Skills every 18 year old should have – according to Stanford

Whether you are entering the job market or enrolling in university, there are certain skills you should have acquired. (StockSnap)

If you want to make sure that you’re off to a good start, here are 8 skills the former Stanford dean, Julie Lythcott-Haims, reckons every 18 year old should have acquired already.

When you’re 18, finished matric and going to university, or trying to figure out what direction you will take in life, you probably feel like you are ready to handle what is coming. This is not uncommon.

If you want to make sure that you’re off to a good start, here are 8 skills the former Stanford dean, Julie Lythcott-Haims, reckons every 18 year old should have acquired already.

1. Talk to strangers

Kids are often taught not to talk to strangers. This results in many young people not knowing how to properly approach strangers for help or guidance. Some of them are too shy, others don’t know how to respectfully approach a stranger, or nervously avoid eye contact. Once you’re 18 and are becoming more and more independent, you should be able to talk to strangers without always having this awkward feeling.

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2. Find your way around

Whether it’s your way around campus, or around the city where you are studying or working abroad, an 18 year old should be able to find her way. You need to be able to figure out the local public transport options and routes on your own or smaller things like checking your car’s oil and water and changing a tyre. Your parents can’t and shouldn’t keep driving you around forever.

3. Manage workload

Once you turn 18, you should’ve learned how to manage your workload and meet deadlines. You need to be able to prioritize and plan your assignments more than one day beforehand. You could use an agenda with reminders for instance, because there is a point in life where your parents will stop asking when your homework is due. This is also important for your career as self-control and self-discipline are skills that’ll get you noticed by upper management fast.

4. Contribute to the household

When you are 18, often you start living on your own close to your campus or on-campus. You will need to know how to look after your own needs, and know how to respect the needs of housemates. By now, you should’ve learned how to do your fair share of all the work that goes into running a household.

5. Handle interpersonal problems

We all run into interpersonal problems from time to time. Whether it’s discussions with friends, classmates, roommates or colleagues, once you are 18, your mom won’t have the time to step in anymore to solve misunderstandings and to console you. You need to know how to cope with issues and resolve conflicts without any intervention.

6. Cope with ups and downs

When you’re 18, you’re finally free. While you can choose your own direction and make your own commitments, you also need to be able to cope with the ups and downs this will bring with it. Things won’t always go the way you expect them to go, but you need to be okay regardless.

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7. Earn and manage money

Most 18 year olds really want to be independent. Being independent means that you also have to be able to earn and manage money. You will need to be responsible for your own income, get to know the cost of things and manage your needs within your budget. Home loans, car insurance, and credit records are new words you have to consider from now onwards

8. Take risks

Lastly, many teens can’t wait until they’re 18 so they can make their own decisions. This implies that you will have to make difficult choices from time to time without knowing the outcome. You will have to take risks at some points in life, and you should be able to do this without consulting your parents every time. In life, you need the skill to quickly make decisions and take risks sometimes while always remaining aware of the consequences.

It is only afterwards that many of us are able to admit (or realise) that they actually lacked a lot of skills when they were 18, and have had to learn many more things ever since. This list gives you an advantage so that you can start working on the skills you lack to prepare yourself for a brighter future. 


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