connor Wrann takes down his opponent during his wrestling meet.

As the freshman year of college approaches, high school seniors have a lot on their minds. These students have a lot to figure out as they are preparing for this new phase of their lives. The summer before one leaves for college contains many milestones that each student must face while getting ready for the new school year. For many, leaving behind their hometown, and their lives as a high school student becomes a challenge. When asked if they were going to miss Williamsburg, Allie Marcott, a Lafayette High School senior attending UVA in the fall, said, ” I’ll miss the family and friends I have here.” Incoming college freshman are also faced with decisions such as who their roommate will be or what they need to bring in order to be college ready. Finding a roommate can be hard, especially if one doesn’t know anyone going to their same college. Even if someone knows others attending the same university, it can still be a challenge to identify who will make a good roommate. Charles Walker, a current senior at Warhill High School who will be attending VMI, said, ” My roommate is random” when asked if he previously knew his roommate.

Bryant Walker
Bryant Walker signs his letter of intent to play football at the Virginia Military Institute next to his father.

Current Seniors also must worry about packing and getting important supplies that will help them during their freshman year. Incoming freshmen debate what to buy for their dorms and what they need to do this summer in order to be mentally prepared for next year. Each individual has a unique way of getting ready for this big lifestyle change. Maya Canaday, a Senior at Lafayette High School attending JMU in the falls said that the most important thing in preparing for college is, “Getting comfortable with being on my own.” Even though preparing for college involves a lot of preparation, and can be stressful sometimes, it’s a new adventure that many freshmen look forward too. These students get to start a new life for themselves by living on their own, making new friends and taking exciting classes. Marcott added,”I’m excited to be on my own and get more independence” in response to being asked what she was most excited about for her freshman year of college.

Maggie North
Taking a selfie before her game, Maggie North smiles while preparing to lead the band.

Incoming freshman face the unknown of going to college, but students who have already experienced a few years at a university have the routine down. Current college students understand what it feels like to be in the position of a high school senior, and their experiences can be turned into some helpful tips. When it comes to attending college for the first time, there are an endless number of ideals that can be passed along. Connor Wrann, an upcoming Junior at JMU, offered advice to rising freshman, saying, “Make sure you make good study habits as soon as possible because freshman classes are a lot easier than classes you’ll take early on, and getting used to a good study schedule will make for better habits in the future. Join something as soon as you can, whether it be a Greek life organization or a club. Join something that’s a group of people with similar interests to you because it makes your social life ten times better.” Packing can also be hard for incoming freshman. It’s hard to know what one will need while living on their own, in a new environment. Maggie North, an upcoming Junior at VT said that the most important thing to bring to college was “a lot of things you’ll bring naturally like clothes, a laptop and your phone. I guess just a planner to write your weekly schedule on, flipflops for the dorm shower, and jackets, especially for Blacksburg. A lot of college is on your laptop though.”

College will be a new and fun experience for all the rising freshman, even though it has its ups and downs. The troubles of being homesick, or adapting to a new life, will pass, and soon these freshmen will be just as knowledgeable as the upperclassmen. Each student must find their own way to move on and prepare themselves the summer before their freshman year. Leaving home and starting something new can be intimidating, but the stress of attending a university will fade, and the excitement of the new experience will come to these new students.