College is often seen as the first big step towards adulthood. Aside from classes and studying, there is the added value of being "on your own" for the first time. While many students have their parents and support networks back home, it is certainly an adjustment when you don't have someone to remind you to get stuff done every day.
With that in mind, I've taken the time to consider the social practical skills of college and everyday life. Many of these were taught and instilled into me by my parents, and it helped put into perspective how certain things function in adult life.
Waking Up/Getting Ready For The Day
In high school, classes started at 7:30 every day, and I had to leave my house to catch my bus at 6:45. This meant that I needed to get up early enough to make breakfast and lunch for myself, get dressed, and be entirely ready for the day. I had alarms set, and my phone was placed on my desk so I would have to actually get up, as opposed to just rolling over and hitting snooze. My parents would wake me up on the rare occasion that I overslept, but on the whole, I was on my own making sure I had my stuff together.
As a college student, I realize the benefit in this. My parents aren't there to wake me up, and I hate the feeling of just rolling out of bed 10 minutes before class. In the real world, it is expected that you manage your time properly to get to work on time. Yes, everyone has an off day, but teachers are more likely to be forgiving if you make the effort to show up on time, for the majority of the time.
While on the subject of managing time, planning and executing your day is also important. Every night before I go to bed, I make sure that my bag is packed, my laptop and phone are plugged in, and that I have everything submitted that was meant to by the end of the day.
My best advice here is to find your own method of success. I never succeeded in keeping a planner, so I used the calendar app in my phone for easy access to my daily routine. When you have a physical outline of your day, you'll be able to better grasp how to get through it. Growing up, I was made to complete my homework, go to clubs and athletic practices, and do stuff around the house instead of immediately flopping in front of the TV. Trust me, catching up on the latest hit series is a lot more relaxing without the long list of obligations that await you on the other end.
This is important. Nobody wants to be around someone who smells like a walking laundry bin. Moreover, you tend to feel more relaxed, comfortable, and confident when you have fresh, clean clothes. When you get to college, you should be able to operate the laundry machines in the basement of your dorm building. Laundry is something that I was taught to do in high school. After I was regularly doing my own laundry, my father even said, "You're one step closer to being ready for college."
Well, he was right. Simply knowing which buttons to press saves the time and hassle of checking with your parents for the 100th time. They won't be around to do it forever, after all.
Basic Food Prep
Unless your dorm has a full service kitchen, this one more applies to being at home, but the point still stands.
I'll be the first to say, when it comes to food, the less time I have to wait, the better. However, you shouldn't always have to rely on the dining hall, or on microwavable foods. Being able to assemble basic meals like sandwiches, salads, and soup is essential. The same goes for following cooking instructions. When I'm home, my parents cook for the family when we eat together, but during the day, everyone is usually doing their own thing. As a result, I learned to make basic breakfast and lunch items for myself. Nobody expects you to cook a 3-course meal worthy of Gordon Ramsey, but having basic knowledge of food prep is certainly helpful.
I understand the appeal of just wanting to collapse onto your bed at the end of a long day. However, that feeling would be a lot more welcoming if you returned to your room with a nicely made bed and space to move around. In college, the only one who will clean your space is you. Make sure you get into the habit of making your bed, taking out the trash, and keeping common spaces clear for moving around.
Not only will doing this benefit you, but it serves as a bonus for people living in the same room. Your roommates don't want to be tripping over your stuff or staring at the pile of old food wrappers on your desk for weeks on end. Having a more open space is also nice when you have friends over to your dorm.
By the time I was a teenager, I was regularly helping clean the dishes at home and loading them into the dishwasher. I was also expected to put the clean dishes away in their proper places. In college, this is obviously a much simpler process, but cleaning dishes is still something that needs to get done. Trust me when I say, it's less than ideal when your desk space is cluttered with several coffee-stained mugs and macaroni encrusted plates and silverware. Investing in a single washable dishrag, reusable dishware, and some dish soap will help you out in the long run. It will also be cheaper than buying paper plates and plastic cutlery every month.
This one should be fairly straightforward. If you have a meeting or appointment with a professor, adviser, or classmates, make sure you give yourself time to make it there. If an unforeseen circumstance forces you to alter your plans, then give the other person enough advance warning in order to minimize inconvenience.
In the end, you have to gauge for yourself how prepared you are for college, depending on these areas. People will show you more respect if you show up on time, look and act presentable, and show a little respect for yourself.