How to Adult

How to Adult

Moreen McGrath, Copy Editor

As we make the transition into the second semester of the school year, many seniors are undoubtedly finding themselves stuck in a flurry of conflicting emotions. Excitement bubbles from the choices of colleges and roommates, majors and careers that will be available to us in the near future. Despite this, however, there is also an overarching fear which accompanies the end of high school. For most of us, it will be our first prolonged period of time away from home, and for just as many of us, it will be the first time we cannot rely upon our parents to do the things that we do not know how (or perhaps do not want) to do. That said, the following provides a list of skills which will make the transition process infinitely easier once learned.


  1. Learn How to Do Your Laundry:
    Don’t be that kid who waits until the end of every semester to bring your dirty laundry home to your mom or dad. It’s immature, it’s unappreciative, and, quite frankly, it’s lazy. Doing you own laundry is so simple, and it’s become even more simple by manufacturers’ usage of materials which are less likely to shrink, dyes which are less likely to run, and detergents which are more powerful. Also, given that I’m handing you the procedure, you have absolutely no excuse not to learn.

*Before beginning the process, make sure to check any tags for specific washing instructions*
Step 1:  Sort your laundry into one of three piles: whites, colors, and darks. Questions about where something belongs? Neutrals such as beige or light khaki can be sorted in with whites, purples, reds, and navys all belong in darks, and the rest can be thrown into the colors category. The size of each load will determine the amount of detergent you should use. Remember, less is more because overusing detergent can ruin your fabrics.

Step 2: Determining water temperature: As a general rule, the warmer the water, the more likely it is that colors will fade.  Lighter colors use hot water; Colored clothing will use warm water; Dark colors should be washed in cold water. However, it is worth noting that warmer water will take away smells better than cold water will, so if your dark clothes absolutely stink for some reason, go ahead and wash them in warm or hot water.

Step 3: Drying Clothes: Before beginning any drying cycle, make sure that you use dryer sheets in order to improve smell and guard against static cling. When it comes to determining temperature, the hardier the material, the hotter the drier should be. High heat should be used on cottons, denim, sweats, and towels. The permanent press setting (medium heat) should be used on synthetic materials, and the low heat setting should be used for delicate materials.
LAUNDRY SINS: Using too much detergent; Washing “dry-clean only” clothes; Leaving wet clothes sitting in the machine (should not be as much of a problem at college); Bleaching clothes too often; Putting wool clothes in the dryer; Leaving zippers undone and keeping buttons buttoned during the washing and drying cycles.

  1. How to Cook an Easy, Decent Meal that is not Ramen:

Having had to cook dinner for my family for years, I have decided that one-pot meals will save your life. One-pot recipes are typically filled with nutritious, cheap ingredients, that should be easy to find in any given grocery store.  They’re incredibly simple, extremely filling, and leave leftovers for just long enough that you can enjoy them without getting sick of them, which is perfect for college years. Google will quickly provide you with a list of easy one-pot recipes, but beware the trap of constantly choosing a pasta-based recipe. Though the are the most common type of one-pot dish, there are plenty of other alternatives which can provide equally as filling a meal without proving as calorie-dense.


  1. General Tips for Handling Money:

The most important piece of advice for managing money is to constantly be aware of your finances. While this seems like common sense, many individuals find themselves in financial difficulty simply due to a lack of vigilance on the matter. This requires keeping a careful eye on not only the amount of money in your account, but also the amount of money which will be moving out of your account after expenses such as bills are paid. As a general rule, it is best to always overestimate the amount you will need to maintain yourself. By doing so, you put yourself in the position to save money at the end of the month, which can then help in covering future unforeseen expenses.

  1. Keep a Planner: What is this, fourth grade? Sadly, no, we are very much not in our elementary school days any longer. However, when it comes time to start meeting deadlines for papers and paying bills, you do not want to find yourself attempting to tackle a mountain of work in just a few hours. We have all been there at one point or another, and we all know how stressful it can be. Save yourself the anxiety by keeping lists of assignments, writing lists, creating timelines, and recording due dates. In the end, you will thank yourself and will become more organized and productive.
  2. Miscellaneous Tips:
    Always underestimate the amount of money that you are going to be able to spend on expenses that are not absolute necessities.

When calling to make a doctor’s appointment, early morning Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are most likely to be available, and the earlier the appointment is, the less likely your scheduled time is to be delayed.
Store-brand groceries and canned goods taste almost exactly the same as name-brand goods and will save you a huge amount of money in the end.
NEVER carry your social security card around with you.

Always tip AT LEAST 15%. Even when your service is shoddy at best, remember that your server has probably had a rough day and that your poor tip will likely make it even worse. The majority of a server’s income is dependant upon their tips, so please do not be the reason why your server misses out on paying his or her rent for the month.
Do not sleep on public transit. I feel like I shouldn’t even have to say this, but here I am, reminding you not to be that guy.

Never wear heels that cannot be walked in for long distances. If you really feel the need to, bring a pair of flats in your purse and change into them for the trip home.
Remember that most campuses will have some sort of escort service in order to ensure that you return to your dorm safely.