Transitioning into adulthood isn’t easy for anyone, but there are certain skills you absolutely need to know before you leave home and live like a real adult. I’ve tried to list some of the most important here. To some, this list may seem fairly obvious, but to many people, these are things that have never come up before in their lives.
Know how to leave a voicemail.
Chances are, at some point in your adult life, you’ll need to *shudder* call someone on the phone. Even worse, you’re probably going to have to leave a message. With most conversations in our generation now taking place over text, I’ve discovered that very few people actually know how to leave a good telephone message. Until I started working a job that required me to respond to my manager’s voicemails, I hadn’t realized how important it is to leave a good, professional message. Seriously, nothing is worse than trying to interpret someone who is mumbling, forgot to include their name, and blasted through their phone number so fast that I hadn’t even gotten my pen out by the time the message was over.
The best voicemails I’ve ever heard sound something like this:
“Hi, my name is First-name Last-name. I am calling because reason-for-calling. Again, my name is First-name Last-name. My phone number is SLOWLY-and-CLEARLY-give-phone-number. *pause* Again, that’s REPEAT-phone-number-slowly. Thank you, bye.”
Bonus points if you leave the date and time of your phone call in your message, too!
Know how to write a check.
Writing a check really isn’t hard at all, and it’s easily google-able if you’re not sure how to do it, but it’s a good thing to know how to do ahead of time. Nothing says “unprofessional child” like having your landlord watch as you have to pull out your phone and search the web before you can hand them your security deposit.
On that note, you will also need to own a stack of checks. Yeah, you may only need to pay by check like twice a year, but during those two times, it’s really nice to actually have them available. So, before you start living on your own, set up a proper checking account, own some checks, and learn how to fill one out.
Also, figure out how to deposit or cash a check. Most banks will let you deposit checks on your phone now, so go ahead and download that app!
You should also know how to spot a fake check.
Know how to address and mail a letter.
When I first moved out, my mom laughed at me when I had to call her and ask her how to buy stamps, and then again when I asked where I was supposed to write what on the envelope, but hello, I live in a generation of text and email! This was literally my first time ever having to do this.
So, to prevent your mom from laughing at you, know that sending something via the postal service requires three things: 1) You must own envelopes. 2) You must own stamps. 3) You must be able to properly address the letter.
Envelopes can be bought pretty much anywhere (post office, Walmart, grocery store, etc.), and stamps, while obviously available at the post-office, can often be purchased at banks, large pharmacy chains (CVS, Walgreens, etc.), or even some gas stations. As for addressing the envelope, here you go.
When you get to your new apartment, make sure to ask your landlord how outgoing mail is handled, because it might not be totally obvious.
Know your social security number.
If you haven’t done so already, memorize your social. Seriously, I’ve lost track of how many different forms I’ve had to put my social on since beginning my first move (and how many times I had to pause and make everyone wait while I found where I kept it written, since I didn’t have it memorized). You’re going to need to use it for the rest of your life, so save yourself the trouble later on and just learn it now.