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9 Things Young Adults Should Be Able To Do

Updated on February 9, 2014

Necessary life skills has a different meaning than it did fifty years ago. Our grandparents might have scoffed at anyone who couldn't sew their own clothes, bake their own bread and milk a cow, but while ye skills of olde are not lost on today's world, most of them probably aren't today's necessities. But there are things today that young adults should know, or at least strive to learn. Whether they are living alone for the first time, or still living at home as an adult, knowing how to take control of one's own life and be responsible for one's self are invaluable.

9. How to do their own laundry. It is shocking how many kids go off to college, only to stand befuddled in front of the washing machine with an overflowing hamper of dirty clothes next to them. Parents, you are not doing your kids any favors by doing their laundry - as soon as kids are tall enough to start the machine, there is no reason they shouldn't be able to start helping out with laundry, or at least doing their own by themselves.


8. Basic maintenance of clothes, electronics and cars: Sewing a button is easy - really, it is. Knowing how to change your oil isn't too hard, either. Nor is knowing how to run a virus scan on your computer, or how to protect it from the usual threats. But all these things save you a lot of money in the long run.

7. Take the initiative with jobs and school. Eighteen, twenty, even twenty-five - many young adults fall back onto their parents for moral support and a push of encouragement, and there is nothing wrong with that. As teenagers become adults, the responsibility of "really" having to work or go to school can be stressful. But at eighteen, a teenager should be able to go job hunting, call their boss when they are sick, and apply for schools and pursue education. That doesn't mean parents shouldn't be there to help if needed, but they should be able to at least initiate the hunt on their own.

6. Have some knowledge of finances and budgeting. Having a part time job in high school isn't something that all students are able to do, but working for income is the first step of understanding money. Eighteen-year-olds ought to be able to at least start thinking about budgeting and monthly expenses - from food, to entertainment, to gas money or money spent on necessities. It's an art that can take a lifetime to master, but beginning to realize that the newest iPhone, new brand name clothes and going out five times a week with friends might not all be in this month's stars is a valuable lesson.

5. Have some basic cooking skills. Knowing the simple on (and more importantly, off) switches of stoves and ovens is an important life skill. Though likely a college student won't be doing much cooking in a dorm, once a young adult lives in their first apartment, ordering pizzas and eating ramen everyday may not be financially feasible (or healthy, for that matter). Learning how to safely cook meats, incorporate fruits and vegetables into meals and learn how to put together basic dishes is important.


4. Computer etiquette: Knowledge of basic programs and commonsense Internet safety precautions. Luckily, computer savvy isn't going to be difficult for virtually any Western teenager, but with the relevance of computers only becoming greater, it is a valuable skill for school and work alike. Get familiar with word processors like Microsoft Word. Don't rely on Facebook to communicate with others - though it is also good to familiarize yourself with the settings, particularly the privacy options (hint: you probably want them set fairly high). There used to be a time when the Internet encouraged anonymity, but now giants like Google and Facebook (and everything they own) are gleaning more personal information from their users, including but not limited to real names. If your real name is online, represent that name. Don't troll, don't post drunken naked pictures, don't say anything outrageous - that stuff doesn't disappear. Eighteen might also be a good age to drop that "sexykitten_3592" e-mail address, or at least create a more professional one (first initial plus last name is a great combo to contact schools and potential employers).

3. How to be responsible about sex. This is a tough one, but just as with alcohol and drugs, after that year of becoming an adult (Eighteen in the United States), being stupid stops being forgiven easily. Sex is something that everyone needs to decide where they are comfortable for themselves, whether you feel it's a casual activity or something only to be done in a serious relationship. No matter what you choose, however, there can be unintended consequences. A young adult should understand that unprotected sex can result in babies. A young adult should also realize the sad reality of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). For both of these reasons, the value of using protection and caution can't be stressed enough. Furthermore, a young adult should recognize the importance of respecting his or her partner, and that one "no" - or even lack of a "yes" - means stop, full stop.

2. How to make appointments. After high school, schedules aren't neatly written out for you, and you can't always rely on your parents to schedule the dentist, doctor, salon, or any other type of appointment. It's up to you to organize your life. Picking up the phone and calling to make appointments can be inexplicably scary for young adults, but like it or not, it's an important part of adult life. And not just making appointments, either - knowing how to reschedule or cancel them is not only good etiquette, it can be absolutely necessary.

1. How to ask questions. In gradeschool, taking textbooks, teachers and other adults, and even what one read on the Internet for truth is easy - but by the time you are eighteen, it is lazy and wrong. Young adults should have the ability to question the world around them, check sources and evaluate evidence. One doesn't have to be a scientist to be skeptical of a claim that a pair of Siamese twins in Uganda gave birth to an alien baby by the National Inquirer. But skepticism is a good thing, and learning how to question even the things you want to agree with or believe is tough. Never be too afraid or too indifferent to ask questions as you discover the world!


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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, aliasis, (you nailed it.)

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be quite frank with you.

      I loved every word--and the lay-out was superb. Interesting, in-depth, helpful, and very informative. Great job.

      Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

      You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama