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3 Adulting Skills College Students Should Quickly Learn

As a new college student, you’re likely enjoying your first dose of freedom and independence away from home. For instance, college may be the first time you’ve had to do your own laundry, budget for weekly groceries and contemplate whether another bowl of ramen noodles or Lucky Charms will satisfy you for dinner (don’t worry, we won’t tell your mom).

As part of being more independent, it’s also important to learn some key adulting skills that go beyond basic classroom punctuality and keeping on top of your homework. For example, here are three adulting skills all college students should quickly pick up and learn.

1. Learn How to Maintain Your Car

While living under your parents’ roof, chances are your folks took care of paying for car insurance and regular vehicle maintenance. But now that you’re away at college, it will become important for you to learn how to care for and maintain your car. In addition to keeping you safe on the road, taking your car in for regular maintenance can prevent more costly issues from popping up later.

In particular, tire shops and mechanics will typically put stickers on the top left corner of your windshield, indicating by date or a certain mileage when you should bring your car in again for a tune-up or tire rotation. Along these lines, it’s also important to learn how to determine the age of your tires, as well as what type to purchase.

Not sure how to go about it? Look for the long-tail code comprised of 10 to 12 numbers and letters beginning with “DOT” on the side of each of your tires. The date when the tires were manufactured will make up the last four digits of the DOT code, with the first two indicating the week they were produced and the last two indicating the year.

For instance, if your tires include “0412,” then you know they were manufactured in January 2012. Still, even if you aren’t putting a lot of miles on your vehicle, experts still recommend that your tires be replaced every five to six years. With that in mind, make sure to keep tabs on your tires’ birth dates and celebrate the occasion by buying new replacements when needed.

2. Pay Your Bills on Time

Even if your parents are taking care of your tuition, room and board or rent and groceries, it’s still a good idea to look into paying for some of your own expenses. For instance, if you have a part-time job, tell your folks that you plan to pay for your own groceries, as well as fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.

Similarly, if you pay your credit card online, make sure to set up reminder notices to avoid a late payment; after all, it’s not uncommon for credit card companies to charge $35 or more, even if your payment is only a day late. While you can certainly arrange for the minimum amount to be automatically withdrawn each month from your checking account, you’ll want to be sure you have enough money to cover these and other bills, including your utility, water, TV, internet and trash providers.Â

Indeed, paying your bills on time will not only keep your lights and water on, but it will also help to simultaneously increase your credit score and teach you responsibility.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Yes, you can stay up until 3 a.m. every night if you want to, and yes, you can drink extra lattes to get you through your finals week. But as any parent or expert will tell you, learning how to balance your studies and social life and getting enough sleep can be a difficult proposition, but certainly one that will help you throughout life.

Instead of feeling tired, stressed out and more prone to becoming sick, getting enough nightly sleep will keep you on an even keel. Thus, try to limit your late-night partying and join a study group to help you get your homework done during the day, rather than procrastinating until 2 a.m. However, if your roommate is a night owl, use a white noise machine, run a fan, and/or invest in some quality ear plugs to help you fall and stay asleep.

Congratulations, You’re Well on Your Way to Adulting!

Your college years will fly by pretty quickly, and before you know it, you’ll be on your own in the real world. But by learning a number of key “adulting” skills now, you will be better suited to take on the many responsibilities of post-graduate life.

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