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Savoring the Summer: Embracing Growth, Balance, and Mindfulness Before College

Senior College Counselor Bradford Harris discusses the importance of balancing fun and preparation while cultivating healthy physical, emotional, and mental habits during the pre-college summer.

The summer before college presents an incredible opportunity not only to make memories that will last a lifetime but for personal growth and development. As the anticipation of starting college builds, it's crucial to find the right balance between relaxation and preparation. This means embracing the freedom of summer while also engaging in activities that will set you up for success in college.

Create a summer reading list filled with thought-provoking books and articles that will broaden your horizons and prepare you for the academic rigors ahead.

Reading—in the sunshine with your feet in the warm sand, next to a window on a stormy afternoon, or at the bus station while you wait to be whisked off to a show in the city—can be one of the most satisfying of all human activities. Dedicating time over the summer to reading will not only help sharpen your critical thinking skills but also provide you with valuable insights and perspectives so you can hit the ground running among your new classmates in the fall.

Amidst the excitement of pre-college adventures, it's also essential to establish a healthy routine that encompasses exercise, sleep, and time management.

Developing these habits before college will make the transition to a more independent way of life smoother and help you maintain your physical and mental health once you're on campus. Exercise and sleep are crucial for mental and physical well-being, while effective time management will enable you to balance your academic workload, extracurricular activities, and social life.

In addition to cultivating healthy habits, it's equally important to develop mindfulness and emotional resilience before embarking on your college journey.

College life can be filled with challenges and stressors, but practicing mindfulness and building emotional resilience can help you navigate these obstacles with grace and poise. To foster mindfulness, consider incorporating meditation, yoga, journaling, sunrise strolls while listening to a podcast, check-ins with a family member or friend, or other stress-reducing practices into your daily routine. These habitual activities can help you stay grounded and focused amidst the inevitable whirlwind of college life to come.

Emotional resilience can also be strengthened through self-reflection and self-compassion.  Take the time to reflect on your personal growth throughout high school and acknowledge the progress you've made. Recognize that setbacks and challenges are part of life and that you have the strength to overcome them. By cultivating emotional resilience, you'll be better equipped to handle the highs and lows of life away from home.

The summer before college is a very special time, representing both an ending as well as the beginning of formative phases of your life. It's crucial to strike a balance between fun and preparation so that you honor the joy of childhood and solidify the confidence of your emerging adulthood. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, so savor every moment!