08/21/2015 02:27PM ● Published by Aubray Onderik
By: Rachel Brittain
Everything was perfect when the day came for the Class of 2015 to receive their diplomas. Final exams were taken and passed, graduation parties and luncheons were planned and then it was time to walk down the aisle to receive that high school diploma. This exciting moment was surreal for students and parents all around Cumberland County and the surrounding areas, as they had been waiting to reach this goal for the past 13 years.
The Class of 2015 achieved many accomplishments together in high school such as various state championships in athletics and academic awards state and nationwide. They also have received incredible amounts of scholarship money and have a diverse acceptance rate to different universities and colleges. This next chapter is sure to be filled with amazing things for the students of the Fayetteville area and it all starts this summer as preparation is key in fully gearing up for college life.
Following graduation, the real work begins. Students start registering for orientation, filling out roommate requests, getting the necessary vaccinations and some apply for summer jobs to have a little extra money come fall. It is a very busy time, but the best thing to do for an incoming college student to do is to break it down and take it all in because these seemingly small things are the stepping stones to the next chapter.
Orientation is the backbone in preparing for freshman year. Students should try and register for orientation as early as possible so they have time to take in and digest the information given to them and prepare for the registration process that follows. Students should take notes and talk to upperclassmen at their colleges to get a better grasp on the information presented. Either at or before orientation students will receive their school laptops. In today’s tech driven world, this is a vital part of the first year of college as homework, teacher emails and day to day notifications can be gathered through this tool. The students will most likely meet with an academic advisor while at orientation, so, take advantage of that time, ask many questions and follow up after to make sure everything is clear and understood. Students should keep open minds because college is all about growing and expanding your knowledge.
Moving in with roommates is an exciting but nerve-wracking part of the college process. Every college does the roommate search a little differently and most students choose to get to know their roommate through social media prior to meeting in person. Facebook messenger is a valuable tool in the process. The next step would be plan a time to meet with your future roomie and parents should come too. This will help make everyone more comfortable and the transition living together that much easier.
Dorm shopping is also something future roommates plan together. Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond are great places to start. Most popular items include: Keurig coffee makers, colorful storage containers, bedding sets (Note: most dorm beds need twin XL sheets and comforters), funky rugs and other room decor. Check with your dorm as well to see if any appliances or furniture can be rented there such as microwaves and mini fridges. This will make move-in day a little less strenuous and more cost efficient. After settling in, roommates should take a trip together around the campus to familiarize themselves with the layout.
College comes with a lot of deadlines and paperwork. Some of those include immunization forms, tuition deposits, final transcript submissions and placement testing. All of these things look very scary on the outside for many different reasons, but to-do lists and writing things on a calendar are keys to organization.
Summer jobs are very helpful in preparing students for the next level of their education. It gives them structure and a large amount of responsibility that better prepares them for things they may face the next year at school. It also teaches them very quickly about time management. Having a summer job, no matter what it may be, allows students the opportunity to go ahead and build their resumes as they head towards summer internships and jobs related to their career paths. Financial lessons are learned as well as budgeting their income which will become more of a priority… especially after college graduation.
The change from a high school to college student is an immense one. It comes with a lot of freedom and new adjustments. It is normal to feel scared or nervous about the next four years whether you are a student or a parent. As the Class of 2015 disperses all across the country, they will take the lessons they have learned and leave a positive mark at their colleges, just like they did in Fayetteville.
Rachel Brittain is a 2015 Cape Fear High School graduate and incoming freshmen to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Journalism.
Leaving Family Behind and Staying in Touch (SIDEBAR)
Family is a big part of my life. I have a little sister, Ella (10) and a little brother, Walker (13) who bring me so much joy and happiness. I also have supportive parents who are always there for me no matter what. Not to mention my amazing grandparents and extended family and the best of friends that I consider family. Leaving these amazing people to head to UNC Chapel Hill is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I will only be 90 minutes away, but I will miss the little moments of my sister and brother growing up and the day to day talks with my parents and friends will be something that will weigh heavily on my heart. I know a lot of graduating seniors are having these same feelings and I have been contemplating on how I will deal with them. I have made it my goal to plan special things with each person in my life before heading off to school, whether it is a quick trip to the beach with my Mimi or a pottery day with my little sister. Memories like this will help you make an impact on their lives and yours before you are a little farther away. I also plan to set aside time two days a week to call my friends and family and check in with them to see how they are doing. Life gets busy and college will be stressful, but continuing to build the relationships that have been around for so long will help you deal with the pressures of college.
As I look on to the next four years, there will be a whole lot of stepping stones that are accompanied by many hurdles. However, I know with the support of my family, new friends and old, as well as life lessons I will continue to learn daily, I will be ready to take on anything. I encourage my fellow college freshmen to do the same. College will be fun and a success… I just know it!