50 Essential Things Your Young Adult Should Know

50 Essential Things Your Young Adult Should Know

The moment comes. Your teen is ready to go to college or your young adult is going into the workforce. You innerly freak-out, wondering if you’ve prepared them.

At least I did.

50 Things

Nothing prepares a parent for this moment.

When my oldest started her senior year in college, I wrote down 50 things I wanted her to know. I’m sharing my list of 50 essential things I thought she, as a young adult, should know. Here’s my list, as written to her:

Your world is different than mine when I went to college. There are more opportunities but also more areas where wisdom and discernment is needed. These skills develop over time. Your life is your own now.  Before you leave, here are fifty things I’ve learned about life I want you to know:

  1. Use common sense when dealing with people, institutions, and situations.  When in doubt, trust your gut.
  2. Your way is not the only way.
  3. Cleaning up after yourself right away is just easier.
  4. Don’t give out your personal information to anyone unless you need to for business, professional, or personal reasons.
  5. Cheap is not always better. Expensive is not always quality.
  6. Creepy people are out there.
  7. Be kind to others, but you don’t have to be their friend if they are not healthy or appropriate to be in a relationship with you.
  8. Go to a doctor when you think you need to.
  9. Pay your bills on time.
  10. Don’t carry credit card debt. 
  11. Watch for hidden fees in business transactions. You don’t need “all the extras.”
  12. If it’s too good to be true, it is.
  13. Be thankful for at least five things every day.
  14. How your present yourself is what others will think of you.
  15. If it doesn’t feel right, wait, or don’t do it.
  16. Don’t buy meat that is grey or brown when it should be pink.
  17.        First impressions really do matter.
  18.        Budget for your necessities first and make sure you can pay for them. Get necessary debt paid off as soon as possible, including student loans.
  19.        Stay away from people with bad pick-up lines. Or good pick-up lines unless you want to have sex with them. You’re not in Kansas anymore.
  20.        Sex isn’t love, and love isn’t sex. 
  21.        Open the door for others.
  22.        Take risks.
  23.        Don’t take stupid risks. Have common sense {see #1)
  24.        Build relationships with your siblings. You have relationships with them for life.
  25.        Don’t hold grudges.
  26.        You can’t change anybody but yourself.
  27.        Keep in touch with your grandparents.
  28.        Don’t say display anything on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook you wouldn’t want a future boss, spouse, or mother-in-law to see.
  29.        Don’t throw credit card receipts or statements with personal information in the trash no matter where you live.
  30.        Don’t get into a car with a stranger.
  31.        If you can’t find a job, McDonalds is always hiring.
  32.        Marriage is hard work
  33.        Extend grace to others.
  34.        Don’t judge people who were not raised like you.
  35.        Don’t expect your future spouse to be like me or your dad. 
  36.        Earn your way in life but give to others and graciously receive when something is given to you.
  37.        Air-dry any clothes you don’t want to shrink or look worn.
  38.        Clothes pins can be found at a hardware store.
  39.        Don’t microwave anything with metal.
  40.        You need to brown a roast before putting it in the oven or crockpot.
  41.        Kids are cute but don’t have them unless you’re ready to give up your time and energy to someone else.
  42.        Find good in a situation no matter what the circumstance.
  43.        You’ll figure it out.
  44.        You need health insurance, life insurance, car insurance, and renter’s or home-owner’s insurance.
  45.        Be cautious when walking in dark hallways. Park under lights in a parking lot at night.
  46.        Be generous with kind words as long as they are genuine.
  47.        Don’t order things from TV advertisements.
  48.        You can learn to do just about anything. Most of what your dad and I know we didn’t know when we were your age.
  49.        Don’t be afraid to try new things.
  50.         I will be waiting at the door for you no matter what.

It’s a tough job sending your kids into a new world. What additional tips would you add?

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Brenda has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in education. She's a speaker, freelance writer, author, counselor and teacher who's spent two decades working with and raising teenagers. She's a mom of four, from middle school to young adult, and lives with her family on a farm in Indiana. She writes about life, faith, and parenting beyond the storybook image at Life Beyond the Picket Fence at brendayoder.com.

Brenda Yoder

Brenda has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in education. She's a speaker, freelance writer, author, counselor and teacher who's spent two decades working with and raising teenagers. She's a mom of four, from middle school to young adult, and lives with her family on a farm in Indiana. She writes about life, faith, and parenting beyond the storybook image at Life Beyond the Picket Fence at brendayoder.com.

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