By Cyndi Buckley
Gone are the days where high school students have Home Ec, the in-school class that teaches how to cook, sew on a button, tie a tie, prep a budget, and other necessary life skills taught by people other than your parents. Today, young adults are grinding their lives with hectic schedules, including school demands, after-school activities, and test prep, with the added pressure to do well in all of these areas. This lifestyle has created fried and fragile people as they head out into the world independently for the first time. They find themselves in an environment where making a small decision becomes impossible.
We need to prepare young adults to handle some of the small stuff that will come at them throughout the day. More than two-thirds of young adults 18-23 say they are anxious and feel unprepared to leave home. We need to emphasize giving them the day-to-day tools they need to guide their lives and provide them with the confidence to succeed on their own.
There are some areas to focus on that will help them organize their lives and give them an excellent foundation for making smart decisions.
- Taking care of themselves – Nutrition, hydration, and sleep. Young adults need to understand how eating and drinking will impact their day. Also, they need to know how critical sleep is and establishing a routine.
- Time management – They are leaving the environment that pushes them throughout their day to having only 15 hours a week of class time. There is still more to be done, but up to them to schedule those tasks. I recommend creating a schedule with blocks of time set aside for class, studying, meals, showering, free time, cleaning, laundry, working out, and any activities or clubs, so they have a roadmap for the week. Use the timer function on the phone to take a break from studying for 15 mins to check in with social media. A better planned day will keep them in control.
- Financial literacy – Talk about money, and please don’t avoid this subject. A job is a good way for them to take a more active role in financial freedom (they might wait until the 2nd semester to get familiar with school). Discuss credit cards and try to avoid the many offers that will come their way during this time. Figure out needs vs. wants and how to incorporate a splurge when they can afford it. MINT is one of the better apps to use to help manage their expenses.
- Health and safety – Young adults accept this responsibility from their parents and need to know some signs and pitfalls to be more aware. From looking up valuables, taking pictures of serial numbers for laptops and phones, not walking alone, responsible drinking, and so many other safety tips. Also, they need to understand when they are starting to get rundown how to care for themselves. Heat pads, tea, mild foods, OTC medicine, and rest are approaches they need to know.
- Cleaning, laundry, organizing – A clean space allows for an organized life. Now is the time for young adults to tap into their inner Marie Kondo and start to create habits that will bring them joy and peace. These are mundane tasks but can be spiced up a bit with a podcast, a tv show, doing them with a friend, or just enjoy the silence. These are also tasks that need to be taught, including knowing the right supplies, how often to do them, and how not to do it wrong. There are a few tricks to make these jobs easier (for example, a Shout color catcher is perfect for smaller laundry loads and mixing colors).
Test-taking and studying are not the only skills young adults need to know. We have swung the pendulum so far towards this prep, we have lost sight of some necessary skills everyone will need to know to function well daily.
Cyndi Buckley created the OYO Academy to help this group of people gain the confidence they need to go on their own. For more information on OYO Academy visit https://theoyoacademy.com/