In college, I faced more “life” challenges than academic ones.
But now, at the age of 22, I know that a lot of these problems could have been avoided with a little forethought while I was still in high school. So if you’re reading this and you’re in high school, you can use these ideas to help yourself get ready for college.
Habit No. 1: Eat right and exercise.
Back at home I never was really into health and fitness. I played lacrosse and ran the sprints with everyone else, but beyond that I didn’t have any schedule whatsoever. For a week I might do push-ups every morning, but when my arms felt “bigger”I would stop. Maybe I’d look at my stomach one day and decide to do some sit-ups, but the motivation wouldn’t last long. I didn’t eat much junk food or drink soda, but if all my friends went to Burger King, I would join them.
When I got to college, and was surrounded by tempting cafeteria food all day, I realized the importance of eating well and creating a regular workout routine.
Here’s the thing: It was hard to build that routine in college!
Having not taken this seriously in high school, I had to build the habit while in a new state, with new friends, taking new classes. Focusing on health and fitness in high school will make the transition much easier. Otherwise, beware the “Freshman 15” - the extra 15 pounds many kids gain in their first year at college.
Habit No. 2: Make new friends.
In high school, you may have rarely felt the need to reach out to new people. Most likely, you built a small friend group in the first week and planned on keeping those friends for the next four years. You didn’t need to conquer the fear of rejection that always comes with saying “hi” to new people. For some of us, this fear is stronger than for others.
When I was in high school, it was hard to break out of my fear of saying “Hello” to people I didn’t know. It was difficult, but I made some positive steps in the right direction. Sometimes I would need to mentally wrestle with myself to literally take a step in the right direction instead of just walking away from a person I didn’t know.
Here’s the deal: Being comfortable meeting new people will increase the quality of your personal life and your career.
This fear of meeting new people is rarely eliminated entirely, but take some time and brainstorm a way to help yourself get over it as much as possible.
Habit No. 3: Think about the future.
This is the most important thing I wish I did more of in high school. It’s also the thing many people neglect entirely. You wouldn’t believe how many people I met in college who didn’t have an answer to the question “Why are you studying that?”
It’s very easy to drift from high school to college to career without doing much thinking at all. Don’t let that happen to you. If you’re going to get any fulfillment from what you do you need to have a plan and goals that you have been forming over many years. You can’t come up with a set principles in a weekend. They need time and attention to grow and develop.
When you’re in high school you have an awesome opportunity to do lots of thinking. You likely have lots of time that you’re probably putting towards some pretty wasteful, useless activities.
Now I spend 30 minutes per day specifically thinking about who I want to be and the future I want to create for myself.
Even doing that for nearly two years now, I am still just figuring out where I want to go. If you haven’t devoted any time to thinking about the future beyond which college you want to attend, grab a pencil and paper and write down some ideas.