Posted 6/10/13 by Alex Petryck in Lifestyle

Leaving Home: Essential Skills College Students Need

Leaving Home for College
Leaving Home for College

Leaving home for the first time is a turning point in anyone’s life. At the same time, it’s a daunting experience which causes people to think about whether they’re making the right decision. Leaving home is a matter of developing the right skills to sufficiently survive on your own. This is why if you learn the below skills you will better adapt to moving away from home for the first time.

Credit Cards and Budgets

The biggest change you’ll experience after you move out of your parents’ house is newfound financial freedom. Unless your parents are actively controlling your spending habits from afar, you have the power to spend what you want on anything you want. And this is nearly always the hardest thing to adapt to.

Start by creating a budget. If you know what you need and how much you have it’s easier to stop yourself from making poor financial decisions. Write it down and take it with you.

When it comes to credit cards, it’s best to save them for emergencies. The interest rates will sap any income you have over time. Stick to your debit card or cold, hard cash when you can.

Eating Habits

Chances are your mother cooked your meals and kept you slim. Moving away from home puts your meal plan in your hands, unless you’re in a dormitory with a fixed plan. Learn to make some simple, healthy dishes before you move out. It’s always good to have some small dishes in your arsenal so you don’t turn to junk food between meals.

Learn the Art of Laundry

Most students live too far away to send their clothes back each weekend. It’s shocking just how many people attend college or university without ever encountering a washing machine. It’s not uncommon for students to overcome this challenge through simple trial and error, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration by practicing at home.

It’s pretty easy after you’ve done it a few times. The different wash cycles are easy to remember and you’ll only need to know a few of them to wash most types of clothes.

Practice Your Resume

Regardless of whether you’ve had a job, you should get a head start on preparing your resume. In college, you’ll find yourself applying for part-time jobs on campus and internships. Some colleges even demand you submit a resume for extracurricular activities and clubs.

Start learning how to present yourself in written form now. The best way to do this is to draft your resume on your computer and have someone look through it. They’ll show you where you went wrong and where you can improve.

Save it on your computer and add or replace things as you have new worthwhile experiences. It will bring a range of benefits going forward.

Talk to People

In the initial few days of living away from home, you’ll see people who you haven’t met before. This is the most fearful part of the whole moving experience for students. If you are the type of person who doesn’t find it easy to make friends, start before you get there.

Begin by talking to people over the phone and in person. Book your next haircut over the phone personally, or approach one of your teachers at school. Even just talking to one of the neighbors can provide a boost to your confidence.

Another good idea is to enroll in some voluntary work in the weeks and months running up to moving day. It forces you to communicate with people from different backgrounds, as well as adding something to your resume.

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Alex Petryck

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Alex is a student at Wisconsin-Madison University who currently works as a writer.