By 22, you’re officially saying goodbye to adolescence, and hopefully, hello to young adulthood. That’s because today, most Gen Zers are considered adolescents through their early 20s on account of the lack of responsibility and continued parenting that occurs then.
But by 22, you’re thrust out of college and into the working world, and expected to know how to do your taxes, save for retirement and manage fixed bills. (And don’t worry, none of those appear on this list). That said, we offer this skillset checklist to make sure all of you future grads stack up.
How to negotiate. And we are especially looking at you, ladies, as you’re currently still making less than what most males make in the same position. From salary negotiating to bargaining at a garage sale, understanding how to cut deals by framing (proposing your target number as your lowest range, or structuring the sale around what you’re giving vs. getting).
How to be happy. It’s all about managing your own expectations (or, we’ll fill you in on a little secret: it’s about lowering them), coupled with an ability to be grateful. At a minimum, be grateful. Noticing all of the good things going on in a day, or in a year, and taking a moment to be appreciative of your blessings will do more for you than anything else any life coach recommends.
How to save. We almost went as far as saying “plan for retirement,” because it’s never too early to start, right? Right. But given that something like 46% of middle-aged Americans have nothing saved for retirement, we’re not expecting too much out of anyone too soon. Rather than think as far ahead as your 401k, just start with a savings account, and set a minimum recurring deposit from whatever bank account money might be going into. Thanks Mom and Dad, or hats off to you.
How to cook. It won’t be all ramen noodles and Easy Mac once you’re out of college. Graduating with no idea how long to boil an egg for, or how to whip up a standard spaghetti bolognese that isn’t Boyardi, has got to be in your repertoire. Especially if you’re single and planning on going beyond the first five dates of dining out. Get yourself an Anthony Bourdain cookbook and try ratatouille, impressive if only for the way it sounds off the tongue.
How to boil an egg. It’s not rocket science, but there’s a lengthy list of hacks to get this really, really right. You’ll impress yourself when you’re able to time the boil to just-right cooked perfection, avoiding the overcooked gray rings, and then able to peel the shell off with ease.
How to say no. This might be the most difficult skill to harness on the list. Knowing when, how, and why to say no is half the battle. But the consequences have drastic effects on your day-to-day contentment and stress levels. Saying no can be difficult because you’re not seeing the cost-benefit of a situation as clearly. Time has less tangible value than money, but it’s our most valuable resource. Guard your time wisely.
How to travel. Not like NatGeo, but by college, we hope that you’ve cared enough to get your passport and at least taken a hop overseas or over the border. Travel widens your perspective, lays you with insights you couldn’t pick up wandering your own neighborhood, teaches you humility (or it should -- don’t forget, you’re a guest, not a conqueror). Get uncomfortable. If you’ve done it well enough, you can add a language to your resume.
How to open a bottle of wine. If you’re past date five, and she’s about to dine over, you better watch this quick.
How to make small talk. If you haven’t figured this one out after four years of being thrust into a slew of collegiate social situations, you’ve gotta throw yourself out there. Knowing how to make conversation in any setting is critical to not just basic networking, but can lead you to your dream job or next boyfriend. The good news is, everyone in the room likely shares the same fear as you, and nine times out of ten, that awkwardness is one of your best conversation starters.
How to remove stains. All kinds of stains, on all kinds of fabric. You’re welcome.