Are you getting ready to move out on your own for the first time? Before you start thinking about how you’re going to decorate your new bedroom, consider if you know these important life skills for young adults first.
Moving into your first apartment is a truly exciting time. You might already be thinking about how you plan to decorate your bedroom or the dinner parties you will host for your friends. However, there are a few essential life skills that you may have never learned (but need to know) before you move out.
I was truly shocked by how few of my friends actually knew these life skills for college students. Some of them I knew before I moved out, but a lot of them I learned from mistakes (so you don’t have to).
Hopefully, by learning some of these helpful life skills, you won’t feel like you need to call your parents for every little question that comes up.
This post is all about the important life skills for college students to ACTUALLY know (that aren’t taught in school)
Essential Life Skills For College Students
Home Care Life Skills
- How to keep your apartment/space clean: having a schedule for your routine cleaning will help your apartment stay tidy without feeling overwhelming. This schedule should include washing your sheets, vacuuming, scrubbing your shower, and other essential cleaning tasks.
- How to do laundry: Start reading the labels on your clothes, separate clothes by like colors (or at least use a color catcher), and adjust your washer’s settings as needed.
- How to grocery shop: learning how to plan your meals and make a grocery list will save you a ton of time and money
- How to cook at least a few meals: having a few go-to meals that you have mastered will make the days you don’t feel like cooking a lot easier.
- How to sew: Now that you have bills to pay, you likely won’t want to throw away clothes anytime you get a small hole or a button pops off. This is such an easy life skill for college students to learn.
- How to iron clothes: let’s be real this isn’t something you will be doing every day. But you’ll be glad you know how to do it when you have an interview and you need to dress to impress.
- How to make a bed: this makes your space feel so much better and it takes a few seconds to do it each day.
- How to organize your small space: your first apartment probably won’t have a ton of space. Knowing how to organize will maximize the space you DO have and help you feel a lot more put together.
- How to do basic home maintenance: even if your apartment has maintenance people. It’s important to know how to change a light bulb, how to replace your smoke detector battery, and even how to unclog a drain.
Car Care Skills
- How to check your oil: Grab a napkin or old rag, locate the oil dipstick, pull it out and wipe it off, put it back in the slot all the way then pull it out one more time to check the level.
- How to basically maintain your car: This includes tracking when you’re due for an oil change and tire rotation, checking tire pressure, and listening to the warnings your car is giving you
- How to change your windshield wipers: How you change them is different from car to car (so is the size) but it can be easily found on YouTube if you look up “how to change windshield wipers on ____(your make, model, and year of car)”
- How to change a tire: Sometimes roadside assistance is expensive or takes a long time. Knowing how to change a tire (and making sure you have everything needed) is an essential life skill for college students.
- How to jumpstart a car: Again, sometimes people don’t have roadside assistance. In addition to knowing HOW to jumpstart a car, you should also have your own set of jumper cables. (I love this emergency car kit that has everything you need)
- How to register your car: Every state has different requirements for registering your car. Make sure you have all the documents you need as well as the fees to be paid.
- How to get car insurance: There are so many options for car insurance it can be overwhelming. Knowing how much coverage you want and the discounts you’re eligible for will help make your search easier.
Life and Money Management Life Skills
- How to create and stick to a budget: You’re now in charge of your own finances. If keeping track of when your bills are due in your head is too stressful, learn about budgeting.
- How to write a check: You might not need to do this a lot, but it’s important to at least know how.
- How to read a lease and other legal documents: There are legally binding and should be read all the way through. Don’t sign something you haven’t read or don’t understand.
- How to check your credit score: In addition to the free reports you can request once a year, you can check with resources like Credit Karma for a general idea.
- How to find your first apartment: As a former leasing agent, I share all my best tips and secrets in this post. Plus there is a free guide you can get too!
- How to set up and pay bills: Determine if you want automatic payments or if you want to do it yourself every time. Track what bills you have and when they are due (see creating a budget).
- How to set up your utility bills: Each time you move, you need to set up new utility bills/accounts. Unless your college apartment complex handles this for you, it is your responsibility to figure out.
- How to use credit cards responsibly: never use credit cards as a means to spend carelessly on whatever you want. The goal is to pay off the balance in full each month. My rule of thumb, if you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it.
- How (and when) to file taxes: If you are working, you will likely need to file taxes. This is a huge stressor for a bunch of people. TurboTax makes it really easy to learn how to file, but I would recommend consulting someone if you’re not sure.
- How to manage your time well: you will no longer have a parent telling you where to go and when to be there. You will have to learn to manage your schedule so you are on time and don’t forget about obligations you have.
- How to stay healthy and take care of yourself: This may be the first time you don’t have someone looking after you. Beyond avoiding the freshman 15, you’ll want to know how to stay healthy.
- How to live with roommates: Even if you’ve shared a room with siblings before. There is nothing that prepares you for the insanity of living with roommates.
- How to handle conflict: While living with roommates, you will probably come across some conflict. Don’t lock yourself in your room and pretend there isn’t an issue. Addressing the conflict is an important life skill for young adults to learn.
- How to write professional emails: the amount of emails you send as a young adult may shock you. The last thing you want is to appear disrespectful while communicating with the person on the receiving end.
- How to maintain good hygiene: This might seem like a “duh” but you’d be surprised! I know a few people who don’t shower or brush their teeth regularly. Don’t be one of those people.
This may seem like a daunting list of life skills for college students. But, I’m sure you already know how to do some of them. Others, you will develop overtime. Start by picking just a few and perfecting them first.
This post shared some essential life skills for college students to learn before they move out on their own.
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