Time Is Running Out …

off-limits-tvThe clock is ticking, and the ticks are sounding more ominous to me these days. We have only one more year to teach our daughter how to be self-sufficient before she heads off to college.

A friend of Caitlin’s (and new college freshman) recently posted that she had just done her own laundry for the first time ever. While Caitlin has that skill under her belt, it got me thinking: What life skills do I want my oldest daughter to possess before she leaves our house. Here’s my list:

Advocate for herself with authority figures. Phew. Caitlin’s had lots of practice at this. She’s been approaching her teachers, school counselors and coaches to plead her case since middle school. I have no problem seeing her speaking up as needed when at college.

Clean up after herself. Alas, this considerate behavior (most appreciated when living with roommates) is not automatic. Thus, we have a recently instituted policy of placing TV’s and computers off-limits if there are empty bottles, plates, other refuse left in that space. (Above pic is a result of yesterday’s infraction.)

Manage money. This skill is also a work-in-progress. Caitlin has a debit card with which to access her allowance and a portion of her wages. She’s learning how to text to get the current balance so she won’t be surprised when she goes to pay for Chipotle and discovers she only has $3.50 in her account (not a hypothetical scenario).

Get up in the morning with no parental prompts. Another skill Caitlin’s been practicing since middle school. Vanity (gotta have time for that beauty regimen) and a desire to get a nearby parking spot are sufficient incentives for her to wake up on time without my help.

Anything else Caitlin should be able to do before going off on her own?  Suggestions are welcome!

Tick. Tick. Tick. (And I’m doing my best to ignore that ticking noise …)


  • Sharon Says:
    8-25-2010 11:06:51

    I will tell you what my daughter and her best friend from college say: they wish there had been a required class about the debt a student accrues while in college. They both have school loans, which is part of it, but they also started using credit while in college and that problem compounded while they were in graduate school. That’s a tough lesson but I’m not sure it gets learned without the experience.

  • Cindy L Says:
    8-25-2010 18:40:44

    I always told my son that part of being self-sufficient (and he is) is learning how to ask for help when you really need it. For guys, especially, this is a tough lesson.

    Learning how to drink responsibly is also very important. Some students learn the hard way…

  • Charlotte Says:
    8-26-2010 12:33:52

    A friend just told me her son going into his sophmore year needed new bedding due to the fact he had never laundered his sheets during freshman year, said sheets apparently had to be tossed!

  • Maura Says:
    8-27-2010 08:44:26

    Thank you, Elaine for this post. Having a daugther starting High School this year, your post has me thinking now about what lessons I want her to learn before heading out into the world. Thank you for this prompt.

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