By Elizabeth Simmons
As December graduates prepare to receive their diplomas and May grads get ready for their last semester, we have to wonder if they learned everything they need to know. I’m sure most of this year’s graduates are well educated in their fields, but an education in fields like engineering, history, or music will only get them so far.
The graduates of school year 2013-2014 are entering a job market that’s iffy at best. They also face the expectation that after four or more years of college they are able to be a successful adult. More often than not, however, college grads leave their hallowed educational halls lacking these important skills. They aren’t taught them in a lecture hall or classroom, but maybe they should be.
Ability to write a few lines of HTML code
This may seem like it’s coming from way out in left field, but a number of job postings today are asking for someone with a small amount of knowledge about coding. There are several schools like The Lang School where you can learn anything you want at any age. You don’t have to be a pro, but listing code writing as a skill (that you actually have) on your resume can make you stand out from the other applicants. Almost every industry works online on some level, so having the ability to write code and assist with even basic website management will help you enter any career field.
Manage a budget for a small household
Whether you’ve been living on your own for some time or finding your first place after graduation, you’re going to need to manage your own budget. I doubt there were courses on bill paying or managing checkbooks in college, but those are major parts of post-grad life. Take the time to sit down and see where your money is coming from and where it’s going. If you don’t already have one, open a savings account and put something in it every month. Learn even the basics about finance and investments so that your money can go a little further and you can actually understand that 401k benefit as well as manage your student loans.
Take care of your fitness needs
There was likely a fitness center on your campus available free to students at almost any time of day. Once you graduate, however, you lose your access to it. Exercise is an important part of staying healthy, especially as you get older. Going on a walk or run is a great way to fit exercise into your day. If you insist on going to a gym, try to find one that bases membership costs on yearly income. That way you’re not spending an arm and a leg instead of keeping them in shape.
Ability to perform small maintenance tasks at home
Sometimes things break. Even if you live in an apartment complex that takes care of your bigger maintenance needs, you should feel comfortable wielding a hammer. You don’t have to be a master, but having the ability to hang your own curtains and decorations, change a light bulb, or assemble a bookshelf are skills you need.
Making your own meals
Most meals in college are provided for you. Either through free food at an event or cafeteria dining, odds are you did little cooking as a college student. That changes when you move off campus. Knowing how to prepare even the simplest of meals will not only save you money, but will also improve your health. Find a few quick and easy recipes that you can master. Your wallet and body will thank you.
Conduct yourself properly in an interview and professional environment
Your college education gave you the knowledge you needed for a job in your field. What it may have missed is the knowledge you need to actually get a job in your field. If you plan to work after college, you will need to know how to dress for and act in a professional environment. Many schools offer interview and workforce preparation workshops that cover the basics, so check those out before leaving college behind.