College is a time to flirt with irresponsibility, check a few things off that under-aged bucket list, and experiment with just how much beer and fried foods you can consume. Whether you’re the valedictorian, or the class clown, there are a few things you just can’t leave college without.

Savings

Sounds ridiculous, I know. Who leaves college with money in his or her savings account? Well, if you’re smart, you do. Whether you’re heading home to mom and pop’s or playing house with college friends, you’re going to need some financial padding. Want to rent an apartment before you have a job? You have to prove you can pay the first few months of rent somehow, and a savings account is just the ticket. Even if you have a job, or a place to stay it’s unlikely that your salary will cover much beyond your necessities, so start saving early in your college days and the ‘adult’ you will thank the ‘college’ you greatly.

References

Nobody likes wasting time on Tuesdays from 12-2 visiting professor’s office hours, but you’ll be surprised what you’ll gain from just a few short sessions. Normally you might get some insight as to how you can fix your paper to get an A, and you might even curry favor if your grade is borderline between pass and fail, but the benefits extend far beyond your college experience. Want to go to graduate school? You’ll need references. Want to teach English in a foreign country? You’ll need references. Want someone in your field to vouch for you for an internship or entry-level position? You’ll need references.

Books

It goes without saying that you will purchase, read, ignore, and skim hundreds of books while you’re in college, but before you sell them back for a pittance, consider what they’re really worth. Lots of reference books seem useless, but if you are studying a field you’re might continue, you might just need that book again. Keep the heavy-duty reference books if you can’t get at least 60% of your money back.

An Open Mind

You should have found this on your way into college, but if not, make sure you pick it up before you leave. In addition to the just-like-me friends we all accumulate, find the time to surround yourself with people nothing like you. Whether it’s race, religion, nationality, sexuality, or straight up brain waves, regular conversations with different kinds of people will inevitably open your mind up to a new level of thinking. One that you will most definitely need if you ever want to travel the world, understand what you’re voting for, or donate to a deserving charity.

Laundry Skills

You simply cannot enter the real world without a basic understanding of laundry and ironing. When you wake up late for a meeting, what’s the best way to “iron” your shirt? (Throw it in the dryer with a damp towel.) You’ve got an interview, but your Egg McMuffin exploded on your shirt on the way, what to do? (Stop at a CVS for a Tide-to-Go, or if the shirt is white, a Clorox Bleach pen.) And gentlemen, no self-respecting male should have to bring his laundry home to mama every weekend. Get tips now so you can impress the ladies later with your bachelor skills.

[Photo credit: benny_lin on Flickr]