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Basic Life Skills You Should Know

Basic Life Skills You Should Know

It’s slightly alarming how many students leave the nest without the most basic knowledge of day-to-day life because they've always relied on parents to take care of things.

Elizabeth Hoyt

June 30, 2015

There are some skills in life that everyone seems to just know. But, at what point did they learn how to do that?

Trust us, you’re not alone – obviously, people weren’t born knowing how to take care of themselves.

Some of these may seem silly or obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students need help with the most basic life skills. We’re not trying to insult your intelligence – you’re a smart, capable student.

However, it’s slightly alarming how many students leave the nest without the most basic knowledge of day-to-day life because they’ve always relied on parents to take care of things.

Now is the time to learn the following life skills, if you haven’t already!

Home and Personal Care Skills

• How to use basic kitchen appliances
• Wash/Dry clothes
• Determine which clothes to take to the dry cleaners
• Make a bed (with clean sheets)
• Fold laundry
• How to properly clean a toilet, shower, bathroom floor, etc.
• How to unclog a toilet
• Set an alarm and wake yourself up on time
• Get rid of spiders and bugs (without help)

Life-Management and Organization Skills

• Create a budget
• Keep your finances records organized
• Organize all passwords, accounts and important documents in a safe place for reference
• Use a credit card responsibly, avoiding debt
• When/how to pay taxes
• Time management
• Keep a daily calendar
• How to set up internet/cable
• Calculate a tip
• How to split a check amongst friends
• Address an envelope
• Write a check
• Balance a checkbook
• Pack smarter
• Change the battery in a fire alarm
• Back-up information on your computer and other devices
• Manage/clean-up your social media accounts

Student-Specific Skills

• Shop smarter for books
• Keep track of your grades
• Keep track of assignments due
• Sign up/register for classes
• Maintain healthy study habits
• Contact professors for help
• Navigate to classes
• Discuss living guidelines with your roommate
• Locate the student section of your university’s web site
• Taking clear, readable notes
• Essay writing
• Create an outline
• Public speaking
• Seek out extracurricular activities you enjoy
• Create a schedule that works for you
• Maintain a healthy balance between your academic and social lives

Professional Skills

• Write a resume
• Draft a cover letter
Professionally format emails
• Write thank you notes

Transportation Savvy

• Read a map
• Fill up a car with gas
• Change a tire
• Hail a taxi
• Bike maintenance
• Utilize and navigate public transit

General Conscientiousness

Awareness of your surroundings
• Recognizing a potentially dangerous situation
• Have personal medical information and keep up with appointments
• Emergency preparedness
• Avoid drugs and alcohol
• Be sexually responsible
• How to say “no,” respectfully
• How to ask for help
• Be open-minded
• Accept constructive criticism

Do you have any other skills you’d add to the list? If so, we’d love to hear about them!


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