What to Know Before You’re 18

Haley Abramson, Senior at John Burroughs School

Like many drivers, I slow down to view the action when I see cars pulled over on the highway and think, “I’m glad that’s not me. I can’t even change a tire.” In fact, I wish I could do many things as I prepare to enter college that no one has taught me. What high school students need is a class to teach the following so when the time comes, we can prosper on our own.


1.      How to change a tire: We’ve been over this; just in case, not having to call AAA would make all the difference. Watch this video to learn this skill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT_pPlJTiyE.

2.      How to clean and stay organized: Lysol is an essential for most surfaces. Beyond that, stay organized by keeping a calendar on your phone, recycling old papers, and taking a moment to put items away (a task worth getting up from the couch).

3.      How to do the laundry: Ask a parent; everyone has different washing machines and dryers, but everyone has to do his or her own laundry in college (unless that person attends Washington University, Saint Louis University, or one of the many fabulous STL colleges).

4.      How to keep from procrastinating: Working out after school for even half an hour releases energy that might prevent one from sitting down to do homework immediately. Like #6 suggests, creating a workout routine is not only healthy, but can be fun. Instead of spending hours online before doing homework, figure out the best way to resist the lure of Buzzfeed, Facebook, and other popular sites.

5.      How to cook a basic meal: Here are a few YouTube videos to help out with this point. “10 Incredible Food Life Hacks You Need to Know:”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rHWUki86N8, “Cooking on a Budget for College Students:”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dOt4WXaF70. Even if your parents are out one night and you need nourishment, knowing a quick mac ‘n cheese recipe makes all the difference. Which brings me to the next two tips…

6.      How to work out: Find a way to stay healthy, no matter your age. Whether a workout routine involves golf, yoga, or even playing Frisbee with friends, the earlier one establishes it, the better.

7.      How to create your first budget: Cooking for oneself, going for dinner with friends, and practically any activity costs money. Learn to understand that not everything that costs more than something else is more fun. So many events and activities in St. Louis cost no money at all, and isn’t it simply the time with friends that matters most?

8.      How to read Torah: In case you skipped having a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, get involved in your synagogue by reading Torah on a random Saturday service. Learn the trope here with Cantor Mike: http://youtu.be/wMDbZiWTd1I or contact your Cantor for lessons!

9.      How to hang a picture: This video can help: http://youtu.be/_ugKARUatkM. All rooms need artwork to spice up the atmosphere, and dorms especially need a personal flare.

10.  How to communicate in more than one language: No, pig Latin does not count. However, Java (computer language), French, Hebrew, Chinese, etc., all open up amazing opportunities for travelling abroad or chatting someone up on the street.