3 Basic Life Skills for New College Students


It’s your final school year and soon you will be going to college. Exciting times. Many children who leave home for college studies overseas have had privileged lifestyles. It’s slightly alarming how many students leave the nest without the most basic knowledge of day-to-day life because they’ve always relied on parents to take care of things. Day to day chores are usually done by the doting parents so as to provide maximum study time for the high schooler eat, sleep, study, repeat – After all good grades is the key to a great college admission.

In the excitement of a whole new adventure that a college signifies, it is important that parents and students also pay attention to some life skills that will help in the transition. As with basic needs, the main life skills are to do with food, shelter and security. Some of these skills may seem obvious but are:

  1. Food related

Food is the key to a healthy body and hunger is the main reason for crankiness and irritability. Knowledge of what to eat, how to eat and even basic cooking skills are incredible useful. Once you are away from home, you are responsible for all your meals whether in a catered environment or in an independent setup.

Always remember that a healthy body is key to success in all areas of life, even in studies.

source:  Harvard School of Public Health

  • Food & Nutrition

Understand and use the food pyramid to include the right mix of food groups for health and nutrition.

  • Basic cooking skills

Cooking for yourself is a surefire method to manage what you eat. Healthy, wholesome meals which are customized to your health and fitness goals. You do not have to go a cooking school to pick up easy cooking skills. Learn the basics and a few of your favorite meals. Once you are comfortable in the kitchen, there is a plethora of recipes on the internet to try.

  • Washing Dishes

The only way to learn is to do it. Wash the dishes.

  • Grocery shopping

Never go grocery shopping when hungry or you end up buying more then you need and sometimes what you do not need. Always take a shopping list based on your meal plans and stick to it.


  1. Shelter

A clean and organized living space is by default always available at home. It is only when you leave home that you realize that it takes effort and energy to create a safe, clean and organized living space.

The first 3 items can only be learned by doing.

  • Making beds

A neat bed magically makes the living space look neater. So once you get out of bed, make it. It takes all of 5 minutes.

  • Cleaning loos

It’s not difficult and make a schedule to clean regularly.

  • Doing laundry

Laundromats and coin laundry machines are easily available and learning to use means sorting your clothes to prevent color run and shrinkage of clothes. Understand your clothes and how the clothes have to be laundered.

Use a simple calendar or use your smartphone to manage your schedules. Check out evernote and other productivity tools.


  1. Security

Personal security and safety of your belongings becomes your sole responsibility once you move away from home. It requires some thought and planning to prevent and manage difficult situations or incidents

  • Dealing with an emergency

Create a list of emergency contact numbers and save on your mobile phone correctly labeled. Also print and keep on your notice board.

  • Personal safety

You are responsible for your personal safety. Make smart decisions with a priority to your safety and security. This applicable to your physical self and your online pesona.

  • Health

Health is physical, mental and emotional. Take a first aid course. Food, nutrition and personal hygiene management takes care of your physical self and to a large extent your emotional well-being. Interact with people you love and care for. Make friends and be kind not only to others but also to yourself.

  • Partying & Drinking

Practice safe drinking so you do not lose control of yourself. Drink lots of water and try not to drink on empty stomach. Watch your drinks so that it is not spiked.

  • Money Management

Money management skills can be learned and there are many apps that can be downloaded on your mobile devices to help you track and manage your expenses.


Despite the long list, let us not lose sight of that the reason for leaving home is to get education to pursue your career goals. Create your own study goals and strategy to have an amazing undergrad experience. Let it be the springboard to a successful future.

Just as popularly taught Never put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket so also only you are responsible for your well-being and success.

Do  share feedback, add any skills or points that have been missed out in the comments below.