A Not-at-All Comprehensive List Full of Ideas from Your Friends at My College Crate
High school or college graduation mark major changes in your life. But they’re nothing to be scared of, especially if you’re prepared and learned skills that will make the next stages easier. Of course, there’s no hard-and-fast rule about what you should be doing or learning or mastering, because everyone is different.
But, there are some things you might want to become an expert at – or at least understand how they work – as you take steps toward adulthood. Check out our list of things to master (or at least attempt) before you graduate (and then celebrate your accomplishments with a college care package from My College Crate).
1. Open a savings account.
If you don’t already have one, opening a savings account is a major step toward adulthood. You don’t have to have a lot of money in it. Just maintain the minimum balance set forth by the bank of your choice. Some banks waive their minimum balance requirements if you’re still a student. The idea of having a savings account is to build up a small nest egg for a rainy day or for an emergency. Some people like to put aside money every month into their savings account, which will help you have a little bit of money when it’s time to put a down payment on a car or sign a new apartment lease.
2. Change a car tire.
Consider yourself lucky if you live somewhere that doesn’t require a car for daily commutes and, well, survival. But if you do live somewhere where owning a car is helpful or even necessary, it’s important that you know how to change a car tire, so you’re never left stranded should you get a flat. There are so many YouTube tutorials about changing a tire, that you’re sure to find one that makes the process clear to you. Just be sure you have a spare tire before you remove your flat!
3. Cook basic meals.
You don’t have to work to be the next contestant on Master Chef or Hell’s Kitchen, but you might want to learn to cook a few basic meals that will fill your belly and impress a dinner guest or two. Boxed macaroni and cheese doesn’t count! Try your hand at family-favorites from your childhood, or do some Internet research to find some meals that sound delicious to you. We recommend learning to cook with a slow cooker, also called a crockpot, for meals that are ready to go when you get home from a long day of work or class. You can tell people that you were cooking all day long.
4. Manage a monthly budget.
Finances are difficult to grasp, but practicing managing a monthly budget now will prepare you for when you are responsible for every bill that comes your way. Your goal with a budget is to never spend more money than you make – and consider setting some aside for savings each month. Include in your budget all the things you’re required to pay, like rent, utilities, groceries, cell phone, and internet, as well as things that are more flexible, but you’ll still need to cover, like clothing, entertainment, and dining out. It takes years to master budgeting, but if you can get a good grasp on it now, you’ll be managing your money nicely after graduation.
5. Adopt a healthy habit.
Pick any healthy habit, and make it part of your life. You can drink enough water to stay hydrated every day, exercise regularly to stay fit, go to bed at a reasonable hour every night, choose healthier food options, fold your laundry after you wash it, or anything else you can think of. By working to adopt at least one of these habits, it’ll be easier as you add to your repertoire over the years.
6. Find a time management method that works for you.
You’ve no doubt developed time management skills as you’ve gone through your school years. As an adult, your employer likely will expect that you manage your time well. Having an idea of what type of time management method works for you will set you up for success – that is, you can get your work done in a timely manner as expected. (How you define success is really up to you, and it looks different to everyone.) Maybe you’re a Gantt chart creator because you love the project management style. Perhaps you use an hourly appointment planning method to block off every hour of your work day. Or maybe you prefer a more flexible approach and make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish, and then just do them. The point is to find one that works for you, with how your mind works.
7. Use a planner.
No, we don’t mean adopt the use of a planner for time management. We mean write down important dates and times, such as doctor appointments, important meetings, or even party times, so that you can plan your schedule around them. You can write them down on a physical calendar, or input them into your phone or other digital planner. Like time management, the method is totally up to you.
Give back to your community or to an organization that has helped or inspired you. Put in a few volunteer hours a month as possible, or even plan a couple of volunteer days each year – whatever fits into your schedule. You’ll experience the rewarding feeling you get when you donate your time and energy, and your community will be thankful for how you’ve helped. The organization you volunteer with is totally up to you – or perhaps you’d like to do something completely independent, like pick up litter in a local park, or shovel elderly neighbors’ driveways after snow storms.
9. Take good advice from someone.
Have you noticed that people always ask for advice or input from other people, even if they never take it and end up doing their own thing anyway? Have you ever felt frustrated when a friend came to you, and then completely ignored what you said? If you have an opportunity to get truly good advice, take it in, ruminate on it, and then run with it! Listen to what a subject matter expert or pro has to say, and figure out how you can apply it to your life.
10. Learn to accept compliments.
When someone gives you a genuine, from-the-heart compliment, say “thank you” and sit with it. You don’t need to brush it off or point out the flaws in whatever you were complimented for. Learning to accept a compliment helps you take ownership of your achievements, which can help you get the recognition you deserve for the hard work you put in, or the efforts you make – even if it’s just putting together a really great outfit, or doing a good deed.
Personal Growth and Development Tools in Our Care Packages for Students
Each month, our team crafts with great care a special care package with a theme for a holiday or other special event. We strive to include items that help our special recipients grow and develop, even if it’s something simple, like a gratitude journal or a thought-provoking deck of motivational cards.
Why do we do this? Because we recognize that each of the students we ship gifts to are growing as people, doing amazing things, and aiming high toward their goals. And we love being a part of that just as much as the people who order the gifts for these wonderful students, like you. Learn more about My College Crate’s latest student gift box.
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