7 Adulting Skills Every HOBY Teen Should Have

While the HOBY universe is motivated and compassionate, we could still benefit from stepping back to do a personal inventory of what we still need to learn and to examine how we present ourselves to others. Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of NYT bestseller ‘How to Raise an Adult’ and former Stanford dean; wrote an article for Quartz, in which she expounds on 10 of the most important and lacking skills for college freshmen. We took our favorites from Julie’s list and added a few of our own. Take a look.

Photo Credit: Anders Ruff

Photo Credit: Anders Ruff Designs

7. Must learn to stick with something you aren’t good at

Perhaps you are a talented mathematician who believes they have no artistic ability. Or maybe you can dance with the grace of a thousand swans but cringe at the idea of making an omelet. Only sticking to what we know will lead us to feel stunted, pigeon-holed and inexperienced. College, (and really, your whole life) is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and finally face your fear of rock climbing or to learn the art of Chinese Calligraphy. Embrace the beginner’s mind to live long and prosper.

6. Must be able to earn and manage money
From Julie Lythcott-Haims.

Often, teens don’t hold part-time jobs; they receive money from their parents for whatever they want or need; thus, kids don’t develop a sense of responsibility for completing job tasks, accountability to a boss who doesn’t inherently love them, or an appreciation for the cost of things and how to manage money.

5. Must make an effort to include others

Whether you are assembling an advisory board, an afterschool club, or planning a trip to the beach with some friends, take a second to look at who you’ve chosen to fill those roles. Consider whether they have the characteristics you are looking for to create the experience that you want. HOBY Ambassadors know the importance having a diverse group of friends, perspectives, and input. But sometimes we make choices based on familiarity, even if it doesn’t contribute positively to the experience.

4. Must set clear and healthy social boundaries

Life gets pretty complicated from here. Whether you’ll be selecting a school to attend next year, looking for a job this summer or moving to a new city, there will be a lot of unknowns waiting for you. Many of those unknowns will be exciting and joyous and some will be a downright bummer. Communicating your needs, emotions, and hopes will be paramount to your happiness and success. This will sometimes include turning down a late night movie so you can sleep before a final, being honest but kind with a friend when they have upset you, and communicating regularly with your parents and family while you are away or busy.

3. Must be able to contribute to the running of a household
From Julie Lythcott-Haims.

Often, parents don’t ask their teens to help much around the house because the check-listed childhood leaves little time in the day for anything aside from academic and extracurricular work; thus, some kids don’t know how to look after their own needs, respect the needs of others, or do their fair share for the good of the whole. This will be crucially important when you become someone’s roommate in college or if you choose to study abroad.

2. Must be conscious of how others influence them

John Rohn believes that we are the average of the 5 people we associate with most. While not a hard and fast rule, it is true that we unconsciously surround ourselves with people with which we have things in common. The people we choose to surround ourselves with challenge and shape us into the people we are. Many of us will be going off to college or trade school for the first time, starting a new job, or traveling to new places. It is the perfect opportunity to meet people that will bring you closer to your goals and to the person you want to be.

1. Must be able to talk to strangers
From Julie Lythcott-Haims.

Faculty, deans, advisers, landlords, store clerks, human resource managers, coworkers, bank tellers, health care providers, bus drivers, mechanics—in the real world. We teach kids not to talk to strangers instead of teaching the more nuanced skill of how to discern the few bad strangers from the mostly good ones. Thus, kids end up not knowing how to approach strangers—respectfully and with eye contact—for the help, guidance, and direction they will need out in the world.