Your scholar is all set for the big move-in day – XL linens, memory foam mattress topper, shower caddy and Northface jacket, all ready to go. But does he or she know how to fill out a check? (you need to specify the amount, not leave it up to the recipient). Many parents are surprised by how their brilliant, accomplished kids lack basic skills. As you get ready to cut the cord, you might think you’re finally off the hook, but there’s still some micromanaging to do.
What sorts of everyday tasks still require mastery as college students head toward freshman year? Many they probably should have learned in seventh grade (but cut them some slack; you’ve heard about the front lobe stuff).
Here are the most common:
1. Where stamps come from: how to buy them and how use them
2. How to address an envelope
3. How to boil an egg
4. How to avoid nasty accidents: no foil in the microwave, no knives in the toaster
5. How to avoid having your utilities and wifi turned off – you have to pay the bills…which requires checking your mailbox from time to time.
6. For students from California:How to own a coat (If you leave it at a party, you won’t have it the next morning)
7. Calendar skills, including advanced leap year data: There are 28 or 29 days in February.
8. How to find items at the grocery store (students have been known to call home to find out how things were arranged in the market in their college towns)
9. How to cook a can of soup (several teens believed that you just put the entire can directly onto the burner.)
10. How to distinguish between different kinds of insurance: You can’t use your car insurance card (or your AAA card) at the pharmacy or medical clinic. (this came up several times)
11. Different medications are designed for different symptoms. Advil is not a great idea for an upset stomach.
12. How to close an umbrella.
13. The purpose of the ‘check engine’ light – it means someone qualified should check the engine. It will not go off by itself and should not be ignored until the car breaks down.
14. How to use a car manual. No, you don’t have to google and find a youtube video to find how to turn off your intermittent wipers.
15. How to hand wash dishes: Tupperware is not disposable – it is meant to be used again.
16. Text speak is not appropriate for an exam or a job-related email. The word ‘you’ is spelled Y-O-U, not ‘u.’
17. How to triage: Why not to call an ambulance to take you to the ER for a sinus infection.
18. How to find out what size pants you wear; you can look at the label rather than call your mom from Urban Outfitters to find out.
19. Waffle makers are not designed for making scrambled eggs.
20. Most food items – like roasted chicken – will not be fresh after two weeks, even if stored in an unopened container.
21. Dryer sheets and Snuggle are not the same as detergent. (But it’s a step in the right direction if your child’s clothes are actually making it into the washer. Some students – usually male – resort to throwing away clothes instead of washing them.)
22. How to contact occupants if you’re visiting their home: If they don’t answer your text, you might try ringing the bell
We are certain that some vital skills that freshmen lack have been omitted from this list. Free books for the best five additions. Now, off to teach our college intern (cum laude from a top school) how to make a voice call to order lunch.