Most of us go through high school thinking we know it all. At least I thought I was a hot shot... I was this independent "know it all" who didn't need my parents help anymore. I think a few of you could relate. Begging for independence, we ask them to leave us alone, and can't wait for college to come. But once we are in the dorm, really on our own, our parents are far, and a drive or plane ride away. Just like that, independence becomes an unfamiliar and scary concept. That's when we go to google and ask "How do I address an envelope?" or "How do I make popcorn?" Look no further because here are ten "how to's" every college student must learn before they graduate.

1. How to Microwave Popcorn

sweet, salt, kettle corn, cereal, corn, popcorn
Sara Carte

Alright, here is something I thought was a no brainer, but some people just don't know you're supposed to take the popcorn out of the plastic package before putting the flat bag in the microwave. Once the flat bag is in the microwave you press the button on the microwave that says the word "popcorn" and then you wait until the microwave beeps. When you hear the beeping noise, you take the bag out of the microwave.  Wait for it to cool before opening the hot bag

2. How to Address an Envelope 

1. Put the first and last name in the middle of the envelope. If it is a formal address refer to the receivers of the card by their Prefix (Mrs. Ms. Mr.) 

2. Under the name of the recipient put their address starting with their home address and street name. 

3. Below that, put the city in which they live in followed by the state and the zip code.

4. Make sure to put a post stamp on the top right corner of the envelope. 

Important note: write clearly so all parties can read the mailing address. 

3. How to do Laundry 

1. Start off by separating delicates, whites, and colored from each other.

2. When cleaning each pile make sure to clean whites in high heat, color in medium, and delicates in cold, or on the delicate wash.

3. Use laundry detergent when cleaning. Fabric softener is optional but do not use that in replacement of detergent.  

4. When it is done, dry in cool or hang delicates. Make sure to hang clothing made of cotton or it might shrink.

To be extra careful, read the inside labels of the clothing and it will give tips on how to wash each article.    

4. How to Stalk Up with Healthy & Affordable Snacks

Stalking up on healthy and affordable snacks can be a challenge sometimes. It doesn't have to be though. Shopping at the right stores and discounts can help a ton. Two of my favorite stores to get snacks at are Trader Joe's and Costco. Now for people who don't have a Costco card, that is totally okay, because Trader Joe's has most of the same snacks just in smaller quantity. The great thing about each store is that they have pre packaged snacks ready to go. Healthy options like bars, yogurts, nuts, trail mix, and hummus with crackers are all in reach when you go to these stores. They are well priced, ready to go, healthy snacks anyone might enjoy! A good little tip on saving money too is asking if they have any promotion or student discount (this goes for shopping anywhere). 

5. How to be Your Best Self-Advocate

Making relationships with your professors is the first step to becoming a self-advocate, and a great student. Emailing and going into their office hours not only puts a face to the name, but also shows your professor you care. It can me intimidating but they appreciate the effort. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat right, get outside, and go on a walk or even work out. Getting your energy out can help you feel better, and even provide your body with more energy. Love your self, care for yourself, and be a great self-advocate.

6. How to Write a Formal Email to Your Professor 

Many professors will tell you how they want to be addressed, propper, casual, or they may not specify. But when you are writing to them it is very important to refer to them in a polite manner. Here is an example of how to write an email:

Dear Professor Smith:

I hope you are having a great week.

I was wondering if you had time to meet with me in regards to the last quiz we took in class. I did not do as well as I hoped to and would like to discuss some of my confusion with you. If you could please get back to me with times and dates that are convenient for you to me I would really appreciat that.

I look forward to hearing from you.


First and Last name  

With an eloquent and thoughtful email like this, you are sure to get a quick response.      

7. How to Stay Safe on Campus

Make sure you have a friend with you after busy hours and in the dark. That goes for girls AND boys. People can be dangerous and you want to make sure to have a pal with you just to keep a little safe. Carrying around pepper spray never hurts either, just make sure not to spray yourself if it comes down to actually having to  whip it out. Additionally, make sure to have your campus emergency numbers saved in your phone. You can probably find them on your school website. This is an important one many people have a tendency to forget. They they are there for a reason so take advantage of all the safety tools while you can.

8. How to Take Advantage of Your Meal Plan

Steal the fruit! It is as easy as that. There are all these crazy rules about not taking food out of the dining hall, but stealing an apple or seven won't hurt anyone. Maybe even slip in a cookie or two if you're feeling extra saucy. 

9. How to Stay Sexually safe on Campus

I don't care if you're on birth control, he tells you it feels better without it, it won't fit, or you're too cheap to buy your own. There is no reason to rely on one party to bring the condoms. There are so many resources on campus where you can get free condoms. If your campus doesn't have little boxes hanging on the wall with them, go to the campus doctor and ask, I am sure they will give you some. If they don't (which they will), then ask a friend. There is no need for you to have accidents or spread love in the wrong way. Yes, we love sex but keeping safe is better than saying sorry. Also don't go home with a random person, and if you do, send a friend your location and tell them who you're with. Lastly, become familiar with your campus doctor or know were the closest Planned Parenthood is; you never know when you might need some extra doctoring. 

10. How to Manage Your Time

Sleep Study Party Repeat. Don't forget about eating and exercising either, two crucial things many college students are good at forgetting. When it comes to managing your time it can be difficult prioritizing what is more important. "Should I go to this  dayger or study for my exam?" Obviously there are some things that come first, and other times you say "F**K it." After a long day at school enjoy the night by going out. But before you can do that, you need to make sure you're working to your full potential.  Keeping a calendar can help organize what you have to do so you have a visual on your weekly schedule. Another great way to manage your time is planning out your week sunday night so you know what's coming us that week.  

There are so many new things to learn in college. Sometimes is can be totally overwhelming, but it can also be really f*&^ing fun. When you get a hang of things that were previously difficult for you, it feels really rewarding. So don't beat yourself up for needing help, we are all in the same boat and learning too