Ah, summer. The perfect time of the year to relax, lounge by the pool and learn how to be a proper adult.
Yes, you read that last one right. Between filing taxes, polishing résumés and learning how to cook, those essential skills that you keep saying you’ll acquire “when I grow up” can seem a little intimidating.
But if you take the time to learn some of these basic skills now, you’ll be #adulting in no time.
Budget and Save
Even if you’re working a part-time minimum wage job on the side, saving part of your paycheck now is a good idea. Having a little extra cash can save you in an emergency, or just help you get to that #bucketlist trip to Europe after graduation. Use some of your free time this summer to learn to keep track of your spending by downloading a budgeting app like Mint (iOS | Android). Don’t have a savings account? Now’s the time to make an appointment and meet those friendly folks at your bank so you have a safe place to keep your savings (and earn interest!).
Take Care of Your Car
If you live in or around Houston, your car is probably pretty important to you. With great car comes great responsibility — you should know when to schedule an oil change (or do it yourself), how to check your tire pressure and what all those lights on the dashboard mean (they’re important)! It also doesn’t hurt to learn how to change a tire in case of an emergency. Ask a mechanic or knowledgeable friend for help if you’re not sure about some of these, or search for a reputable source online.
Understand Work Benefits
In the real world of job offers, it’s not all about salary. Understanding the different types of benefits offered by employers will help you make the best job decision and leverage the benefits you’ll receive. Research different types of retirement plans, healthcare options and stock ownership plans to figure out what’ll work best for you. Don’t know where to start? Bauer College’s Rockwell Career Center counselors can help students and alumni navigate job offers.
Give a Great Presentation
Public speaking can be terrifying for adults of all ages, but once you’re in the professional world, you’re probably going to be expected to do it at some point. Master the skill now by joining a public speaking group (UH Toastmasters) this summer, and look for other opportunities to give speeches or talks in front of a crowd. It might be intimidating at first, but knowing that you’ve done it before will help you feel confident in the future.
A New Language
Houston is an international city, and our campus is one of the country’s most diverse research universities. With our world is becoming more connected every day, it’s helpful to recognize basic phrases in other languages. You might not have enough time between now and August to become fluent in a new language, but you can get a start. Download an app like Duolingo (iOS | Android), which helps you learn a new language as you play short games every day, or install the Google chrome extension Mind the Word which translates random online words into another language (you can view the English translation by scrolling over them).
You don’t have to become Barefoot Contessa, but your recipe repertoire should include at least a few meals. Surviving on fast food and ramen might have been convenient in college, but constantly buying and eating takeout gets expensive (and unhealthy) in the real world. Buy a cheap cookbook online or search millions of recipes on Pinterest to become a cooking expert this summer. No one has to know you only have a few signature dishes.
Sharpen Your Technology Skills
Most college students are now well versed in social media apps, software updates and emojis. But chances are there’s still a technology skill out there you have yet to tackle. Use your free time this summer to learn something new, like how to work Photoshop, how to code or how to design a proper website. While these skills might not seem immediately relevant to your job, you’ll set yourself apart as an employee by learning them.
Handle Everyday Emergencies
Things like losing a button on a blouse, forgetting your wallet or locking your keys inside your car are bound to happen, but they don’t have to turn a good day into the Worst. Day. Ever. The more prepared you are to face small disasters, the better your chances of quickly surviving them. Spend time this summer making plans on how to deal with everyday emergencies before they happen to you — get a spare set of keys, keep emergency change in your car and purchase a small sewing kit (and learn how to use it) for for wardrobe malfunctions.
By Priscilla Aceves