15 Random Life Skills You Need To Have Before Starting College

I’m going to let you in on something: Everyone always talks about how you need to have ace study habits for college, but what they forget to mention is that you need to know some important life skills, too. You don’t want to get to your doom room on orientation day and realize that you have to learn a whole bunch of random things on top of your course work.

Even the most independent high schoolers still had their parents to rely on for a lot of things. But in college, you’re out in the big, wide open world alone. And it’s during this time that you start adulting. And adulting basically means getting stuff done without leaving it for your parents to do it. And that requires some skills.

Don’t panic because none of the skills are that major or difficult. I know you can definitely do them all. And I’m sure a lot of them are things you already do. I thought I’d share them now to give you a heads up before you’re off at school. Take a look at 15 random life skills you’ll need for college.

1. How to properly budget.



This just might be as important as studying properly. No one wants to go broke three months into school and spend the rest of time living on noodles packages with condiments stolen from the cafeteria.


2. How to change a light bulb.

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This might seem super basic, but it’s something you need to know because a) You don’t want to electrocute yourself and b) You don’t want the light bulb to come crashing down.


3. How to do laundry.

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Alas, mom and dad aren’t around anymore to do your laundry so you’re on your own. Practice doing laundry at home before you go away to school because you want to ensure that your clothes actually come clean. Furthermore, you don’t want to be the person who floods the dorm with soapy bubbles.


4. How to perform CPR.

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It’s a good idea to know CPR for any situation, but it’s especially helpful in college. Have a look during orientation and throughout the school year because a lot of colleges offer free first aid courses.


5. How to understand a rental contract.

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If you’re living off-campus, then you better know all of the rental lingo. You should also understand your rights and your landlord’s rights. If you’re living in a dorm, you’ll still want to know the 411 because that dorm comes with a contract, too.


6. How to unclog a toilet.

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If only dorms had maids, but, alas, they do not. So it’s going to be up to you to clean up any messes. And sometimes you might even have to clean up someone else’s. Get ready.


7. How to sew on a button.

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I’m not asking you to sew a blouse. I’m asking you to sew on a button. You don’t want to be the crazy person who goes to a tailor and pays $10 for someone to spend a minute sewing a button back on your shirt.


8. How to protect yourself.

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I don’t want to scare anyone, but it’s always better to be safe and be prepared. Self defense classes are often free and a lot of schools offer them to students. Take advantage. It’s one of the best skills you can learn during orientation.


9. How to store food properly.

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The last thing you want is to spend all of your hard-earned money on food and have it spoil. Some people are big on freezing so make sure you’re doing it right, and you’re putting things in the freezer that won’t taste disgusting when they’re thawed.


10. How to turn the water off.

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I’m not talking about simply turning off a faucet. I’m talking about turning the water for your college house off. You will be very glad you know how to do it when that sink and/or toilet is about to overflow and you come in and save the day.


11. How to say no.



You’re the one making the decisions for yourself, and you’re not going to be saying yes 100 percent of the time. Therefore, it’s key that you’re confident saying no and that you don’t feel pressured into changing your answer.


12. How to iron.

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You might not think that you’ll need to iron, but you will at some point. And chances are it will be for something big like a presentation or an internship interview. And you don’t want to show up with a wrinkled blouse and/or one with burn marks on it.


13. How to make pasta.

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Pasta is a go-to college food because it’s inexpensive, filling, and you make it very quickly. Therefore, work on getting that al dente perfection while you’re at home so you don’t have to stress about cooking when you have school work to do.


14. How to jump a car.

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This is key if you’re taking a car to school. It’s smart to always have a car service on speed dial, but you never know where you could be when things break down. And you never know how long you’re going to have to wait.


15. How to cook eggs.

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Scrambled, hard boiled, poached, soft boiled. There are so many different ways to cook eggs and they all don’t take very long. Eggs are also affordable and healthy which makes them a brilliant college food.


What other life skills do you think you should know before starting college? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Heather Cichowski, on Twitter.


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