Book review of 40 essential life skills for college-aged young adults

Book Review of 40 Essential Life Skills for College-Aged Young Adults

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Know a young adult or recent high school graduate? This book, 40 Essential Life Skills for College-Aged Young Adults, is one they NEED to read (or at least have to reference in the future!)!


The Importance of Life Skills

Life skills are the backbone of being able to operate within society as a whole. It’s always been surprising to me that more of them are taught within the public schools, though I fully realize that they are pushed for time and money.

I was so glad when I came across Rachel London and Rosa Reese’s book, 40 Essential Life Skills for College-Aged Young Adults, as I have been thinking about which life skills I should be focusing on with my own children.

My kids are still in early elementary and preschool BUT I feel that these life skills are important to teach from a young age to ensure they ‘stick’. Of course, teaching them as a teen or young adult is great too, I’m just getting a head start!!


Introduction to Life Skills

The book starts with an introduction to life skills and points out that at some point we become adults which is odd because no one has taught us how to be adults. It just…happens.

“Even the most educated people on the planet have to know basic life skills that are not taught in school.”

Rachel London, 40 Essential Life Skills for College-Aged Young Adults

She goes on to explain that there are many things to be learned, bumps in the road, missteps taken, but above it all, it’s important to have something to refer back to so you can get back on track.

This book aims to be that resource.


Chapter 1: The General Assortment of Life Skills

The author points out that throughout life we are constantly learning new skills, from babyhood to toddlerhood and beyond. Each new skill builds upon the earlier skills to help you navigate through school and life overall.

Life skills such as being able to manage and plan your time, goals, projects, and life overall are important to learn by or during college to help prepare you for your career and life thereafter.

The book starts out with numbers that need to be memorized, why they should be memorized, the significance of them and what they’re for, how to protect those numbers from scammers, and more. It’s very step by step in terms of laying it all out, without being too lengthy to lose one’s attention.

Even as someone who has been considered an adult for 20 years, I learned some things!

The ins and outs of credit cards and overall credit are explained and then the book goes into goal setting, planning, and time management. These are things that we tend to think we’ll just ‘pick up’ along the way but so many people struggle with these things throughout their lives.


Chapter 2: I’m Catching the Red Eye – Travel and Fashion

Knowing how to get around, especially if you don’t have a vehicle of your own, is a VERY essential life skill! This chapter goes into the different types of transportation, when and how to navigate them, and the pros and cons of each. As someone who hasn’t frequented public transportation, I learned a lot in this section.

The second part of this chapter delves into appropriate attire for interviewing for a job and when you start your job. Everything from casual to formal interviews are discussed as well as typical male and female attire.


Chapter 3: Luncheons to Dinner Dates

Knowing the etiquette of dining with others is essential whether you are at an interview sipping on coffee, a work luncheon, on lunchbreak with coworkers, or on a date. If you’re smacking while eating with your mouth open, scarfing your food, and talking with food in your mouth, you give off a very unprofessional and annoying vibe.

This chapter goes into all of that, what to do, what not to do, and so forth. I was taught most of these things growing up, especially the chewing with my mouth closed, but I noticed as I got older that many people weren’t taught dining etiquette. We are already working on teaching our kids to eat with their mouths closed and not talk with food in their mouths, even though they are still little. I figure it’ll be easier to teach them now than to try and fix the behavior in the future.

Beyond the simple manners and dinner etiquette, the chapter also goes over tipping protocol, typical percentages for certain services and more.


Chapter 4: I Got Bills In My Hands

This chapter is about financial literacy, something that I was actually just discussing with my little ones this morning as we were playing Monopoly and got into a deeper discussion about mortgaging a property (and while it’s ok in Monopoly, I wouldn’t recommend it in the real world.)

Financial literacy is something that is often overlooked and not explicitly taught to children, teens, or young adults. Without it, you’ll have a really rough life, always in debt. I like how she lays out information about overall financial literacy, credit scores and how to maintain them, the dos and don’ts of borrowing money whether that be from a financial institution or friends, and more.

Scholarships, financial aid (including types and payment methods), taxes, renters insurance, emergency funds, and more are covered in this section. It’s a really great overview of financial literacy and how to apply it to everyday life.


Chapter 5: Communication – The End Game of Conveyance

Communication is so paramount to everything we do. Without good communication you open yourself up to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, unmet needs, and more.

I find that a lot of people have a hard time communicating, especially when it comes to a romantic relationship. Though this chapter is about much more than romantic relationships, it’s something to keep in mind moving forward. A huge reason my marriage is so strong is because we have open and honest communication with each other.

Different types of communication including verbal, non-verbal, phone calls and voicemails, making and cancelling appointments, and more are discussed in this chapter. The author also goes into when it is appropriate to text someone vs when you should call. I know these days many of us, me included, are more comfortable texting than picking up a phone and calling someone. However, that’s not always the best solution. Earlier this year I was texted when my step-grandpa passed. I knew he wasn’t doing well but being texted the information of his passing was quite jarring, a phone call may have been better.

The proper emailing etiquette, how to properly form an email, and knowing when and how to say ‘no’ in various situations are all discussed in this chapter as well.


Chapter 6: Your Own Mental Health Above Everything

I completely agree with this sentiment which always reminds me of the adage of putting your face mask on before you help the person, or child, next to you. The reason for that is if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to help anyone else.

Especially as a former school psychologist with 7 years of psychology training under my belt and a person who has also struggled with depression most of my life, I know that taking care of oneself is of the utmost importance and is something that isn’t often valued in our culture.

Therefore, I am very happy to see this chapter in this book as it’s such an important life skill to learn at a young age. Within this chapter the author discusses what mental health is, how to improve or maintain one’s mental health, why it’s important, self care techniques such as eating right, exercising, socializing, and getting adequate sleep.

She also touches on anxiety, tactics to help calm anxiety, loneliness and how to combat it, and hobbies which seem like they’re ‘extra’ but really, they are so essential to who we are. She also discusses being confident with who you are, knowing how to deal with peer pressure, making difficult decisions, and social media posting and consuming.


Chapter 7: The Professionals Have Arrived

This chapter is primarily focused on when you are finishing your college degree and entering the professional world, as many call it. Topics such as finding guidance from other professionals, job hunting, internships, and getting a job are the core of this chapter.

Everything from how to look for a job to what to put on your resume, to getting recommendations from others are important when job hunting. Many colleges have some basic resources available for this time in life but it’s great to have it in this book so it’s all in one spot!


Chapter 8: Why All The Paperwork?

There is a lot of paperwork to be completed as you go from being a young adult to a full fledged adult. Everything from setting up a power of attorney to HIPPA, FERPA, and other important documentation are touched on in this chapter.


Chapter 9: The Healthy Inclination

This chapter is all about being healthy. From how to chose a doctor to when to go to the doctor, urgent care, or ER, as well as when to seek mental health services are all discussed. Types of health insurance, the basics of living a healthy life including eating well and having a consistent sleep routine and schedule are discussed within detail.


Overall Impression of this Book

I love the idea of having a go-to guide for young adults to look back on in order to learn the life skills that will help them the rest of their lives. Basic things that adults just ‘know’ and may forget to teach their young adults include knowing what a social security number is, why it’s needed, how it’s used, and that you should memorize it, is just one example from this book. There are 39 others!

I really like how the book is laid out and how it goes into detail on each skill to explain the ‘why’ behind it instead of just instructing what to do. This book is easy to read as it’s broken up into sections as well as the utilization of paragraphs and bullet points which make it easy to refer back to.

This is a great book for any teenager and especially any high schoolers, especially high school graduates! Honestly, I’m even going to use this book for my little kids to help remind me what I should be teaching them as they grow up in addition to the core academics.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I think this would also be a great book for adults as well! There are so many things in this book that we aren’t taught in school that many people struggle with well into adulthood. If everyone knew these life skills from the start, we’d all be much better off.


Get Your Copy!

To get your own copy of this book for your young adult, click the button below. It’s available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle formats.


Book review of 40 essential life skills for college-aged young adults

Founder, Professional Blogger at The Way it Really Is, LLC | [email protected] | Website

As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.

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