CollegeDorms & LivingLife

Seven Essential Life Skills

As the saying goes, life gives you lemons, but knowing a few essential life skills will make turning them into lemonade a little easier. The seven essential life skills below will save you time, improve your health, and allow you to avoid unnecessary setbacks, even in the face of life’s chaos.

Changing A Flat Tire

A flat tire is never fun, especially when you’re alone and far away from home. However, knowing how to change a tire by yourself greatly reduces the stress of a popped tire and increases your safety and independence. Make sure to keep a wrench, jack, inflated spare tire, and owner’s manual in your car, and either ask someone for directions on changing a flat tire or look up directions online before life demands that you figure it out on your own.

*Additional safety tips: if you get a flat while driving on a busy road, make sure you turn on your hazards and try to get to the emergency lane or side of the road and pull off as far from the buzzing traffic as possible. DO NOT stand on the side of the road. Call emergency assistance (AAA or the police) if you are unable to get to the side of the road. They will help you stop traffic and push your car to the side of the road safely. DO NOT get out of your car on the busy road. *

Health and Hygiene Basics

Becoming healthy by improving your diet and exercise routine will clear your mind, increase your energy, and avoid future medical bills. Most people need more fruits, veggies, and water in their diet and less salt and sugar. In addition, aim to work out for forty minutes three times a week, and see how much better you feel in just a week or two!

Cooking Basics

Eating out every day costs a lot, and home-cooked food is usually healthier. Some easy, tasty, and nutritious meals include eggs (boiled, fried, scrambled, etc.), beans and rice, grilled cheese with avocado and/or tomatoes, and sandwiches (ham, turkey, tuna salad, etc.). Finding someone to guide you during your first cooking attempts prevents the process from feeling so intimidating, but if you want to attempt these meals by yourself, you can easily look up the recipes online.

Cleaning your Space

To keep yourself healthy, avoid bug infestations, and maintain a pleasant odor in your living space:

  • Wash your laundry and bedding along with cleaning your bathroom weekly.
  • Sweep the floor and wipe down counters, desks, and tables everyday.

A consistent cleaning schedule and organization go a long way toward creating a relaxing environment and prevents you from misplacing your belongings.


In our modern era, some horror movies might not scare you as much as walking to your car by yourself. To increase your safety, consider taking a few self-defense classes, but if that is not an option, practice a few basic safety tips, like awareness of your surroundings (don’t look at your phone while walking alone). Consider keeping pepper spray on your keychain and carrying one of your keys between your knuckles with your fist face down. If you need to defend yourself, aim for vulnerable areas, such as the eyes or the groin.

Basic First Aid

Accidents happen all the time, and knowing a few first aid staples could equip you to save someone’s life. Consider taking a first aid course, and remember the three primary goals of first aid: preserve life, prevent further injury, and promote recovery.

Time Management

If you find yourself constantly running low on time, evaluate all of your responsibilities, including school and work, and establish whether you have time to pursue your goals and hobbies while maintaining your current responsibilities. If you don’t have time, and you can abandon a few responsibilities, do so. Second, implement tools to balance your time:

  • Try creating a to-do list and marking the tasks from one to three based on their level of importance. Allow yourself “to-do time” at the end of every day, and prioritize a few tasks relating to your future goals.
  • Keep a planner or calendar to keep track of deadlines. Create your own deadlines for tasks that don’t already have them. Putting a due date on something makes you more likely to complete the task. Check the planner every night, and create a list of all the tasks that you hope to accomplish the next day.

Although there is no way to prepare for every situation that life hurls at you, these essential life skills will further prepare you to overcome life’s obstacles.

Katelyn is an editorial intern at Potential magazine and a senior at Faulkner University where she studies English. She enjoys writing and she is excited to work with Potential to share her experience and research about college life, self-improvement, budgeting, etc.

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