10 “Adult” Things Every Student Has To Know How To Do Before College

If you’re gearing up for your freshman year of college, congratulations! You’re about to embark on the first phase of being an adult in the ~real world.~ This is both exciting and intimidating, for good reason – college can be a little scary sometimes, especially if you haven’t properly prepared for it. Now, don’t get me wrong, college is still very much more comfortable than actually getting a full time job and really entering the real world, but it can still be tough. If you’re used to being coddled and getting help with everything, you might struggle through your years there, especially if you’re living away from home. Don’t freak out, though! Just take some time to learn these adult things before the semester starts.

Right about now, you’re probably spending every moment of your time preparing for school in a different way – hanging with your best friends as much as possible, relaxing and sleeping late, buying fun stuff to decorate your dorm room with, getting your shiny new school supplies, maybe trying to make the most of your last moments with your high school crush or significant other. That’s all really important, but unfortunately, you also need to think about the practical side of things. Knowing how to do the below tasks will make your years in college a lot easier and less stressful, and make the years after college ends less jarring. Here are some “adult” things you have to know how to do before school starts – you won’t regret learning them!

How To Manage Your Time

College can get really busy, really fast. This is true whether you're a student who joined a lot of clubs or made a lot of friends, or if you're a student working part or full time while taking a full course schedule. The toughest thing about dealing with this busy schedule is that you are held completely accountable. No one is by your side, making sure assignments get handed in on time, or that you're reminded of when a test is. No one is helping you, guiding you, or accepting your lame excuses.

Sometimes, professors give out a syllabus in the beginning of the semester and never remind you about deadlines or exams - you have to remember on your own. Sometimes professors don't even know who you are! You are totally responsible for managing your time, and you need to get used to doing that and being more organized before your first semester starts. Get a planner, make a bullet journal, start creating to-do lists to get into that habit, write things down on a calendar, make a study schedule - it's a lot of work, but learning how to do this is life saving.

How To Speak Up For Yourself With Professors

Again, another reminder that no one is holding your hand through college. If there's an issue in class, you have to speak to the professor or someone above them - they will not care what your parents have to say if they even accept a phone call or visit from them. You have to learn to speak for yourself and to talk to authority figures without the help of a parent or another teacher. This can be really tough for anyone who is shy or introverted - I'm shy, and it was so hard for me to talk to professors in the beginning. Get used to this new role by speaking up for yourself now.

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Basic Cleaning Tips

If you're living at school, you have to learn some basic cleaning tips and tricks. Dorm rooms are gross, mainly because students don't clean them at all - or they just clean the surface of them. Your mom isn't going to come in and clean, and you definitely won't have a maid - and relying on your roomie is totally unfair. Learn some cleaning basics, like how to properly vacuum, when certain things should be thrown out, how to dust and make your bed, and especially how to keep your bathroom (if you have one in your dorm) clean. If you ignore the toilet and shower, there will be gross germs everywhere.

Source: iStock

How To Back Up and Fix Your Computer

It's 2017, which means you'll be using your laptop for almost everything you do in college. Unfortunately, chances are good that, at some point, your computer will crash or freak out and do something horrible. Most colleges have a tech team that can help you, and of course you can always call the company who makes your computer, but it will be super helpful for you to know how to do certain things as well. Learn how to back up your files and do it often. Have someone teach you how to fix little things, like if it freezes or won't turn on, or how to make it right if you spill something on it. Of course, bigger problems should be left to the professionals, but basic computer tech skills definitely won't hurt.

Source: iStock

Everything There Is To Know About Laundry

If you're an incoming college freshman, you're probably exhausted even hearing the word "laundry." But it's true - you have to learn everything there is to know about taking care of your clothes. Don't be like so many other students, who wear dirty clothes as long as they can until they have to lug them back to their parents' home to do laundry for three days. Just learn how to do it!

Washing clothes really isn't as hard as it seems, and it's a life skill you'll need at some point, even if it's not right now. Learn how to separate your colors, how to know when something shouldn't go in the dryer, and how to get stains out quickly. Have someone teach you how to iron or steam out wrinkles, learn how to properly fold (seriously! This helps with space), and get a guide for what all those laundry symbols mean.

Source: iStock

Basic Cooking Skills

Whether you're living in a dorm room, off-campus apartment, or at home, you should learn some basic cooking skills for college. It's just good to know in general, especially if you're living at school - relying on cafeteria food all the time is unhealthy and expensive (even if you have a meal plan). Plus, you start to miss homemade food after a while. You don't need to become a master chef, but you should learn the basics. If you're living in a dorm, learn how to make sandwiches, coffee, the easy things that can be done in the space you have. If you have the luxury of kitchen space, learn slightly more complicated things, like making pasta sauce or something.

Source: iStock

How To Make Your Own Decisions

It might sound corny, but you have to learn how to make decisions quickly, and on your own. College is about independence, and if you've been dependent on your family or a significant other, you have to learn how to move away from that. The next time you have to decide something, don't automatically ask others for advice or their opinion - just decide on your own. You'll need to do this more than you think.

Source: iStock

Medication Basics

Colleges have nurses and medical professionals on hand, but you should still be aware of the basics of medication. Know what to take when you have a cold and you're congested versus what to take when you have stomach pain. Learn which medications can't be mixed together. If you take special medication, make sure you know everything about it. And it also doesn't hurt to know some basic first aid, like how to clean and bandage a cut, how to soothe a burn, and how to know if something needs serious medical attention. If you like to go to parties, know how to help a hangover or what to do if a friend drinks too much. Of course, you should always go to a medical professional for important things, but knowing the basics will save you some hassle.

Source: iStock

Simple Car Repair Skills

Bringing your car with you to college? Commuting? Either way, you better know some basic car repair skills. Learn how to change your tire if it goes flat, and always keep a spare in your trunk. Learn what to do if your car stalls or breaks down. Figure out how to re-start it if it's an old clunker. Little things like this could be life saving! I can't tell you how many times I had to make my dad to come to my school (I commuted) to help with stupid car stuff - if I knew how to do it myself, it would have saved us both a lot of time.

Source: iStock

How To Save and Budget Money

I'm sure you hear this a lot, but seriously: you need to get a better grasp of your money situation. Yes, even if your parents are paying for everything! Learn how to save your money, especially if you're working as well as going to class. Learn how to budget, too, even if you aren't the one paying for things. This is a skill that will help you for your whole life, and it's just as important when you're in college.

Source: iStock

Which one of these life skills have you already learned? What did we forget to add? Share in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.


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