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On my first day of seventh grade, I became the poster child for the awkward years. I wore a spandex collared shirt covered with neon flowers.

I’m not kidding.

I had matching neon flower earrings and glasses that were too big for my face, but I was convinced I looked great. And I definitely did.

I carried all my books in my giant backpack because I thought that’s what the older kids did (and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how to work my locker combination).

My first class of the day had me searching for room 207 in the wrong hallway and ended in a humiliating principal escort. It didn’t take long for me to learn that neon colors were for grade school, nobody carried all their books at once, and the cool kids didn’t even wear their backpacks.

I’d like to say that things got better after 7th grade, but that’s totally a lie.

Back to school brings a mountain of stress for both kids and parents every year. What to wear? What to bring? What should I know? What to expect?

From kindergarten through college, every year presents new and different challenges. From the one who made all the mistakes and then some, I put together a comprehensive list of unique tips for any age.

Kindergarten Prep Tips

I’m not sure who is more nervous for kindergarten, the five-year-olds who are lining up like cattle to walk into a giant school filled with complete strangers or the parents who are sobbing and waving hankies as if their grade-schooler is going off to war.

(I may not have kids yet, but I definitely am not looking forward to this. Saying goodbye to my dog in the morning is hard enough. Talk about true heartbreak.)

Being physically, mentally, and emotionally ready helps kids to have a better understanding of what’s going on and helps parents to handle the big day (at least until you get back in the car).

Kindergarten Supplies

Kindergarten teachers are pretty specific about what they want (and what they don’t want) in their classroom.

When I was in kindergarten, I’d carefully select my Little Mermaid pencil box and Lisa Frank folder to keep in my desk, but schools today do it differently. They don’t care about Ariel or Lisa.

Most schools ask for identical, non-personal school supplies all given to the teacher, who later divides them among the students. Kids will still enjoy shopping for their first school supplies, but double check with the school to see exactly what they need before shopping.

Avoid personalized supplies, chances are they won’t be using the exact box of crayons you provide. Imagine how pissed you would be after wasting all that money on the 84-pack WITH the sharpener… You’re welcome for the tip.

Kindergarten Organization Tips

Teaching a kindergartener to stay organized is like teaching a goldfish to do a backflip.

However, good habits start at home with simple tasks and expectations of organization that give them a great foundation to organizing themselves for school.

  • Start with basic home schedules and checklists to help your child establish a daily routine.
  • Teach children to put away their toys and items carefully, and encourage them to remember where their items are and care for their belongings. This is not only good for their development, but it’s one less thing for you to do around the house.

Set out everything the night before including clothing, backpacks, and shoes to avoid a chaotic morning.

Kindergarten Knowledge and Readiness

Once upon a time, children didn’t have to know anything to succeed in kindergarten, but today’s schools expect more. Not Baby Geniuses level, but pretty close. Begin at home with a few basic skills so your child is ready for the upcoming kindergarten expectations.

  • Practice writing their name and reciting their/your phone number independently.
  • Ensure they have complete independent bathroom skills. Despite what Billy Madison said, peeing your pants isn’t cool.
  • Use craft projects to teach them how to use scissors, glue, crayons.
  • Help them to begin to identify some letters and letter sounds throughout the day.

Social and Behavioral Skills Required by Kindergarten

Kindergarteners have the beautiful benefit of believing that everyone is their best friend. However, this is often the first time they are away from home and with other children all day long and can be a big adjustment from the nest they rule at home.

Kindergarten teachers don’t expect a classroom full of 5-year-olds to act like perfect little soldiers, but they should have the ability to share, communicate, and start to solve problems together and accept differences.

Arrange playdates with other kids of similar age to teach your child to share and take turns.

If your kindergartener is particularly shy, teach them a few key phrases like, “Hi, my name is ______” or “I have a dog named _____,” or “Do you like to play restaurant?” These small phrases are all these kids need to interact with other kids who are more outgoing and make friends easily.

I might even use these next time I’m stuck in an awkward conversation at the bar. Maybe not asking if he’d like to play restaurant, though.

Kindergarten Health Concerns

Kindergarten is hard work both mentally and physically, so the beginning of the year is a good time to check in with your doctor for an annual physical and review their overall health with their pediatrician.

  • It is essential, and often legally required to get the essential vaccinations and immunization requirements before your child starts school. You get to keep your kid healthy and stay out of jail. Double whammy.
  • Pay attention to clues that may indicate a learning disability. If you notice your child having trouble learning sounds, letters, or blends, this may lead to problems reading later on. Also look for problems learning basic math skills, remembering facts, or not understanding verbal directions which can all be signs of an early learning disability.
  • To avoid bringing home germs from other kindergarteners, get in the habit of washing hands as soon as your child gets home from school.
  • Throughout the year, be sure your little one is getting enough rest and mental downtime at home. Avoid over scheduling and overextending kindergarteners until they have shown the ability to handle any extracurricular activities.

Kindergarten Style and Fashion

Scraped knees, growth spurts, and messy kids mean parents go through a lot of clothes.

Get your little one involved in their style choices to avoid early morning battles.

  • If your school has a uniform policy, check to see if they have a swap available where you can find uniforms for cheap. All about them deals, ‘bout them deals, no retail!
  • Some schools may also have a recess policy, requiring kids to have the necessary outwear (coats, jackets, gloves) in order to go outside for recess. Keep these items in your child’s backpack, so they are ready in case the weather turns chilly.
  • Look for daily deal websites to keep kids clothed, warm, and stylish without breaking your budget.
  • Keep in mind that school can get messy, so don’t send kids to school in their Sunday best and not expect to find a gigantic sloppy joe stain all down the front and somehow the back.
  • Most teachers may request/require a change of clothes to be kept in the child’s backpack or in the classroom in case of an unexpected mess at school.

Extracurricular Opportunities for Kindergarteners

Kindergarten is taxing on little minds and little bodies. They often don’t have the mental capacity or physical stamina to handle very many extracurricular activities. Be careful about overextending them into too many different areas.

  • Weekends can be a good time to introduce sports through community programs.
  • Relaxing and social activities can be fun for students who need after-school child care.
  • Keep extracurricular activities simple and fun such as art, dance, or music.

How to Prepare Your Child for Elementary School

Lunch boxes, dioramas, toothless grins and the scent of glue are the essence of elementary school years. This happy, adorable time is all about encouraging students to love school.

I had a teacher as an adult tell me once that if a child doesn’t learn to read easily and love school by the third grade, statistically they will struggle the rest of their school years.

Get ‘em started. Elementary is the time to take those fresh little sponge brains and fill them with encouragement, love, and ambition to learn more.

Elementary School Supplies

Your teacher or school will likely send a detailed list of requested school supplies before the first day of school.

But don’t forget about those supplies that your student needs that might not be on the list.

  • Always have a hooded jacket or hoodie to keep in the backpack for chilly days or unexpected rain at recess.
  • If your student doesn’t need a new backpack, consider sprucing up an old one with a good washing (most packs can go in the washing machine) and new keychains, ribbons, or embroidery.
  • If you have trouble meeting the financial burden of purchasing school supplies, you can contact the school to determine what are the true essentials for the first few days and what items you may provide later in the year.

Organization Tips for Elementary Students

Elementary students use color codes, memory aids, songs, rhymes, to learn new things every day because staying on top of everything independently is nearly impossible. Use these same techniques at home to keep them organized.

  • Create silly acronyms or songs to remember important information like which bus they get on, where their class is, or what they need to bring to school each day.
  • Encourage a daily routine, particularly for after school, which uses the structure they already have at school to continue into a smooth evening routine at home. I bet this would make bedtime a lot smoother, too.
  • Find a space in your home that can be dedicated to homework without interruption. The kitchen table works great. Provide a homework caddy with pencils, crayons, and other necessary supplies that can be put away when homework is done.

Knowledge and Readiness Skills Necessary for Elementary Students

Each grade level has certain benchmarks set in place by teachers, educators, and school boards. It’s more important to watch your child and ensure they are progressing steadily at their own pace. Look for stumbling blocks that significantly impact learning or consistent problems that cause you concern rather than worrying about standardized benchmarks.

  • Reading is still the number one recommendation from most teachers and professionals, make reading a family affair and get everyone involved in a good book. You don’t want other students to roll their eyes impatiently when it’s Sally’s turn to read.
  • In grade school, start teaching your child left and right hands. Practice in the car, at the dinner table, or while playing.
  • Use car rides, neighborhood walks, or free time at home to have fun quizzing basic addition, subtraction, or multiplication based on age.
  • If you notice your child has consistent problems remembering sight words or letters, has trouble with basic math or numbers, or is disorganized in their thought patterns, materials, or memory, talk to your teacher or principal about possibly screening for a learning disability.
  • Also, this is when eyesight issues can arise – at least it was 4th grade for me. I thought it was normal to have to walk to the board to see. Keep an eye out for sight issues and whatever you do, don’t buy the super trendy glasses my mom got me. I looked like Harry Potter.

Social and Behavioral Skills Necessary for Elementary Students

Grade school is the learning ground for empathy.

Teaching children to see things from another person’s point of view can be difficult, even for me now, but it’s essential for reasoning, respect, sharing, and problem-solving.

  • Problem solve together rather than dictate rules and regulations.
  • Don’t brush off small issues with friends or peers, talk through these small issues so they learn how to deal with them before they turn into bigger problems in later years.
  • Use opportunities at home to teach kids how to resolve conflict on their own, how to talk to their peers, and negotiate problems in a healthy way instead of flailing around. I would say fighting, but have you ever watched a kid try to fight? It’s like watching a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man dance at the club. Avoid that whole situation.
  • If your kid seems to struggle socially, consider an extracurricular activity to boost confidence and self-esteem.

Elementary School Health Concerns

Kids are great at finding fun ways to exercise every day. They are on the playground, running around the backyard, playing with the dog, or wrestling with dad. Staying active is an important part of maintaining overall health and avoiding childhood obesity.

  • Maintain a healthy diet as much as possible. I’m not suggesting shoving vegetables down their throat, but if you put it on their plate every night, eventually they’ll get curious enough to try it.  
  • Be sure your kiddo is getting enough sleep. Most experts recommend 8-12 hours for elementary age kids. Rested brains and bodies work better than tired ones, myself included.
  • Rather than focus on individual sports, focus on overall skills like endurance, strength, and flexibility.
  • Kids love a competition, so make fitness part of your family routine and get everyone involved. This is also a good excuse to get your own ass up and moving.

Style and Fashion Tips for Elementary Students

Most elementary kids just want to be comfortable. Dressing your child like a Pottery Barn model might be a good idea in theory, but have you ever tried running in skinny jeans? It’s impossible. Even a slight discomfort in their clothing can distract them from learning and make school harder.

  • Think twice about sequins, ruffles, tulle or embellishments that your little diva loves, but might be itchy and irritating by the end of a long school day.
  • Bring your kids to the store with you and have them jump, twist, and reach to see how the clothes feel before you buy. There’s nothing worse than dropping $50 on a new outfit that they absolutely loathe.
  • Be sure their wardrobe is washable, too. 6-year-olds don’t need anything that is dry clean only.

Extracurricular Opportunities for Elementary Students

Kids in this age are beginning to love the thrill of competition, but also just want time to socialize with their friends. Choose extracurricular activities that enhance their natural talents.

This is the best time to let your kid try new things. If they express an interest, give them a chance to try it while they are young. It’s relatively inexpensive, and if they aren’t interested in a few months, you can move on to something else. If it is expensive, you could just force them to like it anyway. Builds character.

Teach your kid to be a good sport no matter whether they win or lose. Competition can be an important tool, but keep it in check.

If activities during the school year are too much to handle, consider summer camps or weekend excursions instead.

How to Prepare Your Child for Middle School

Middle school is when all that confidence built up in elementary school is put to the test. Between awkward growth patterns, puberty changes, bullies, acne, bras, and the “birds and the bees”, the goal of middle school is pure survival. No one escapes middle school without a few horror stories. No one. A few key tips and tricks can help navigate this phase a little easier, though.

Middle School Supplies

Chances are that your elementary student didn’t really need a planner, but middle school deadlines and class assignments can add up. This is a great time to introduce a planner and teach the importance of time management. Different classes, tight transitions, extracurricular activities, and lockers also require more supply organization than previous years.

Before shopping, check the class schedule for specific math tools, art accessories, or technology like USB drives students may need to provide.

Create an organized system with your student through a divided binder or separate notebooks for each class to keep notes and assignments organized.

Organization Tips for Junior High Students

Time to create solid organization habits. Middle school is a great time to teach your kiddo to get it together, things only get harder from here. They will need to keep schedules, deadlines, and responsibilities under control.

  • Teach priorities by organizing homework assignments by importance, and don’t save the longest ones for last.
  • Use incentives (aka bribes) to teach kids the rewards for staying on task, turning homework in on time, and getting stuff done on time.
  • Create a large family calendar that keeps everyone’s schedules and deadlines in one place. This shows your child that staying organized is a life skill they will use forever and it will keep you in check, too.

Knowledge and Readiness Skills Necessary for Junior High

Schools today expect students to do way more than I did in middle school. Staying on top of expectations can be a challenge, but most kids embrace the experience and thrive.

  • Middle school students should be able to independently research a topic and write a basic five-paragraph essay.
  • Memorization skills are used a lot in middle school. Teach your student to use mnemonics, flashcards, and memory games to help with homework.
  • Middle-schoolers should understand some intangible concepts like cause and effect, prediction, connections, and fairness.

Social/Behavioral Skills Necessary for Junior High

Bullying has become a national epidemic and middle school is the breeding ground.

Every kid has some experience with bullying whether it’s as a victim, witness, or the asshole– I mean, the perpetrator. The difference is in how it’s handled at school and talked about at home.

  • Watch for mood changes, loss of interest, or social seclusion in your student. This could be an indicator that they may have a bully problem.
  • Use volunteer opportunities to see how your child interacts with other kids at school.
  • Talk about bullying at home, keep the conversation open, learn who is who and what goes on outside the classroom.
  • Ensure your kiddo that you’re not going to fly off the handle if they confide in you. Knowing damn well you’re going to anyway and confront the bully/bully’s mom at PTA tomorrow.
  • First boyfriend/girlfriends can happen during middle school. Prepare yourself. I had my first boyfriend in middle school. He was blonde, confident, and played on varsity soccer with me. As difficult as it might be to talk to your kids about their love life – fully prepare yourself for how to emotionally and mentally deal with their first heartbreak. For me, it was listening to the same Usher CD on repeat until I broke it on my Walkman… To each their own.

Middle School Health and Wellness Concerns

Of course, eating healthy and getting enough sleep are important to maintain your child’s health, but middle school brings a whole host of other issues with it. Puberty, stress, and internet safety are all important aspects of ensuring your kids stay safe and healthy during these years.

  • Be sure to not only put restrictions on your home computer but talk to your kids about internet safety so they know exactly what to avoid. This includes chatting with strangers, pornography, and social media sharing.
  • Stay open and honest with your kids about body changes so they aren’t embarrassed to talk to you or ask questions. Even gross questions.
  • Look for indicators of stress in your child, and help them manage it in a healthy way.
  • Keep kids active and ensure healthy habits to avoid the onset of childhood obesity.
  • If your child wants to sleep excessively or eat more than normal, it could be a growth spurt. Watch their habits to see if they are growing or if a change in behavior could be an emotional issue as well.

Style and Fashion Tips for Middle-Schoolers

Middle school is all about confidence and fashion is a huge part of that. Let them strut their stuff by expressing themselves through their style and fashion. Your wallet may take a hit, but anything is better than blue hair, piercings, or any other rebellious tween things Evan Rachel Wood did.

If you have a budding diva on your hands, encourage and teach them to use minimal makeup rather than forbid it completely. Take your little beauty to Sephora, Ulta, or another mecca where they can learn how to apply clear mascara, light blush, and lip gloss correctly. That way, they don’t rebel and cake it on like an idiot as soon as they leave the house.

Encourage your tween to stay true to themselves and choose items that reflect their personality, not just things that are popular. Accessories are a great way to let them pump up their wardrobe without breaking your budget, too.

Extracurricular Opportunities Available to Middle School Students

By now, you’ll probably be able to tell what type of activities your child excels in and enjoys. Find opportunities for them to develop these skills. It’s never too early to start thinking about college opportunities and scholarships.

  • If your child finds a sport they love, maintain consistent practice by using community leagues or club teams wherever available.
  • Promote opportunities for excelled academic challenges.
  • If you have a tween who isn’t exactly athletic but isn’t a bookworm either, consider other non-traditional activities like painting, pottery, fencing, or kickboxing or other nerdy options.
  • If your child is not sure what they like or enjoy, consider service opportunities to teach them the importance of giving back.

How to Prepare Your Kid for High School

High school is the first taste of real life. This is when your grades really start to make a difference in your future, your extracurricular activities could evolve into scholarships and never-ending peer pressure can result in life-altering choices.

Throw in your first love, your first job, your second love, a few financial responsibilities, a heavy dose of homework and of course prom and you have a high school experience you’ll never forget.

Supplies Needed for High School

In high school, supplies get less specific and more expensive.

Makes total sense, I know.

At this point, most teachers expect students to organize themselves using whatever supplies they’d like, but there are some expensive requirements like scientific calculators and sometimes even a laptop or tablet.

Don’t go overboard on too many binders and notebooks. Often, simple is better in high school because it gives kids less to keep track of. Ask other parents of high schoolers what their kids needed, so you have time to budget for expensive items before August.

Look on Craigslist or Facebook to buy used calculators from previous students. Beware of Craigslist.

Organization Tips for High Schoolers

A disorganized high school student is a recipe for disaster.

They often have so many requirements from so many areas that it’s difficult to keep things straight.

  • If they can’t keep track of everything on their own, ask them to let you help them by using a large wall calendar in the kitchen or main area of the home to help them see what they need to be doing. Or set up a calendar app on their phone. It’s in their reach at all hours of the day anyway. Might as well make it useful.
  • Consider a weekly meeting to go over the schedule, deadlines, and reminders for the upcoming week. This can help kids compartmentalize what is most important.
  • Provide students a distraction-free space where they can focus on homework away from the television or family distractions.

Knowledge and Readiness Skills Necessary for High School

Every college your student applies to will look at their high school transcript, and it can make a huge difference in their academic future. Unfortunately, parents can’t force a teenager to do anything, but you can greatly influence academic success.

If your student can handle it, encourage AP or concurrent enrollment classes that give college credit, but be careful with these classes because the grades carry more weight than ordinary high school courses. Their first taste of high-stakes gambling, how exciting!

Keep tabs on the amount of homework your teen comes home with. Too much, (or too little), may indicate a problem of being either over-exerted or dropping the ball.

Social and Behavioral Skills Necessary for High School

 The best tool parents have against rebellious teenagers is the relationship they’ve hopefully spent the last several years building. Most teens seek love, acceptance, and support. If they find these at home, they are less likely to “cash you outside” or look for them in undesirable groups of friends.

Open up your home so you can see, meet, and interact with your teenager’s friends. It’s worth $50 in pizza for the peace of mind in knowing who they are hanging out with. And you get pizza. Win-win situation right there.

Take time to spend with your teen doing things they enjoy. Concerts, sporting events, shopping, or other activities can be a great way to talk about what’s going on at school.

Health Concerns for Your High Schooler

Maintaining emotional, physical, mental, and sexual health through high school can be tricky. It’s a lot more than taking your daily vitamin and washing your hands. High school is a battlefield and you need to be ready. Arm your kids with the tools they need to handle it.

  • Talk to your kids about drug use and alcohol. Set clear expectations so your child knows exactly what to do if they are approached with any type of illegal substance.
  • Be open and honest about sex. If they don’t feel like they can ask you about sex, they’ll ask their friends or the internet and if I were you, I’d much rather have control over the answers they are getting.
  • Find ways to talk about other issues like bullying, suicide, dating, stress, and take note of any substantial changes in mood or behavior.

High School Style and Fashion Tips

They say fashion is king in high school.

And Cher’s closet is his kingdom.

Even most private or charter schools forego uniforms by the time the kids reach high school.

In high school, what you wear to school says everything about who you are and what you’re about. However, it is important to balance what is popular and what is appropriate.

If your teen has a job, this is a good time to let them take responsibility for what they are wearing. If they insist on items or brands that you can’t afford, offer to split the cost with them.

Be sure you know the dress code of the school, so you know what is appropriate and what is not

Extracurricular Opportunities for High School Students

High school is where extracurricular activities really matter. To some colleges, your extracurriculars are just as important as your grades. High school is the time to focus on a passion or find a new interest.

  • Athletes have a full-time job maintaining practice schedules, games, tournaments, and school work at the same time. Be sure to strike a balance between downtime and study time so they don’t get overworked.
  • If your student is a natural leader or likes to work with people, consider student council. Maybe he could run for president? Of student council, not the country. He may actually have too much political experience at that point to become president.
  • Begin to align their extracurricular interests with college opportunities in your area, finding schools that cater to the type of programs they love, and possibly scholarship opportunities.

What You Need to Know to Prepare for College

Welcome to a whole new world, ladies and germs.

Some see college as the ultimate educational experience but let’s be honest, most see it as the ultimate party.

You can find exactly what you’re looking for regardless of the campus you’re attending. Finding the balance between roommates, relationships, life, class, and staying healthy and organized college is definitely the ultimate test.

School Supplies You Need for College

Supplies are no longer about notebooks and big pink erasers. Now, you will need to furnish an apartment, buy your own books, and head to the grocery store.

School supply shopping just got a lot more intense. Cue war paint montage.

Good news is there are more opportunities to purchase those overpriced books than when I went. Now you can afford more Milwaukee’s Best with those savings.

  • Begin budgeting before it’s time to shop. Before you hit college, it’s important to save as much as possible.
  • Use birthdays and Christmas of your senior year in high school as opportunities to help with things like bedding, computers, grocery gift cards, home furnishings, gas money, etc.
  • Don’t forget, in addition to living away from home and enjoying your freedom, you still are supposed to go to class. You’ll need all the basic school supplies like index cards, highlighters, binders, folders, etc.
  • If you didn’t have a laptop in high school, you’re definitely going to need one for college. Shop around to find the best deals.

Organization Tips for College Students

Staying organized in college is definitely a sink-or-swim situation. At this point, you don’t have a choice except to find a way to stay on top of everything, or at least try to keep your head above water.

  • Use a planner. Paper, electronic, doesn’t matter. But find a planner that works for you and stick to it. Don’t try to use one planner for school, another for work, and another for home and family. You will forget stuff all the damn time.
  • Stick to your guns. If you have a paper due tomorrow, you’re writing a paper today. Deal with it. No excuses and no procrastinating.
  • Better yet, use your planner to write down due dates a day or two ahead of when they are actually due.
  • Use the SelfControl app to silence and block distracting notifications and time-wasting websites during study time so you can be more productive.

Knowledge and Readiness Tips to Prepare You for College

If you got into college, you obviously have what it takes… at least the bare minimum. Now, it’s time to figure out what you want to do with the next four years. It’s time to get specific, focus on your goals, pick a major, and move forward.

  • The first few semesters will be filled with general requirements that everyone has to take. Use this time to choose a wide range of electives that will help you decide on a major.

Consider job shadowing to get an idea of possible career fields. Don’t be a 7-year college student like my friend Casey. She never felt happy with any of the majors she picked. College is fun, but it’s expensive. Like really expensive.

Most importantly, choose something you love. If you are genuinely interested in what you’re studying, you will be more likely to graduate and enjoy your career in the future.

Social and Behavioral Tips to Prepare You for College

College is kind of one big party and quite honestly, it should be. It’s a great time, despite the hellacious hangovers freshman year when you’re trying to figure out your tolerance.

However, be careful not to overdo it. I’m no saint, so I won’t preach, but I’ve learned the hard way to find a balance between work, school, and partying.

  • Know your limits and don’t overdo it. Whether it’s drinking, sex, or simply goofing off, don’t let it get out of control.
  • Don’t do it in a dorm. If any of your behavior is somewhat questionable, keep it off campus (and off Facebook).
  • Get involved in school groups, student council, greek life or clubs. These organizations promote both studying and partying while giving you some leadership experience for the resume.

Health and Wellness Concerns for College Students

From the Freshman 15 to sexually transmitted infections, college can bring its fair share of health concerns. Look into health insurance that is often offered through the school at exclusive rates for students and gives you access to instacare facilities anytime you need them.

  • Wash your hands and use antibacterial wipes on desks, tables, computers, and other communal surfaces. Trust me, getting a cold during finals week is not recommended.
  • Try to eat healthy. Well, decently healthy. Ramen noodles and fast food are cheap, but they won’t sustain you for all four years. I’m still struggling to follow with this tip to date.
  • According to the CDC, over half of the 20 million STI cases diagnosed each year are in college-age adults. If you are at risk, get tested and protect yourself. Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool.
  • If you experience any STI symptoms such as burning, itching, or lesions on the genital area (just to name a few), get tested. Most college health clinics offer free STI testing, including rapid HIV tests.
  • Get enough sleep. Seriously, this will keep you from getting sick and help you focus during class more than all the cups of coffee you can fit in a morning.

College Style and Fashion

Yes, you could go to class in your pajamas, but please don’t. We understand you don’t want to sit in class all day in your business attire.

Strike a happy medium. Gym shorts/yoga pants and a t-shirt. Done.

Don’t worry too much about being presentable, we’re all riding the same struggle bus.

Just get your shit at least somewhat together.

  • Invest in a good pair of shoes, college has a lot of walking involved and flip-flops aren’t going to cut it.
  • If possible, invest in a few good pieces that will last you throughout your college years like a nice blazer, a good pencil skirt, and a sturdy warm coat.
  • If you’re joining a sorority or fraternity, be sure to check out the wardrobe essentials for themed parties and events.
  • Stock up on t-shirts and sweaters at the bookstore and wear those colors proud!

Extracurricular Opportunities for College Students

There’s lots of opportunities to get involved in anything and everything you’re interested in.

Choose extracurricular activities carefully and pay special attention to those that may have tuition stipends, scholarships, or any type of payment associated with them. That’s the best way to have your cake and eat it, too.

  • If you didn’t get an athletic scholarship, consider intramural sports that can keep you actively involved.
  • Campus clubs are a great way to explore political, recreational, or religious opportunities.
  • Look for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like internships, study abroad programs, or humanitarian work available through your school.

Sixteen years of school is a long time to be unprepared and miserable.

From sticky beginnings to cap and gown endings, each step of the way brings new challenges.

At least now, you can confidently guide your clan through the wild knowing what to expect along the journey.

Got a good tip that I left out? Comment below to share!