Five things you should know how to do (to convince people you have your shit together)
Becoming a new resident of the adult world means learning how to navigate things like taxes, job interviews and solo grocery shopping. Knowing how to do these things is important, but there are also unwritten rules of the adult world that, if not mastered correctly, can create awkward AF moments you will think about for months to come.
To avoid these uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing experiences, here are the five main things you should know how to do that will fool everyone into thinking you’re a full-blown grownup.
Know how to address a formal email
The new digital age has changed the way we apply for jobs, internships, uni scholarships, and even how we approach teachers to ask questions or organise meetings. An email is our first point of call for almost everything we do, so knowing how to write a formal email is a pretty important part of adulting.
If you’re applying for a job/internship/uni position, find out the name of your potential employer and address your email to them. If your research is coming up empty, ‘To Whom It May Concern’ is a solid go-to, but do your best to avoid it if you can.
Similarly, never use a person’s first name unless they give you permission. Stick with Ms/Mr Smith, it’s more polite and shows your respect for them as your superior.
Know how to make small talk with strangers
Meeting new people is something you’ll encounter frequently in the adult world. Whether it’s a friend of a friend at uni or your significant other’s extended family, knowing how to hold a conversation you won’t kick yourself about later is a handy skill to have.
Always try to show interest in the other person by asking questions and try to avoid stories that start with “My Auntie’s gardener’s cat” – as funny as it may be, a stranger probably doesn’t want to hear it.
Know how to dress professionally and appropriately
Dressing for the wrong occasion or environment is an easy thing to do and can, in some cases, cause months of embarrassment (trust me).
If you find yourself questioning what to wear to a new job or uni class, always err on the side of caution. Keep away from anything too revealing or conspicuous until you’ve assessed the situation first, and remember that first impressions last way, way longer than they should.
Know how to be the perfect houseguest
Sleepovers don’t stop when you become an adult but the rules are very different. Whether you’re crashing at a friend’s or visiting your significant other’s family, it’s a good rule of thumb to behave the way you’d want others to in your own house.
Offer to help cook dinner and clean up afterwards, ask a lot of questions (but not too many), and either make the bed or strip the sheets when you leave. Go on, make your parents proud.
Know how to cook a couple of decent meals
Making a deal with your housemates to take turns cooking dinner one night a week sounds like a super fun idea until you realise your signature dish is boiled pasta with a jar of tomato and basil sauce. You could probably swing this for the first few weeks, but it will get old pretty fast.
Learning how to make a couple of awesome but simple meals will stop you from having to explain that you have the cooking capability of a small child. Plus, cooking is a great way to prove your grownup-ness to adultier adults when they come to visit.
Penny is a Philosophy and Media and Communications student at the University of Melbourne. She enjoys travelling, snacking, and not going to the gym.
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