guide before college

A High School Senior Girl's Guide to the Summer Before College

AKA the best summer ever.


As I sit here in my college dorm looking at the 4x4 pictures I taped to my desk in front of my bed, I reminisce. A summer full of ridiculous experiences, many late nights, friends' houses we got to know like our own, and a wide array of "firsts", I can't help but look back on these past few months and hope that my college experience can be just as memorable. So to all my seniors out there - go into these last few months in your hometown with an open mindset and be ready for some unforgettable adventures.

Make new friends

Maggie Lyons

The great thing about the summer after high school is that everyone treats it as the last hoorah. Separated groups mesh together, old friends reach out, new friends become best friends, and somehow a car ride with one person can turn into picking up five more for a very memorable trip to the grocery store. Being open to meeting new people is essential. So don't be scared to introduce one best friend to another - the result may very well be a new group of girlfriends always up for a new adventure. People I never thought I would talk to in high school somehow became people I cannot wait to visit in college. So take advantage of the freedoms and opportunities you have!

...but keep the old

Maggie Lyons

As exciting as it is to use this time to make a bunch of new besties, you should not get too caught up in finding a new group if you have a solid one already. The people who stuck by you through it all - college applications, (many) unmotivated trips to the gym, even the nights you could just use a friend to talk to - are the ones you need to keep with you. Do not lose sight of those who, arguably, know you better than you know yourself... people like that are few and far between.

Create a bucket list

Maggie Lyons

My best friends and I created a running list of things we have always wanted to do to take advantage of this summer. Abandoned places to explore in CT, aesthetic places to eat, trips to the city, sleepover ideas, matching friendship bracelets... the list goes on. Have some ideas in mind so there is never (for the most part) a boring day.

Be (extra!) adventurous

Maggie Lyons

Being young is all about being up for anything (well, most things) at all times. Nothing should be predictable - as a wise person once said.. predictability is boring! Some of my best memories include late night bowling trips and meeting up with a bunch of friends on the beach at midnight after graduation. There should never be a dull moment!

Take a TON of pictures (& videos)

Maggie Lyons

Like any other fun time in your life, you are going to want pictures and funny Snapchat memories to look back on later. My best friend made sure to take videos of different fun things we did throughout the months of June to August, and created one big summer video. To this day, I still watch it and laugh when I miss my friends back at home.

Create a "Summer *insert year*" Spotify playlist

Maggie Lyons

Songs define different times in my life - thats why I separate playlists by month, and then consolidate by season. Different seasons give off different vibes, and so do the songs you listen to while driving or hanging with your friends. If you are not one for creating playlists, you should try it! Just continue to add songs you want to get to know better, or songs you really like so that they are accessible to you at all times. Winnebago by Gryffin ft. Quin XCII is, to this day, my Summer 2018 song.

Set aside time for self care

Maggie Lyons

After June ended, I came to a realization; I was not putting enough time aside to take care of myself. I was going to bed late and waking up early, not keeping my room organized the way I like it, and I ditched my nightly routine that kept me going through the stresses of senior year. So I made sure to create a healthier balance of social time with me time. Coming home a half hour earlier than planned, or skipping a McDonald's run once in a while won't kill you.

Explore your hometown

Maggie Lyons

One thing I did a lot of this summer...driving. At times, I felt like I practically lived in my car. Ironically, most of the time I was driving, I had no destination at all. Picking up friends for a drive became more regular than actually inviting people over. I covered a lot of surface area and found new spots in town I did not know even existed. This is the perfect time to get to know your hometown really well.

Get ahead on college to-do's

Maggie Lyons

Sure, you accomplished all the lengthy application work during your first semester before the plague of senioritis hit you. But, beware - receiving an acceptance letter is only the beginning of an entirely new to-do list. Immunization forms, orientation sign ups, email setups, online courses, roommate searching, transportation booking, and (of course) dorm shopping are things you need to stay on top of. Setting aside times to complete these mandatory forms will keep you from getting overwhelmed and stressed about college instead of excited. Oh and as far as dorm shopping goes, Amazon Prime will be your best friend - it certainly was mine!

Make room for family time

Maggie Lyons

Think about it - this could very likely be the last couple months you live at home full time. So make some time for the people who will miss you the most. The one thing I regret sometimes is not putting quite enough time aside for a night in with my parents. So coming from the girl who wanted to spend every waking moment with her friends...make time for the family!

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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