6 Skills To Master Before You Go To College
Here’s a stat that will blow your mind: in 1975, 45 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds had experienced all four of these major life milestones: They had lived away from parents, been married, lived with a child and been in the labor force. In 2016, only 24 percent could claim the same.
This shift may help explain why many of today’s college students haven’t needed to learn some of the skills that their parents or grandparents did at the same age.
But you can never be too prepared, and that’s why we’ve put together this list of things you’ll want to learn before you head off to college. So, ask your parents, watch a Home Depot how-to video, read the car manual or role-play with a friend. Although some of these skills may seem unnecessary now, you’ll be surprised how much your world can change when you’re ushered into the independence of adulthood.
1. Take care of your clothes
Learn how to sort clothes for the washer, determine the right amount of detergent and fabric softener, and choose the right temperature for the dryer. You’ll also want to know which clothes should be dry-cleaned and how to choose a setting to iron clothes based on their fabrics. While you’re at it, pick up a few tips on stitching a tear, patching a hole and sewing on buttons.
2. Learn some cooking basics
You can’t live on pizza and ramen noodles.Although you’ll probably have a meal plan, at least learn some cooking essentials. Make sure you can boil an egg, make spaghetti, brew coffee and cook a grilled cheese sandwich.
3. Advocate for yourself
No one is going to advocate for you when you’ve been wronged, need mental health or medical care, or are falling behind in a class. Learn to ask for help, take responsibility for your actions and wellness, and say “no” respectfully.
4. Do basic car maintenance
Even if you’re not taking a vehicle to college, you may end up renting one for spring break or catching a ride with a friend. Take some lessons from someone who knows how to change a tire, put gas in the car, check the air in the tires, add antifreeze and windshield fluid, and check (and add) the oil.
5. Dine like an adult
You don’t need a full-on Miss Manners class, but brush up on things like which silverware to use, where to put your napkin and how to calculate a tip.
6. Do basic maintenance
Although you probably won’t need to do any actual repairs when you live in a dorm, you’ll no doubt need to use a tape measure to determine what will fit where, change a light bulb, replace batteries and maybe plunge a toilet if you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to only share a bathroom with one or two people.
Even if you don’t need all these skills in college, we guarantee you’ll need them later in life. And as a bonus, you’ll impress your friends with your superior “adulting!”