As a college senior, I thought I would have everything figured out by now, graduating with a full-time job and living in a new apartment in a new place, getting a fresh start after graduation.
However, life doesn’t always go exactly as planned, and many of the things I anticipated for my twenties are not happening the way I thought they would. And I’ve realized that a lot of the life skills I need to be a successful adult are not taught in school.
Even as a college senior, I turn to my parents for help
1. Preparing for a job interview
Neither college nor high school prepared me to do well in a job interview. My parents have been great in helping me prepare and practicing potential questions with me. I am so appreciative of their help in conducting practice interviews anytime I have an upcoming job interview.
The night before I have an interview, I will FaceTime one of my parents and they will ask me potential questions, so I can get used to saying my answers out loud. They also give me feedback on how to improve my answers, and how I can appear more confident, such as not saying “like” or “um.”
2. Addressing car issues
Whenever my car has any sort of problems such as a warning light I get very worried. I’ll google the warning light to see what it means but also check in with my parents to get their insight on whether the issue is severe or not and if I should take it into a shop to get it fixed.
At the shop, if I am told that costly repairs are needed, I’ll check in with my parents by phone or text to make sure whatever the mechanics are suggesting is necessary for the car. This extra step gives me assurance that I won’t be paying for needless or non-urgent repairs.
3. Cooking questions
As a college student, I eat a lot of pasta! Occasionally, I will try making myself a nice meal such as a steak or scallops and vegetables. I love that my parents tell me little tricks such as certain seasonings to try or new recipes they think I might like.
4. Filing taxes
I had no experience filing taxes and didn’t know where to start. My parents explained to me what a W-2 is and how to file a tax return. They helped me out with my first time filing taxes and after that, I was able to get the hang of it, but whenever I have a question, they always know the answer.
5. Emotional support
My parents are always there for me whenever I am upset or just having a bad day and need to call them. I don’t think you’re ever too old to need emotional support and sometimes it is nice to just have someone to talk to. They understand how difficult college can be and are able to offer advice on dealing with stress and time management.
6. Job applications and insights on job opportunities
Even though I find and apply to jobs on my own, my parents often see a position posted on LinkedIn or through their network and they always send me the link to it. This is great because otherwise, I would have missed out on many amazing job opportunities. They also spotted some red flags with a company I was interviewing with that I found through LinkedIn.
I went ahead with the interviews and got valuable interview experience. I was even planning to accept the offer I received because the recruiter was so convincing. When I investigated further, I realized the company was a scam and I appreciate my parents pointing out the red flags to me.
7. Investing in the stock market
My dad introduced me to the stock market. I had always been intrigued by stock trading, but I never really understood how it worked. Once I had earned enough money through my internships, my parents educated me on the stock market and the importance of buying low and selling high.
They recommended that I research and invest in companies whose mission I support and believe in. I’m having fun and learning a lot and have even earned money on these stocks.
8. Health guidance
My parents are not doctors, but sometimes I will ask for their advice if I’m not feeling well. I tend to overthink things and sometimes researching symptoms on Google will result in some pretty scary outcomes! I usually check in with my parents for their insights and it is wonderful having their reassurance that it’s probably nothing serious and that everything is going to be okay.
9. Gift ideas
My mom has the best gift ideas! Whenever I am unsure what to get one of my friends for their birthday, my mom always comes up with creative suggestions, such as trendy necklaces, unique nail polishes, a cute candle, or skincare products. And if I’m at home, as a bonus, she always has a great supply of gift bags and ribbons to make the gift-giving extra fun.
10. Book recommendations
I am always looking for a good book to read, and never have luck picking books from the bestseller lists. My parents have given me some of the best suggestions. I love being able to bond with my parents after reading the same book and we can talk about our thoughts around the book.
Even though I am hundreds of miles away from my parents while attending college, I love that my parents are still able and willing to help me out in any way that they can. Although I assumed after age 18 I would know how to do life on my own, my parents are still helping me out with many things and I am so lucky to have their support.
To all parents of college students, these are just some of the simple things you can do to support your child, and they will be so thankful for even the littlest things you do to help them out during this transitional time into adulthood. Thank you to all parents for being so supportive of your college student during their emerging adulthood years!