If you have just graduated, we are guessing that homework is the last thing on your mind. But, if you’re preparing for college, a trade school, a gap year, or moving out on your own, it’s good to be prepared. Considering skills and ideas that will prepare you for life as a young adult are crucial to being more independent. So although you may not want to study anything else, you can do yourself a favor and enlist help from friends, family, and mentors to get ahead of the game! Here are some of our best ideas:
- Car Care: If your dad or another family member are especially good at repairing or working on cars, ask them to show you some of the basics. Changing a tire, checking your oil, and knowing how to measure for wiper blades, tire sizes, or finding car parts online are invaluable skills that you’ll use over and over. Be sure to check over your own car at the same time and be sure you have emergency supplies like flares, emergency blanket, jumper cables, and a spare tire (donut).
- Financial literacy: You may not have a ton of money during your first year of college, but no matter what your income level is, it’s important tot know how to manage your own finances. If you have a person in your life who is good with finances, ask them to teach you some of the following skills: Balancing a checkbook (these days, we all use debit cards so you can amend this skill to balancing expenses), paying online bills on auto-pay, how to invest and save money, how to apply or use a credit card responsibly, and what to do if your identity or wallet gets stolen.
- Shopping around: One skill that you’ll use throughout your life is negotiation and price comparison. Some examples of this include: health insurance, car insurance, cell phone bill, buying a car or a home, or making payments on a payment plan. It’s very important that you understand how to get the best deal and the coverage you need when searching for things like insurance. Learn how to price compare and what to say when you are negotiating over the phone. There are some good tips and phrases on this website.
- Laundry and dry cleaning: Caring for clothes (even if you are just wearing inexpensive clothes from Target) will help you stretch your dollar and stay stylish at the same time. Ask your mom (or person who does your laundry if you don’t do it yourself) to show you what the care labels mean on the tags inside your sweaters, dresses, etc. Learn how to find and use a professional dry cleaner and tailor, and when you might need to use them.
- Cooking: The infamous freshman weight gain often happens due to a combination of stress, a big life change, and often-unhealthy foods because they are the simplest to cook. Ramen, Mac and Cheese, and canned soups and meals are often really high in salt/sodium and can leave you feeling yucky. Learning to cook from fresh, whole foods when you can (or choosing fresh whole foods in the college meal centers) can make a tremendous difference in your energy and your health! If you know anyone who is a great cook, consider asking them to give you a few healthy recipes that you can perfect over the summer. Learn how to modify them for a microwave or hot plate (usually these are the items available to you in the dorm rooms).
We talk about life skills quite a bit here on the blog, because they are so important! Heading off to college can feel like a big shock, and preparing the best you can helps make the transition exciting instead of overwhelming!