News flash: Adulting is hard. Honestly, it should be illegal at this point. But there’s no stopping the roles and tasks we must prepare for as we grow older. Your teen years just happen to be a great time to pick on skills to learn in life, helping you get more independent and responsible as you near your 20s.
The formal education system prepares you to be informed and educated, tackling life with theory, historic facts, and calculated solutions. On the other hand, life skills are about facing the unexpected, caring for yourself and being as prepared as you can be.
Hold on — before you choose to scroll further or out of this article, ask yourself this question: How prepared am I for life during & after college? If you rated yourself poorly, here is a list of life skills every teenager must learn early on in their life, in no particular order:
Learning to manage your time is a handy skill to learn, especially come university days. It’s only then that you’re suddenly expected to manage your own time and work around schedules you never thought were possible before. You also need time for your hobbies, spending time with friends & family and other extracurricular activities.
Planning meals, doing your laundry, learning how to repair the smallest to largest of appliances (at least the basics), fixing light bulbs and cooking yourself a (simple) meal are basic life skills you should learn as a teen. Work with your parents or caretaker to create a schedule that makes you responsible for some of these chores.
Money Management & Budgeting
Here’s a tip: Download a wallet/budgeting apps or create a simple spreadsheet to track all your expenses, however minor they may be as a teen. Record small and big spends and work around a pre-set budget that works best for you and your family. While you’re at it, learn how to pay bills correctly and on time. Most importantly, stick to the budget you make.
It’s easily one of those skills that feels less like a skill and more like a punishment the more you wrap your head around it. But learning to file your own taxes as an adult will save you a lot of money and keep you more aligned with your finances too. For one, sit with your parent/caretaker and understand how much of your money is deducted as tax and then learn to file your returns correctly.
Another one in the same alley of money and finances is learning how to bank. Understanding how to open your very own bank account, using the ATM, transferring funds, writing a cheque, banking online, etc are extremely important life skills to have. Walking into a bank can be pretty overwhelming so get the help you need from an adult you trust and be ready with all the answers the banker might ask.
Cleanliness & Personal Hygiene
Can you diagnose basic illnesses? What do you do when you’ve got a cut or scab? Many of these things are ingrained in us from a very young age. But once you’re off being an adult at a university, you won’t have someone to look after you every time you’re unwell. So learn the basics of first aid & personal hygiene, and ensure you stick to them for your own personal benefit.
Handling Small Emergencies
Quick trivia: If someone asked you to check if the power has tripped, where do you go and what do you check for? How do you know if your electricity has, in fact, tripped? What if someone asked you to turn off the water main or use a fire extinguisher in an emergency? You may not find it important to know now, but someday you’ll need these essential life skills to survive.
This skill comes in handy during your university years when networking and socializing have the power to define your future. You should know how to carry on a conversation with adults, and better converse with fellow students and potential employers. Even basic manners, such as saying “please” and “thank you” need to be ingrained into your mind as they help make a good first impression.
Now here’s a bonus life skill you didn’t think you needed: Learning to say no, often and with as little guilt as possible. Sometimes it’s okay to not do everything everyone expects you to. It’s okay. So learn to say no and do only what you can/want to/feel safe doing.
Life skills cannot be learned in a textbook, sitting in a classroom, or through a one-time conversation. You’ve got to get into the nitty-gritty and learn through practice. With Uable, you get the opportunity to put your textbook knowledge to the practical test and learn those life skills through real-world challenges. It helps prepare you better and makes you more confident in the long run!
Start connecting with teens on the Uable app today!