If you're about to head off to college in the fall, let us say first and foremost: Congratulations! You are about to enter one of the most exciting chapters of your life, and best of all, you survived high school. Of course, there's a bittersweet element to all of this, especially if you and your hometown besties are going in different directions after the summer is over. You're going to have to say goodbye.
A little bit of harsh reality here: As much as you swear and promise and make pacts that things will never change, life tends to have other plans when you head off to college. (But don't feel too discouraged, plenty of pals stay friends for life, no matter how much distance is between them.) That's exactly why you have to make this the best summer ever, packed with new memories with old friends.
So grab your best pals, jump in the car ... and stay local. Your hometown may have been the bane of your existence during your non-driving years, but trust us, you'll come to love it in a profound way once your gone.
We've come up with nine things you simply must do with your hometown buddies before you all pack your bags and head to your new home — the dorm — in a few short weeks.
Grab a Bite At Your Place
Whether you've spent countless hours driving the waitstaff crazy at a 24-hour diner (hey, one plate of fries and four coffees is a meal) or you have a standing date for Fribbles at the same Friendly's with the same gang since the 3rd grade, you definitely have to have one last hurrah at your place. You already have a million memories there, so you might as well have one more ... with extra ketchup.
Plan a Greatest-Hits Tour
Just like your favorite restaurant, you guys probably had a favorite movie theater, bowling alley, or parking lot to idle away in. There's a reason why you always wound up at those spots, so take a literal trip down memory lane and enjoy those places one last time.
Have a Good Old-Fashioned Sleepover
Go to the friend's house with the best basement (and preferably the house with a pool so that you can have a pool party/sleepover party extravaganza), stock up on snacks (preferably all your favorite local treats — hello, Wawa!), pop in all the movies you guys watched growing up, and spend the night gabbing away.
Go Shopping Together for College Stuff
You probably spent a sizable amount of your youth at the mall with your hometown pals, so make another excursion with them to get all the things you need for your dorm. Nobody knows your taste better than them, and when you bring all your new bedspreads and laptop bags and framed posters to college, you'll be reminded of them and your shopping trip.
Learn Your Town's History Together
We know, you just got out of school and you're going to be right back in school in a few weeks, but like reading for pleasure, learning for pleasure is ... well, pleasurable. You and your hometown pals can learn all about your roots and take pride in the place that brought your all together. You'll be glad to have some fun facts about your town up your sleeve when no one has heard of it at college.
Start a Scrapbook (Not a facebook album)
There's a line in the Avenue Q song "I Wish I Could Go Back to College" in which a character cries, "I wish I had taken more pictures." Trust us when we tell you — that applies to high school, too. And we don't just mean selfies or pics of you and your pals making goofy faces. Take pictures of all your favorite people, places, and things from your hometown and put them in a book you can take with you. When you get homesick for all of them in college, they'll definitely come in handy.
Do All The Things You'd Swear You Do, But Never Got Around To
Have you been talking about checking out that indie movie house or visiting that museum for ages, but somehow never got around to it? Now's the time! In fact, set aside one day a week for the rest of the summer to make some new memories at some new places.
Spend Some Time With the People who Brought You All Together
Parents and teachers may drive you crazy sometimes, but there's a good chance they're the reason you were able to spend so much time with your hometown pals in the first place. Pay a visit to the grown-ups who gave you all your childhood friends. Your life would have been totally different without them.
Plan a Weekend Adventure...or Three...or Eleven
Alright, alright, we know we've been encouraging you to stay local and hang at your old stomping grounds, but you definitely have to fit in a couple of summer trips with your hometown buddies. Whether it's the amusement park you went to for birthdays growing up or the closest beach, you've definitely got to take a few road trips with the gang before you hit the road for good in the fall. Oh, and don't forget to listen to this song on repeat.