The first time I had to call my dentist to make an appointment for myself, I crashed and burned beautifully. I remember the moment vividly. I was in my living room watching Supernatural from the comfort of my couch when I heard a “Cassie!” resonate from the kitchen.
I responded dutifully, “What, Ma?!”
“You need to call the dentist to make an appointment!”
At this point in my life, I had never made my own appointments. But I was nearing the end of my senior year of high school and my mother proclaimed that it was about time for me to be an adult and do adult things, like making my own appointments. No amount of pleading could convince her to call for me.
With a quick turn that could have given me whiplash of the entire body, I drudged back into the living room and grabbed my stylish LG Octane cell phone. Just like my previous LG Chocolate, this phone survived a washing machine ride and multiple plunges into the porcelain throne. But would this all-powerful phone get me through an awkward exchange with the “Dolinar and Thomas, DDS” secretary?
I tried, i really did. it was sailing smoothly until I stated, “Yeah, one of those appointments where you scrape my teeth with metal.”
Needless to say, there are some things college students need to learn how to do without parental help when they enter this stage of life. Here’s a brief list of some of these things:
- Making Appointments
Maybe you aren’t as awkward as I am on the phone, but you still need to be able to have a coherent conversation with the secretaries at doctors’ offices, auto mechanics and dentists’ offices without saying some obscure thing that might offend them — such as the aforementioned “scrape your teeth” comment. Learn from my awkwardness and figure out how to talk to strangers on the phone. Also, be sure to have your planner on hand so you don’t double-book yourself. Don’t have a planner? GET. ONE. NOW.
- Writing a Check
I have worked at good ol’ Wegmans since I was fifteen. For the first two years, I was a cashier on the front end, dutifully bagging countless cans of soup and sticks of butter. For anyone else who has worked as a cashier at a grocery store, you know the struggle all too well. You have just double bagged two carts worth of groceries in paper bags (yes, this happens quite frequently) and have a line extending into the aisle, waiting for your current customer to pay quickly and move on. You are handed a check, only to have to inform the customer that you cannot accept it because it isn’t filled out correctly. Don’t be the person that holds up a line of soccer moms and impatient grannies, even metaphorically. Learn how to write a check before you receive your first inevitable death glare from your teller or cashier.
- Doing Laundry
In sixth grade, my mother decided that she was done doing our laundry. She stated she was only responsible for hers and my father’s clothes from now on. My sisters and I went into a usual “woe is me” speech, but we definitely had it coming seeing as our form of cleaning our room was dumping everything into the hamper. Whether it was a dirty or clean garment, we discarded it. And as frustrating as it was at times, especially when I avoided laundry for weeks and ended up wearing polka dot knee socks with bright pink capris and a green plaid shirt to school, I am glad she got me started early on the independent laundry train. Yes, you do your own laundry in college, but are you doing it correctly? Have you separated dark clothes from bright clothes? Do you bleach your white clothes? Believe it or not, learning to do laundry properly extends clothing life and keeps them looking newer longer.
- Cleaning Properly
No, paper towels and dish soap will not suffice to clean your entire apartment. And yes, even though you can’t see it normally, you should still clean behind the toilet. Trust me, you don’t want to find things that look an alien life form when you finally decide to do spring cleaning.
Technically, you can survive on Easy Mac and yogurt, but do you want to? Do you look forward to home cooked meals each time you go home? Cooking isn’t hard. It just takes a little more time and effort. I have been in a crazed “Chopped” style frenzy ever since I moved into my apartment. This has led to some odd things, like yogurt with cucumbers and dill to green beans with squash risotto and cream cheese, but believe it or not, they were mad delicious and worth the risk. Learning to cook is one of the best things you can do for your soul, because ending a day with a delicious meal can really calm you. (Here’s a tip for the cooking challenged: Just throw some chicken in a pan with a boat-load of Sriracha for a spicy, easy meal. It’s my go-to.)
- Filling Out a Tax Form (Or Any Important Paperwork)
It’s awkward at a certain age to have to ask the lady sitting next to you in a waiting room what goes where on a paperwork form. You are an adult now. Or a pseudo-adult. Either way, you aren’t a child and need to know how to fill out simple paperwork, especially for when you take your friend’s dare to try to pogo stick onto a skateboard and end up at Hamot (which, arguably, isn’t the most adult thing to do, but make up for it by filling out that paperwork like a champ).
- Managing Your Bank Account
Have you ever had the heart attack moment when your debit card gets declined at Walmart? It happens to everyone at some point and can be due to a plethora of reasons. And especially because we are in college, it is imperative you keep track of your finances. Luckily, I check my account every other day, because last semester someone stole my card info. I caught it in time, but if you don’t pay attention, someone can really mess with your money before you even realize it. And as the stereotypical broke college student, that’s one of the worst things that can happen.
- Grocery Shopping
There’s more to a pantry than two boxes of pasta and a can of peas! It’s weird to shop for yourself for the first time, especially because it can be hard to gauge how much food will last a week or however long you go in between shopping trips. Learn the skill now and it will help you to avoid buying too much and wasting money or to avoid buying too little and waking up to the old tum-tum grumblin’.
- Calling People
Yes, this was touched upon in the “Making Appointments” section, but this is on more of a personal level. I often will reply to a text message and get so fed up with having to type everything that I just delete the message and call the person. We live in an era of texting, which is why it’s so crucial to learn that calling people is more personal and will be a skill that can help you in careers down the road.
- Keeping Things Updated
This is another reason to get a planner. Write down everything that needs to be updated and whatnot, whether it be car registration/insurance, health insurance cards or credit information. No, it’s not okay to hand a police officer a Geico insurance card that expired two years ago. Trust me. Learn from Cassie’s mistakes and get your stuff updated.