College is about more than Nietzsche, lattes and theoretical physics; it’s also the place you really grow into adulthood. It’s the transition between living with your parents and living on your own, and if you don’t fully exploit it you could be cheating yourself out of half the experience. So in between the Frisbee and the cram sessions, think about doing the following things:
1.) Adult-ize your email address: Once it was cute to be HelloKitty15, VixenVamp, or ItalianStalion919. And that time has passed. There’s something very high school about those xx’s and references to Final Fantasy, and like it or not, your email address will be judged by your professors, your friends and the hiring manager of that place you’ve wanted to intern at forever. From now on, the email you give shows a lot about you, and it doesn’t hurt if it’s easy to remember. This means using just your name, on a respectable site, with as few random numbers or letters as possible.
2.) Get a checking account: Even if you’re fortunate enough to have someone paying your bills, getting a checking account of your own is an essential step toward becoming independent. And a debit card is a necessity for buying textbooks online if your bookstore is out of them.
3.) Establish good credit: Credit is necessary to get a car, an apartment and the hundred other things that you’ll need after graduation; and the best way to establish credit is with a credit card. Remember, a debit card isn’t the same thing as a credit card, and won’t affect your credit score. But while debit cards allow you to spend money that you already have in the bank, credit cards allow you to spend money that you don’t necessarily have, and for this reason they can be dangerous. Only buy what you can afford to pay off, immediately, at the end of every month.
4.) Create your resume: I won’t go too far into how to write a killer resume, but suffice it to say that you should have one, and maybe two (different jobs call for different experience and your resume should reflect this; visit your college career center for help on writing them). And consider finding it some good content before graduation. Work during the summers, spend some time at an internship, join a club that will look good to a future employer. Remember, college is probably the last time you’ll be able to work for free – and when you graduate, jobs are going to want to see that you have experience.
5.) Practice good hygiene: Obviously. But something about not having the same rigid schedule just makes it easy to let yourself go a little. (When people have the day off work, they’re ten times more likely to go without brushing their teeth.) So it’s easy to fall into the college student slump of rolling out of bed and stumbling into class in pajamas. There’s nothing wrong with this necessarily, but not practicing daily cleaning rituals is a real good way to get sick. Plus your roommate will hate you. And I speak from experience when I say that patchouli doesn’t work.
6.) Get a doctor: If you’re still seeing your pediatrician, this is a good time to get a big-people doctor; but even if you’re not, you’re probably far enough from home to make seeing your regular doctor impractical. Your insurance (or your parents’ insurance) will let you change your primary care physician. Check the company website for one in your area.
7.) Tidy up once in a while, huh? Seriously. I know it can get hectic at school, but every so often just give your room a quick once-over with the swiffer. Not only will it make you happier and more productive (this is scientifically proven), but your friends will want to visit you more.
8.) Join a sport, or at least visit the gym: Why do you think the dreaded freshman fifteen happens? Back in high-school, you had state mandated phys-ed, and you didn’t have an all-you-can-eat buffet style cafeteria. The nature of high school made you more active whether you cared to be or not – and it’s very easy to lounge around in bed for hours when you don’t have class until 3. Now that you’re a grown-up, make sure you don’t forget to eat semi-healthily – and try to get some exercise.
9.) Buy some work clothes: A huge part of being an adult is dressing like one. Whether for an internship, a job interview, or just to get the compliments, sometimes you’ll want to dress up nice. And when you do, you’ll be glad you have some button-down shirts, a tie (practice tying it!) and a nice pair of slacks.
10.) Learn to cook one thing well: Be it a killer grilled cheese or shrimp scampi, you should always have at least one menu item for when you really want to impress a date (or for when the restaurant off-campus is closed due to ermine infestation).
11.) Have fun, occasionally.