Before you graduate, there are many things you should know before you truly go out on your own and get a “real” job.  You might think, “I am on my own.” But you’re not.  I would venture to guess that the majority of college students are not completely independent -— financially or otherwise. The vital knowledge I speak of does not consist of writing awesome papers or acing exams.  In real life, being “book smart” doesn’t cut it.  This knowledge comes from what some call “street smarts,” or useful skills that can be applied to everyday life.  To lead a successful and independent life, learn these skills. Calling your mommy on a weekly basis to seek help on how to do laundry or clean your toilet will no longer be acceptable.  Don’t fear, though; you still have time to learn.  And none of these things take a rocket scientist to figure out.

Before you are thrown out on your own, learn to…

Cook

Unless you immediately make six figures, it will be very difficult to afford takeout on a daily basis.  If you’ve lived off campus at all, you’ve probably already begun to realize this.  If not, although you may not be too sad about leaving campus food behind, it will soon be clear that cooking at home can save you a ridiculous amount of money, and you will be healthier, too.  This doesn’t mean you have to be a gourmet chef — just learn to follow simple recipes.  Warning: If you can’t make mac and cheese, or the process of heating stuff on the stove baffles you, you may be in trouble.

Pay your bills

Bills for your credit card, rent, electricity and all utilities must be paid ON TIME.  Don’t mess up your credit or you won’t be able to make those big, vital purchases like renting an apartment or buying a car on your own.

Save the dough

This goes hand in hand with paying your bills and learning to cook at home.  In order to be able to pay for everything, you can’t buy whatever you want. You don’t have your parents’ credit card [hopefully], so now it’s time to learn what you actually need.  Don’t buy stuff just because it’s on sale.

Make coffee

Starbucks is expensive, and if you drink it everyday, it adds up fast.  If you don’t know already, you should definitely learn how to make your own.  It’s quite simple; trust me.

Manage your alcohol consumption wisely

Work with a hangover is not equivalent to class with a hangover.  Plus, you can’t skip.  Using your brain, completing significant tasks and working with co-workers requires a certain level of concentration that is difficult to achieve with nausea, fatigue and a splitting headache.  Not paying attention to a couple lectures for a few hours is quite different.

Take care of your clothes

Wrinkles aren’t in style in the workplace.  Learning to iron is therefore quite important in the professional world.  Learning to sew on buttons could definitely come in handy, as well, because it is inevitable that a few will fall off in your lifetime.  Most importantly, however, is to learn how to properly do laundry.  Do you separate colors and whites?  Do you know when to use hot settings versus cold ones?  Which clothes are okay to put in the dryer?

Have good hygiene and be clean

College students may not always adhere to the principles of good hygiene and are often quite messy and disorganized.  Now is the time to pull it together.  Shower on a daily basis. Put things away in their proper place.  Learn how to clean everything — from the toilet to the shower to the countertops and shelves.  Dusting, vacuuming, disinfecting and scrubbing are all part of life.

Practice patience

Chances are, you won’t immediately land your dream job.  Realize that you don’t know everything and be patient when learning how to do your job well.  With patience, your education and basic life skills, you can succeed.