Top Life Skills Students Need When Staying Away from Home

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Leaving home to start the next, exciting chapter of your student life can be an exhilarating experience. It’s when you are ready to navigate the world on your own, when you are no longer in the comfort of your home and under the protective, watchful eyes of your parents. And this is when you realise that your life as an adult has finally begun. It’s a great place to be.

However, as much as the change is liberating, it can also get overwhelming. You need to hone your life skills and start to manage everything on your own – from taking care of yourself, to managing your finances; you’ll have to balance it all.
Here’s a look at the top life skills you will need when staying away from home.

First Aid

From a minor sprain to a month-long medication, things can escalate very quickly when you don’t know the basics of first aid. Knowing how to administer first aid at home, therefore, is a basic necessity, especially when you are living by yourself.
A first aid kit can be of variety of sizes. It could be brought with you even when you go out camping or hiking. Here’s a list of essential things you can put into a first aid kit:

  • plasters (different sizes and shapes)
  • sterile gauze dressings (all sizes)
  • sterile eye dressings
  • triangular bandages
  • crêpe rolled bandages
  • safety pins
  • disposable sterile gloves
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • sticky tape
  • digital thermometer
  • painkillers (paracetamol, aspirin, etc)
  • alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • skin rash cream
  • antiseptic cream
  • cough medicine

There are certain first aid skills that you will need to learn in case of emergency, including-

  • how to clean a wound
  • how to stop sever bleeding
  • how to apply CPR
  • how to treat a sprain
  • how to treat a burn
  • how to treat shock

When you have these in place, you will know what to do next in emergency while you wait for professional medical help.

Time Management

Living on your own also means that you will be responsible for managing your schedule- from breakfast to dinner. How you complete your assignments and manage your class hours or your social activities all boils down to how well you manage your time.
Time management will help you work smarter, not harder. And that’s something you would need when you are trying to switch between new place and a new course. Let us look at few of the to-do list to manage your time-

  • Create a morning routine: This will give your day a structure and your day can be more successful this way.
  • Set task based on urgency: when you note down tasks based on priority your subconscious mind will ultimately start to focus on the task/s.
  • Get task manager/time management app: Such technology is required so that you do not let any task slip past you. Evernote, Pocket and Trello are few of the apps you can start with.

Set a time-limit for each task: When you work on a time-constraint, you will push yourself to focus and work more efficiently. Don’t work beyond the set time.

Money Management

One of the other things that you need to check is managing your finance. When it comes to your finance, the few questions you need to ask yourself-

  • Are you spending beyond your means?
  • Is all your spending necessary?
  • Are you saving money in the right places?

Financial responsibility needs to be acquired at a young age. And if you did not, this is the right time to start. Here are few things you can keep in mind to start managing your finance-

  • Set a budget and stick to it
  • Avoid getting in debt by avoiding credit cards etc
  • Balance your bank account by writing down all your expenses for every month
  • Always make a bargain when you can
  • Always ask yourself – do I need this? – while shopping

You can start managing your finance by following this 50/20/30 budgeting rule by ZING, i.e.

  • 50 per cent for essential expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, etc.
  • 20 per cent for savings or repayment
  • 30 per cent for entertainment or non-essentials
Basic Housekeeping

Here’s the most important skill that will make your living (alone) a lot easier. It may not seem like an important skills to have (because, till now, mom was probably taking care of it all!)  but you need to be on top of this. Messy surroundings and clutter tend to get the better of you and could affect your studying. Before you set off from home, you need to keep updated with the basic housekeeping skills from preparing meals to even cleaning the room. To start, lets list down the basic housekeeping skills you should learn-

  • Cleaning the house: there is no excuses in keeping your room/s disorganised. Start from making your bed, doing your laundry and speed cleaning the room/s.
  • Cooking your meals: take-outs are always not practical; you need to start cooking your own meal. If you are not big on cooking, start with low-effort dishes such as pasta, macaroni, etc.
  • Basic sewing: you need to learn fixing your own buttons when it falls off. You don’t need a machine, just a needle and a thread would do to help you fix your button or hem.
  • Unclog toilet/sink: get a plunger ready with you for when your toilet gets clogged and you do not want guests walking into an overflown toilet. Start looking up on tutorials as well, even though plunger would always do the trick.
Staying Positive

Your ability to stay positive through challenging times will always be your biggest (intangible) life skill. The rapid changes in the way we live in today’s (COVID) world can easily overwhelm us, but you’ve should remember that the only thing to do in difficult times is to find a way to get through them positively. Easier said, it’s true, but whenever you feel too overwhelmed, there are two things you must remember to do:

  • Recognise things you’ve accomplished: Think about the things you have accomplished in the last month- it could be physical, mental or emotional struggle. Remembering how you overcame these challenges will give you a positive boost.
  • Remind yourself of the good things in your life: What are the things in your life that you are grateful for? Who are the persons in your life that you are grateful for? Reminding yourself and making a list of these will move you toward a positive direction.

Besides these, eating healthy and exercising daily will also help you stay physically and mentally fit.You will be surprised at how we tend to ignore learning these essential skills in spite of it being one of the most important life skills.

Whether you are living on campus or in a rented apartment, these are critical, survival skills to have.

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