Attending college can be fun and exciting, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. College is often the first time that young adults find themselves away from the comfort and security of their family homes. As a result, students must learn how to take care of themselves. Many refer to this process as “adulting.”

While “adulting” may sound daunting, it can be an excellent opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. With a bit of time and effort, you can acquire all the skills you need to thrive in your adult life.

In this post, we’ll outline some essential skills for students to learn that will carry them throughout college and life.

Financial Literacy

Going away to college is often the first time young adults must navigate the “real world,” and unfortunately, the real world can be expensive. Because of this, becoming financially literate and getting your finances in order as soon as possible is vital. Doing so ensures you meet your everyday living expenses and positions you on a positive path toward long-term financial health.

Consider opening a bank account if you don’t already have one. It’s never too early to begin building credit. Using a credit card has perks and will make it easier to take out loans down the line, but remember that you must use a credit card responsibly (pay off the full amount each month) to reap the benefits. 

Take a close look at your income (including loans) and expenses, and create a budget that aligns with your goals. The money you have coming in should be greater than the amount you spend. 

It’s best to divide up your expenses into the following categories so you can make adjustments in flexible areas if needed:

  • Accommodations
  • Additional bills (insurance, medical, phone, etc.)
  • College-related expenses (textbooks, supplies, etc.)
  • Entertainment/socializing
  • Food

As a rule of thumb, a majority of your income should go toward your necessities. The rest can be allocated toward the things that you want. Knowing the difference between needs and wants is hugely crucial to financial success. 

It can also be helpful to practice comparison shopping, in which you seek out the best value for a specific item, rather than impulse buying, which can wreak havoc on your bank balance.

Household Management

Many students are excited about living away from their parents, but they’re less enthused by the prospect of managing all the household duties their parents typically perform in the family home.

When living independently, you are the only one responsible for managing your household. This involves preparing meals, adhering to a cleaning schedule, and maintaining a tidy space.

You don’t have to be a whizz in the kitchen to eat well. By bulk cooking simple meals, you can eat healthy, delicious food while keeping your grocery costs to a minimum. 

Even if you have roommates, you will be responsible for maintaining a clean environment. It’s much easier to have an ongoing cleaning habit than it is to deep clean your apartment once it has gotten out of control.

Keeping a minimalist, well-organized living area is the key to staying on top of cleaning, so don’t let the clutter build up. Keep items in their rightful place, and donate items you no longer need. 

Time Management

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of college. There’s always something fun to do! But remember that, first and foremost, you’re at college to work toward your career goals. As such, it’s important to prioritize your activities to ensure you spend the appropriate amount of time on things that matter most.

Keeping a schedule, either on your phone or on a physical calendar, will make it easier to meet all of your obligations. Your academics should be your top priority, followed by your personal/social time and extracurricular activities. 

Health and Wellness

College students have a long list of things to do, so it’s easy for health and wellness to slip. However, maintaining your health and wellness is paramount for success in college. After all, it can enhance brain function and give you the energy to keep fatigue at bay.

Looking after your overall well-being involves prioritizing nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Some tips include:

  • Eating a balanced diet consisting of nutritious foods
  • Joining a gym or sports team
  • Journaling, spending time in nature, and getting plenty of rest


Being an adult involves knowing how to coexist well with others. You will encounter plenty of new people at college, including professors, classmates, and roommates. Navigating these interactions will be much easier if you know how to communicate effectively. 

Remember that communication is about active listening as much as it is about expressing your thoughts. In moments of conflict, listen to gain insight and empathy before sharing your perspective.

It’s easy to enjoy relationships when things are going well, but many people have trouble confronting and resolving conflict. Taking time to cultivate this skill through books, podcasts, and more can dramatically improve your living arrangements, group projects, and social dynamics.

Developing your communication skills can have long-term benefits, too. The relationships you build in college may continue into your professional life after graduation. Having strong people skills can be invaluable when it comes to getting your career underway. 

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, regulate, and articulate your own emotions and the emotions of others. This skill takes time and experience to learn, but once you do, it will serve you for the rest of your life.

Self-awareness and self-reflection are the best ways to increase your emotional intelligence. Everyone makes mistakes in life, and that’s okay as long as you learn from them.

Empathy and open-mindedness will also serve you well, especially when interacting with people of different backgrounds. You can cultivate your emotional intelligence by building interpersonal relationships with those closest to you, most notably your roommates

Contact Sunrise Village

You won’t master the art of “adulting” overnight, and that’s okay. It’s a process that takes a lifetime to grasp.

By prioritizing the life skills we’ve outlined above, you’ll develop a level of maturity that greatly enhances your college experience. After all, you’re not just at college for academic purposes; you’re there to grow as an individual. 

If you’re embarking on your college adventure, choose Sunrise Village as your first home away from home. Contact our office for more information or to schedule a tour.