Ah, the end of the year is nigh — the time for eating your weight in gingerbread houses and making bad rationalizations at midnight like, “I can eat a few more gumdrops, I haven’t eaten anything since last year.” (Yeah, we’ve all made those jokes — don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

In between sweets and snowmen, however, now is a good time to make new resolutions and goals as you prepare for the transition to college.

Here are a few resolutions that will help with that transition, whether you're just starting high school or getting ready to pack your bags for college.

RESOLUTION 1: "I'LL CHECK OUT MY OPTIONS."

If you’re a junior, sophomore, or even a ninth grader, resolve to start browsing through some college catalogs and websites. It’s never too soon to get excited about your future. I’m a plan-aholic, so I started touring colleges my first year of high school. I’m glad I did. Taking time to sort through the mountain of information pamphlets and go on a few tours helped me realize that the college I had planned on going to was not at all what I wanted. I ultimately found that UNC’s campus community felt more right for me than the other schools I had toured. It's different for everyone.

RESOLUTION 2: "I'LL MEET ALL THE EARLY BIRD DEADLINES."

Applying for college consists of endless forms to fill, essays to write and deadlines to meet. It can be overwhelming at first, but doing each piece on time really helps ease you into the idea of going to college. If you stay on track, you’ll have time to ask questions and make calls. Sometimes making those calls is the difference between getting a scholarship or another loan.

RESOLUTION 3: "I'LL GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO FREAK OUT."

Change is a big deal, and as you jump into this completely new college-search environment, you will learn quite a bit about your fight-or-flight tendencies. Here’s a piece of advice I have to remind myself of constantly: You don’t have to have it all together right now. College is a huge arrow, and you get to decide where it points, what color it is, what it says and what it’s made of. This is an opportunity to reinvent yourself or solidify the old you. So yeah, it can be scary, and yeah, I 100 percent freaked out up until (and even part way through) my first year. Change is one of life’s only constants. So hold on tight, because this is without a doubt the best roller coaster you’ll ever have the pleasure of puking on.

RESOLUTION 4: "I'LL ENDEAVOR TO DO GREAT THINGS."    

The colleges you are looking into are also looking into you! Ask yourself what makes you special. How do you stand out? Use what precious time you have left in high school to find out what you love and make it yours. The years before college are a time to explore what you like, who you are and where you’re headed. Join clubs, volunteer, become an intern, take a community class, play a sport. Do what makes you you. Greatness comes in many forms — leading a country, creating a work of art, adopting a homeless animal. You are going to spend the next several years of your life learning and perfecting your passion, so why not choose something that, to you, is great?


SHAYNA DIX

is a junior majoring in Elementary Education at UNC. She’s working toward her licensure to work in a third-grade classroom. In the meantime, she is studying leadership in the President’s Leadership Program and working with the Bear Hug Club and the Ambassadors for Student Leadership Club. She’s forgotten the meaning of "free time."