Adulting 101: Important Skills for After High School

Being a grown up. Acting like an adult. Growing up in general. All of these things that people say we must do once we leave high school to be adults in the real world. The only problem with this is that being an adult usually doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Being an adult supposedly means doing annoying things like taxes and not having time to do what you love, but that isn’t usually the case. Being an adult, at least how I define it, is being able to look after yourself. It means that you can live independently without worrying that things will fall to pieces and doing that isn’t too much hard work. Doing that just involves learning a few skills that can help you be an adult while still maintaining all the fun-loving things that you did when you didn’t have to worry about things like budgets and dishes. The best time to learn all of this is just before you leave high school because once you leave high school and go to university or start your own life, you begin transitioning into adulthood. The skills I have mentioned below are supposedly adult skills, yet they are essential and useful and will help you live independently once you finish high school. If you are looking for skills that will help you in life, or are nervous about leaving the comfort of home after high school, then look no further. Here are ten tips for adulting 101.

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Basic housekeeping

I’m sure that when you lived at home, you didn’t have to do everything for yourself (this is an assumption though so if I’m wrong, please don’t take offence). Once you start adulting and living on your own, you will have your own space that you need to take care of, and as much as we would all love it if little housekeeping fairies came and cleaned everything while we slept, that is not a realistic outlook to have. It’s essential to know basic housekeeping – things like being able to do dishes, make your bed and in general, keep your living space clean. Yes, I know that this seems like something so basic and that everyone can do, but sometimes it is never necessary until all of a sudden we need to do it ourselves. Trust me, basic housekeeping skills and staying on top of it will be something you appreciate down the line, especially when you don’t continually come home to a messy space with piles of dirty dishes and a lingering odour that you can’t quite figure out.

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Laundry and drying

Being able to do your own washing and drying is another skill that I don’t think a lot of us learn early enough, but it is definitely something that we have to learn for post high school life. Take the time before you leave home to get some help and figure out how to do laundry and do it right. For example, remember that you need to separate whites from colours, know what type of clothes need to be washed cold or hot, learn how to remove different stains, remember to turn certain clothes with printed lettering etc. inside out before washing, and know how best to wash and dry your clothes without shrinking them. There is nothing wrong with asking for help and learning as much of you can while you still have the support available because that is a hell of a lot better than ending up with a half-empty cupboard because your colours bled or you shrunk all your clothes.

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How to cook

It is an essential skill, no matter which way you look at it, to learn how to cook. By cooking though, I don’t mean putting ready-made meals in the microwave or being able to make toast. You can’t survive on canned soups, microwave meals, takeouts and toast. Now you definitely do not have to become a master chef and be able to whip up five-star cuisine at a moment’s notice, but being able to make a meal or two from scratch is certainly a good idea. Homemade food is usually a lot healthier than ready-made food, so that is a positive, but you will also feel a lot more satisfied eating a meal that you cooked yourself. Pick a few meals that you enjoy (and that are relatively healthy and can be made low-budget) and learn how to cook them well. Who knows, you might find a secret love for cooking and actually become a master chef?

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Basic budgeting

Learning how to budget is always a useful skill, especially when you are living by yourself or not at home. Whether you are earning money through a job/part-time job or are living off an allowance, being able to manage your money accordingly will be something you’ll be thankful for down the line. You don’t have to learn about fancy accounting or financial things, but it is vital to learn how to be aware of how much money you have available, how much money you regularly spend and how to make sure you don’t end up falling into debt. Another useful thing you should learn under budgeting is how to do basic shopping (for things like grocery shopping and home supplies) with limited money. You have to eat and do your cleaning, so splurging on fancy meals for an entire week and then ending up with nothing for the rest of the month is not a great way to live. How to avoid this is to learn how to budget your money so that you can still enjoy yourself without winding up in trouble.

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Time management

Time management is a skill we all would love to acquire, especially if it means we can do a hundred things at once without collapsing from exhaustion. Unfortunately, this is yet to be a possibility. Regular time management, as in being able to manage your time accordingly based on things you have to do and downtime, is possible. All it takes, though, is an effort to do it. Being able to manage your time is a great skill to learn early on because that way you will be able to have a less stressful experience post the more relaxed attitude of high school. Time management means you will not have to work yourself up into a state of anxiety over academics and work because you will have it under control, but it also means that you can still enjoy your time and have a life that includes doing things you love. I know getting that balance right sounds like an impossible fairy tale, but I know from experience that it is possible. You have to be willing to try.

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Basic first aid

Say you accidentally cut yourself while in your room or you burn your hand while utilising your newly found cooking skills. What are you going to do? Basic first aid means that you can deal with small issues like that without needing to dash to the nearest hospital. I’d highly recommend doing a basic first aid course (not just figuring out what to do or watching youtube videos) because at least then you are adequately qualified to treat yourself. It’s not a necessity, and you can certainly live independently without being able to deal with specific small-scale injuries, but it is just a useful skill to have under your belt. You know, in case of emergencies.

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Basic sewing

Have you ever wanted to wear a specific outfit and then realised that there is a button loose or missing and now you can’t wear it? Well, one way to be able to move past this particular obstacle is to have some basic sewing skills at the ready. Now, I would be hard-pressed to knit a scarf or sew a massive hole in one of my shirts, but I’m sure most people would also and being able to do that is not truly necessary. What is a useful sewing skill is to be able to fix button problems or small holes – everything bigger than that qualifies to ask for more experienced assistance. So if you have time on your hands, you might want to ask someone to teach you how to thread a needle and sew on buttons. You never know when an adventurous button might escape your grip and need sorting out.

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Simple home repairs

Now this, by all means, doesn’t mean that you have to be an expert repairman, electrician and plumber because people spend years practising those trades just to be above average. There is no way you can expect to acquire all of those same skills in such a short period. What you should want to learn, though, especially if you are going to be living alone, is how to deal with basic home repairs. This can be anything from changing a light bulb to filling a crack to putting a picture up on the wall. I know that doing these things can sound quite challenging and definitely something an amateur can’t handle on their own, but once you know what to do, then it is actually quite easy. At least when you do master all of these skills you won’t ever have to worry about studying in the dark or having a picture frame fall on your head because it wasn’t nailed in properly.

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Once you leave the quite structured grip of high school, and potentially home, you will find that you don’t have people checking up on you and telling you what to do and when as much anymore. Now at first, this may seem like you’ve won the lottery, but soon you might miss the structure mentioned above. The right way to handle the transition is to have learnt the art of self-discipline, which will be beneficial to you in more ways than you can imagine. Self-discipline can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, time manage appropriately, get your work done, enjoy yourself but also know when enough is enough. It is a beneficial skill that I am always thankful for, even if I am metaphorically slapping myself at the time when I am least in the mood for it. Yes, it may sound like a very bland, boring thing to do, but it is a skill that can see you through and ensure that you can be successful while still having a good time.

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This, as arbitrary as it sounds, could probably be the most critical skill you can learn in terms of adulting 101. It is crucial to be able to look after yourself and not just in terms of not starving and staying safe. You need to remember to look after your health, both physical and mental, and this means being aware of your nutrition, your sleep cycles and your emotions. If you are feeling stressed out, and this will most likely occur more than once, then it is okay to take some time out to look after yourself. Do something that relaxes you, make sure you are getting enough sleep and do things that put a smile on your face. There is no point in learning all of these skills if you aren’t able to have a good life. If you only take one skill away from this blog post, then please let it be this one.

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So there you have it. Whether you are about to leave home for the first time, are going on an extended vacation by yourself or have already started your own life and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, I hope that this advice has been helpful to you. Being independent can seem a little intimidating, so I hope that at the very least this blog post has taken the edge off and shown you that with just a few skills, you can easily manage to live independently. For my questions today:

  • Do you have any adulting 101 tips to give out? Any would be appreciated!
  • Do you have any exciting stories of adulting gone wrong?

My exciting story would be my first time doing laundry by myself when I was in England, and I accidentally shrunk my favourite pair of jeans. I was miserable because it happened at the beginning of my trip and subsequently learnt how to do laundry properly as soon as I got home.

Anyway, I hope that you have all enjoyed this blog post and found it relatively helpful. Please like this blog if you haven’t already, subscribe so that you don’t miss out on future posts and share with your friends so that the blog can grow. It is all much appreciated, and I am thankful, as always, for the continual support. You guys are amazing and good luck adulting.

Lots of Love

Blondey on a Mission xxx

Author: blondeyonamission

Hey everyone! I'm a lifestyle and travel blogger from South Africa and about to relocate to the UK for university. My blog is all about stories, tips and advice with topics ranging from university, organisation, friends, books, travel and more. Please check it out and I hope you enjoy xxx

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