What Your Senior Should Know: Before Graduation

By Joy Holden and Madeline Rathle

Graduation is approaching quickly, and it may be time for your teenager to head off to the world of college and new experiences. But is he ready to live on his own? Is he prepared to tackle the everyday problems life throws at him? Not having a parent around to make sure things are running smoothly can sometimes be stressful for incoming college students, but it doesn’t have to be. Before graduation, every senior should know these basic skills to ensure a happy freshman year and stress-free experience at college.

Flat tire? No problem.

Getting a flat tire is stressful enough, but if you don’t know how to change it, the situation can cause extreme anxiety. Not only should your senior be able to change the tire, but he should also know when to change his oil, how to check tire pressure, and how to get his car serviced without being taken advantage of.

Check it off the list.

Believe it or not, many college students do not know how to grocery shop for the proper amount of food and for the nutrition they need. While Ramen noodles are the cheap, go-to food for college students, there are other cheap options that will do much more for their health, energy, and overall well-being. Purchasing too much food can lead to waste, while purchasing too little creates unnecessary trips back to the store. Making a list is a good way to evaluate what you need, and sticking to that list can help you avoid making impulse purchases.

Lights and darks? Delicates?

You do, in fact, have to separate your clothes according to color before washing them. To avoid ruining clothing, your teen should learn how to do laundry according to type and color of clothing and how much detergent to use. Particularly stress the importance of changing the lint in the dryer vent. While it may seem obvious to adults, most teens don’t know that an excess buildup of lint can lead to fires.

A penny for your thoughts.

Whether your child works or not, knowing how to budget is a crucial life skill. It’s okay to eat out with friends or go to the movies, but it is important for them to know how much to spend on entertainment and how much to set aside for groceries, gas, or even school supplies. Sit down and create a budget together before your senior leaves. Explain each part of the budget and why it is necessary. Understanding how to handle a personal checking account is also important. Then, they will be ready to do this on their own each and every semester or year!

The doctor is in.

Chances are, you have been scheduling doctor and dentist appointments for your child his entire life. Now, it’s time for him to learn how to do it, especially if he is attending college in another city. Give your senior the contact information, and share any necessary information, such as what your insurance plan covers or how much a copay might be. If your senior is moving away for college, do some research together and come up with a list of recommended doctors in the area in case a trip off campus is required.

These life skills are things adults take for granted, but to your children, these tips and tricks can help calm their fears of new beginnings and set them up to succeed. With this new abundance of helpful information, both you and your senior should both feel prepared to send him off to school ready to have a great, and safe, year. ■

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30 Dec 2016

By Joy Holden and Madeline Rathle

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