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This post is about skills that are useful when you start college.
When you move away from home and start going to college, you’ll realize really quickly that you need to learn how to fully be an adult. I arrived at college, and realized very quickly that I needed not only to learn how to manage all of my time in school, but to also make meals, complete all of my laundry and cleaning, and make time for running errands.
Luckily, while I was living at home, I was responsible for myself most of the time. When I started college, I soon saw that being responsible for myself at home really set me up for success. My peers were constantly staying up late to try and complete their laundry while they did their homework, and constantly overwhelmed by unplanned trips to the store on top of studying for exams.
In this post, I not only tell you the skills that are a necessity when you start college, but I show you how to learn them. With these skills, you’ll be able to start college without being overwhelmed, and you’ll have a leg up on your peers by knowing how to survive and thrive on your own.
Here are 15 skills that every college student should know how to do.
Best College Student Skills
Laundry is a clear skill that college students need to have. In fact, I would add that college students don’t just need to know how to do laundry, but they need to be able to schedule their time so they can do laundry efficiently and not so last minute.
How To Do Laundry – Step By Step
- Sort your laundry by color. I recommend three categories – lights, darks, and whites.
- Read your garment labels!!! If you have a garment that you really like, make sure that you read the label and wash accordingly.
- Check your washer to make sure that you don’t overfill it. You want to set the clothes in your washer loosely, without packing them. It can be tempting to pack them, but they will be way, way less clean.
- Once you fill your washer, you can add some detergent. I really recommend choosing one that’s eco-friendly. I personally use eco nuts, which are super simple to use and really good for the planet.
- Set the temperature of your washer – I usually use cold, to help prevent my clothes shrinking and use less energy. This is where reading the garment label comes in handy! When in doubt, use cold.
- Set a timer, so you are able to get your wet clothes out of the washer right away. If they’re done, and all the other washers are being used, someone will absolutely put your clothes on the floor. College laundry rooms are ruthless.
- Put your clothes in the dryer, and use dryer sheets or wool dryer balls. The dry air in college is a static-filled place, so use something to help with that!
- Congratulations! You did your laundry!
Use Google Calendar
Managing your time and scheduling class, activities, and social events is extremely important for your college life. When you are able to really get on top of your schedule, you’ll have a much more successful and stress-free college life.
Read my post on exactly how I schedule my google calendar here.
Stick To A Budget
Maintaining financial security is crucial to staying happy and on top of everything in college. When you first start college, everyone wants to go shopping, go out to eat, and go to parties. While all of those things are super fun, the price of all of them add up super fast. I definitely drained most of my savings during my freshmen year to college.
Before you go to college, plan out a budget. This budget should have some room for social events, but be diligent about sticking to your budget.
See how I set up a college budget here.
Did you grow up with your mom scheduling all of your appointments? That definitely needs to stop. If you need to schedule a doctors, dentist, or even a hair appointment, pull out your phone and call the facility. It’s a lot easier than you would think! Plus, you can plug your brand new appointment into your brand new google calendar. Genius!
Respond To And Send Professional Emails
When you start college, you’ll be sending and receiving a ton of emails. More importantly, you will need to send emails to professors and other professionals that are very important. When this occurs, it is vital that yo are able to send a professional email.
Sending a professional email is a skill that is frequently overlooked among freshmen college students. Below are some great resources for learning how to send professional emails.
Study Effectively and Efficiently
It is no secret that a large part of your time in college is spent studying. Learning how to study effectively and efficiently is key to thriving in other aspects of your college life.
Read all of my posts about studying effectively and efficiently below.
- Genius Tips to Help You Study More Effectively | 8 Genius Study Hacks For Maximum Productivity
- 5 Tips to Make the Most out of your Studying – and How to Make Time to Study!
- How To Ace Online Classes | 13 Of The Best Tips for Online Class Organization
Create A Habit Of Self Care
College is really stressful. A big mistake that a lot of college students make is not taking time to mentally and physically recover. Taking time for self-care should be a high priority on your list! There are lots of ways to practice self care, but here are some of my favorites that can be easily integrated into your schedule.
- Listen to your favorite music
- Unplug from social media
- Spend time with loved ones
- Cook a new meal
- Read a book
- Listen to podcasts
Wake Up And Go To Bed Early
Creating and sticking to a sleep schedule is really important to make sure that all of your other skills are able to fall into place. I recommend trying to get between 8 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Try and stick to a sleep schedule, even on the weekends, to help boost your energy and focus when studying and when in class. While sometimes you’ll end up staying out late or accidentally sleeping in, it’s best to have a solid sleep schedule that you can rely on.
Confidence To Seek Assistance
There will be times when you’re working on a class and you are completely and utterly lost. When this happens, it’s vital that you have the confidence to ask for help. This help can come from the Teaching Assistants, Professor, Tutoring Center, or even your peers.
When you are seeking this assistance, your skills of how to write professional emails will sure come in handy.
Hand in hand with self-care is stress management. There’s no question about it, college is stressful. However, stress levels reach a point that are just way too much to handle.
Here are some resources to learn how to get your stress under control. It’s a good idea to start practicing stress management techniques regularly, to make them a part of your schedule.
- An Overview of Stress Management – Verywell Minds
- 62 Stress Management Techniques, Strategies, and Activities – Positive Psychology
- Stress Management – American Heart Association
Memorize Your Social Security Number
You’ll need your social security number a lot in college. You’re required to fill it out on tons of forms, so it’s a good idea to memorize it early.
Have Multiple Forms of Payment
When I was 18, I opened up my first credit card. I made sure to set up automatic payments, and I never spent more than I had. Being older now, this turned out to be a fantastic decision. I have great credit, and that will really come in handy when I apply for apartments at nice apartment complexes.
If you already have good money habits, I really recommend getting a credit card. However, be aware that it is really easy to spend beyond your means. Getting a credit card comes with a lot of responsibility, and dedication to making sure that you’re on top of your finances and sticking to a budget.
Basic Cooking Skills
Knowing how to make yourself basic meals are really great tools that you should learn before going off on your own.
Learn how to cook a few basic meals, such as pasta, stir fry, potatoes, rice, eggs, and other general staples. You don’t have to be a professional chef, but it’s helpful to have some basic skills to start working off of.
Update And Keep Current Your Resume
Before leaving for college, spend some time putting together a really good resume. When an opportunity arises, you’ll want to have a really refined, current resume ready to go. Here are some great resources on how to create a stunning resume.
Understand The Time Commitment of Your Classes
As a general rule of thumb, you should be studying 2 hours per week for every credit hour. This means that if you’re taking a 3 credit course, you should be scheduling out 6 hours to dedicate to that class per week, not including class time.
This time commitment seems pretty extreme, but it’s statistically accurate. You won’t truly know how much time you need to dedicate to a class until you’re a couple weeks in, so also be prepared to make adjustments after you get settled. I like to start my semester off by having the time commitment for each class scheduled, and then I made adjustments as I go through the class.