9 Essential Life Skills You Should Know as a Student
Starting college soon? Arm yourself with these important life skills you should know before rushing headlong into this brand new phase of life.
Updated 19 Jul 2019
Are you all set to enter college and begin life as a newly minted young adult? If you’re not, don’t worry — we have a few hacks that’ll make adulting a whole lot easier for you. From sewing a replacement button on your shirt to mapping out a proper financial budget, this guide will equip you with all the essential life skills a young adult needs to learn.
#1. How to do your laundry
Regardless if you’ve got help with the laundry at home or if you’re planning to send your clothes to the dobi, learning how to get your clothes clean and fresh on your own is a skill that’ll benefit you for the rest of your life.
Of course, it isn’t as easy as dumping a whole basket of clothes into the washing machine. You’ll need to do the basics such as sorting your clothes according to colour shades and fabric types, figuring out how much detergent to use, as well as picking the most suitable wash cycle.
#2. What to do if you get into a car accident
It’s a situation you never ever want to be in, but knowing how to handle a car accident is better than bursting into tears at the side of the road.
After checking yourself for injuries, take pictures of the damage to all cars and if any, injuries to people. If possible, move your car to the side and then exchange details with the other drivers. Be sure to get the following details:
- Vehicle registration number
- Vehicle model, colour and model year
- Driver’s name, address and phone number
- Vehicle owner’s name, address and phone number (if different from the driver)
- Driver’s IC number and driving licence number
Remember to head over to the nearest police station and lodge a report within 24 hours. Once that's done, reach out to your insurance agent for help with your claim.
#3. Creating a budget
Yikes, 'budget'. The mere mention of the word conjures up the image of a pile of paper filled with numbers and graphs, long periods of time spent calculating what little you can spend, and well, a sense of boredom in general.
But don’t let this image in your head stop you from taking control of your finances. It's actually a satisfying process which will result in you saving a lot of money for your future. To create a budget easily, use financial tools and apps to get you going. Using these tools, first set your financial goals and then continue cutting unnecessary costs.
#4. How to know if food has gone bad
As tempting as it is to bite into that apple you bought three months ago, you should make sure the fruit is safe to eat first so you don't end up with food poisoning. Luckily, it’s easy to tell when an apple is rotten — it will be soft, have brown spots on the inside and may even have mould on the outside.
For foods like poultry, you'll know it's gone bad when it smells funky and has a slimy texture. Also, contrary to popular belief, a floating egg is not a bad egg. The only way to find out if an egg has gone bad is to crack it; bad eggs give off a foul odour.
#5. Write professional emails
Have you ever mistakenly sent an email to your teacher or lecturer instead of your friend? Have you used that embarrassing Standard 6 email for a scholarship interview? Oof, those are pretty big email mistakes to make!
Spruce up your email etiquette by taking steps to avoid making embarrassing email mistakes like the ones mentioned above. When writing your email, be sure to include proper salutations, craft a concise message and thank your recipient for their time. For more tips, read our guide to writing professional emails.
#6. Learn to cook at least one dish
Cooking is an essential skill to have (it’ll save you from dying of starvation), especially if you’re living away from home. No, letting your bowl of instant noodles rotate in the microwave for 2 minutes isn’t called cooking. We mean whipping up a legit, nutritionally-sound dish that won’t coat your arteries in MSG. #HealthIsWealth
Nervous about stepping into the kitchen as an ultimate beginner? Ease yourself into the cooking process with an easy peasy recipe for cheesy spinach and chicken ham omelette. It takes only a total of 10 minutes, fills you up and will make you and your health better! After you’ve mastered this one dish, you’ll be ready to experiment with other equally easy but oh-so-good recipes.
#7. How to sew a button
If a missing button on your shirt makes you groan and reach for your wallet to buy a new top, put the money down and pick up a needle instead. With four easy steps and a few minutes, you'll get that rogue button on your shirt in a jiffy.
All you need to do is choose your button and thread, thread the needle and tie a knot at the end of the thread, then position the button and push the threaded needle through the buttonhole and the fabric repeatedly. Use this handy pictorial tutorial for practice and you'll be a button pro in no time!
#8. Arm yourself with basic self-defence moves
Busting a killer move against a possible assailant can save your life if anything should happen to you in the future.
When defending yourself from an unarmed criminal, remember to aim for these basic points: eyes, nose, ears, neck and throat. These body parts are sensitive areas and will cause the most pain to your attacker when hurt, leaving them disoriented and giving you time to escape.
#9. Arrive on time all the time
Ah, you never expected punctuality to be a skill, right? Well, get ready to perfect your punctuality as being on time is essential when it comes to almost every aspect of your life.
The earlier on in life you learn to master punctuality, the better it will be for you. From arriving at your friend’s place for movie night at 8pm sharp or sliding into your desk for morning lectures at 9am on the dot, your ability to be punctual will establish your reputation as a reliable friend, a good student and an excellent future employee (who doesn’t get fired for being late). Kudos to you if you can do this!
There are definitely more life skills you can adopt to improve yourself, but mastering these 9 things will do for a start to a better you. So here’s to being prepared for life and becoming the best version of yourself!