Can YOU Handle This?

5 things you gotta master before leaving home.

1. Cook three meals. These don’t have to be complicated. Think: grilled cheese sandwiches, a can of spaghetti sauce over some noodles with microwave vegetables, or if you’re feeling fancy, a bowl of rice with sliced veggies, chicken and soy sauce. Make sure you have the cooking tools and a shopping list for each meal. Even if you’re in the dorm with a meal plan, knowing how to whip together a solid meal will make you the star of your circle of friends.

2. Maintain your ride. Learn how to maintain your tires (and change one if necessary), jump a battery and replace your windshield wipers. Get an emergency car kit that includes a big flashlight and a few paper maps should your phone battery die.

3. Pay bills. Even if your folks help out financially, it’s wise to learn how much your bills are, when they’re due and how the payments are managed.

4. Do laundry. It’s on you now. Time to figure out what all those fabric care symbols and machine settings mean.

5. Live with people. Living with your peers in a dorm or apartment will be a big change from living at home. Start practicing now how you’ll set boundaries with your future roomies. Think about the items you’re bringing to school. Which are personal, and which are okay for communal use? If you and your new roomies are responsible for cleaning the space, how will chores be handled? Ask people you respect how they handled living with roommates for the first time.

Packing like a pro

Be prepared, but not too prepared. Here’s what you should bring to college, and what you should leave behind.

Don’t forget to pack:
• Duffle bags for impromptu weekend trips
• One business-y and one fancy outfit for formal events
• A printout of important phone numbers in case you lose your phone
• Spare set of sheets and pillowcases
• Tool kit
• First aid supplies
• Wrinkle release spray and fabric freshener
• Rainy weather gear
• Jacket or coat for winter

Things to leave at home:
• Bulky luggage
• At least some of your wardrobe and shoe collection
• Valuables or anything you’d hate to lose
• Panini maker or other specialty cooking appliances
• Fancy plates and silverware
• Holiday decorations
• Forbidden items; check to see what’s allowed in your dorm or off-campus apartment.

Recipes for Beginners

Salami Cheese Melt
Ingredients:

  • Salami
  • American cheese
  • Potato bread
  • Cooking spray
  • Fresh fruit for a side salad
    (Katiana says strawberries and kiwi are a good mix.)

How to:

  • Make a sandwich with three or four slices each of the salami and cheese.
  • Heat a pan on the stove and add olive oil spray.
  • Place the sandwich in the pan and let it cook until the cheese melts, flipping halfway through.
  • You’re done! chop up the strawberries and kiwi to eat on the side. Enjoy!

Student Chef
Katiana Urbina, 24, senior
Miami Dade College

Off Sides Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients:

  • Ground beef (about a pound)
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Can of corn
  • Can of green beans
  • Cheese (shredded)

How to:

  • Brown the beef in a pan.
  • While it’s heating up, make the instant potatoes according to package directions.
  • Drain the liquid off the corn and green beans, then add to the beef.
  • Once everything is heated, top the beef and veggies with the potatoes.
  • Add cheese and divide evenly among your hungry friends!

Student Chef
Matthew Walsh, 20, junior
Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers