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June 25, 2011

A Word of Advice: Take care of yourself while going to college

It's finally here ... summertime! I have been waiting all of my whole high school year for the day I can say, "I am no longer in high school." In seven odd weeks, I will be on my way to Plattsburgh for college, where I will pursue a major in magazine journalism.

It does not feel real; I feel like I am in a dream. I am excited yet nervous for this completely new lifestyle. The thought of being on my own gives me a thrill, and at the same time a stomach-turning feeling. I will no longer have "mommy" to cook me food or do my laundry. She won't be able to remind me to take my allergy medicine, to turn in papers to the school or to make us a good dinner.

Being teenagers, we tend to expect a lot from our parents. We get handed things without even saying "thank you" and are always taking things for granted. Like generations before us, we will come to find when we're on our own that we should have appreciated our parents a lot more then we did.

Not many kids like performing chores for the household, but in the long run it will pay off. Knowing how to perform simple tasks such as laundry, cooking dinner, changing your sheets, etc., will benefit you when you head off to college. You will have to rely on YOU to remember to do your homework, clean up after yourself and to be responsible, in general. Your mom won't be there to remind you to wash your clothes, so if you "forget" or are too lazy, YOU will be the one without clean clothes.

Being away from your parents not only makes you learn responsibility, with cleaning and such, but should guide you to be more healthy.

A concern many teens find going off to college is the often-cited "Freshmen 15." Leaving mom's fresh, homemade cooking, to having a buffet at any time of the day will definitely raise your appetite. Being able to eat whatever you want, whenever, will make it hard to fight your temptations.

A very easy fix to staying healthy is staying active. Make it a point to go to the campus gym often with a friend. All gyms have their peak hours, so create a schedule that works best for you to avoid a crowd. A simple walk will not only invigorate you but will also keep your cardio system in tune.

Something you may not be looking forward too, yet may be necessary, is finding a job.

Some may have college covered, but for the rest of us, we need to have some sort of steady pay coming in for spending money.

There are many events that go on right at your college campus, so having some extra cash wouldn't hurt. There are plenty of jobs you can find right on campus or you can make the daily commute somewhere in town.

No matter what your major is or where you go to college, with it comes responsibility. Learn early on to clean up and to take care of yourself. As I am learning now... Mom isn't always going to be there.

Make smart decisions and stay safe!

Melissa Flathmann is a senior at Oneonta High School. Would you like A Word of Advice from her? Send her an e-mail at or send her a letter to "Teen Talk: A Word of Advice," C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at

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