Freshman Firsts: How to Handle Your First Adult Hurdles By Eileen O'Shanassy

The first year in college is often one of the most challenging times in a young student’s life. Not only is there a new set of academic standards you have to meet, you must also learn how to take care of yourself and live on your own for the first time. But jumping those adult hurdles like filing taxes, doing your FAFSA, and dealing with mold can be more difficult than you might imagine. Luckily, just a little organization and dedication can make your first year of adult life a successful one.

The Basics: Cooking, Cleaning, and Caring for Yourself

For many college freshmen, the most daunting task is taking care of yourself. One of the first skills to learn is feeding yourself. Food is expensive and preparing it can be time-consuming. Always make a list before you go grocery shopping to avoid making unnecessary purchases. While you shop, keep track of how much the items in your cart cost (use a calculator, or keep a tally on top of the list). This will help you to avoid any accidental overspending. Meal planning can also help keep costs down. Figure out what you will cook ahead of time, and try to make recipes that will reuse the same ingredients. Avoid trying to live off noodles. It may be cheap, but it isn’t good for your health in the long run.

Keeping your home clean is also a crucial skill to have. Instead of waiting until the mess is intolerable, make a cleaning schedule and stick to it. This way, you can spend less time and effort by doing a little each day. If you need help creating a cleaning schedule, head to Pinterest and modify one to fit your own needs. Self-care and hygiene are immensely important as well. Shower daily, brush your teeth and hair, and try to keep up with your laundry. If you have never washed clothes before, do not be afraid to ask a friend or call up your parent to walk you through it. Pro Tip: Aim to wash laundry once a week to cut down on smelly baskets and to avoid running out of undies.

Major Purchases

If you are choosing to neither stay at home or live in on-campus housing, you will need to rent your first apartment. To save money, you should strongly consider having at least one roommate. It will cut down on living expenses and keep you from feeling lonely during your first year away from your family. Make sure your roommates are not just people that you like to be around, they also need to be able to clean up after themselves, pay their share of the bills on time, and be respectful of the people they live with. Being thorough about roommate compatibility at the outset will cut down on future drama.

Transportation options are also a major issue for many students. Invest in a good bike or a bus pass to help you get from place to place. If your college or university is in a larger city, you will need to consider having a car. If you have a car already, you may want to ship it, to avoid being weighed down by car payments on top of your other bills. If you do choose to buy a car, do so through a reputable dealer.

Getting a Job

Everyone knows about the (incredibly true) stereotype of the broke college student. The cost of living and school means you will need a source of income. On-campus jobs are the most popular, because they are understanding of your needs. However, there is a limit on how much you can make. If you seek off-campus employment, make your schedule available up front.

Your first year at college is an exciting and challenging time. Conquer your first set of adult hurdles by staying organized and focused on your goals.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy. For more information on making a quick move check out