Image Credits: Sarah Vickers

By the time you’re 20 there are a few things every girl needs to know. We’ll call them the “basics of life”. Since you’re making huge life decisions in your 20’s, knowing these 20 things will help every day life run a little more smoothly.

1) Your go to manicure

Don’t underestimate the power of a good manicure. There’s just something about your nails being polished that makes you feel good, and look put together. Know what manicure makes you feel and look the best, and the best place to get it. A good manicure can make all the difference.

2) How to change a tire

I know we all have AAA these days, but knowing how to change a tire in case you get in a real bind is a big deal. Know where you spare tire is and how to get the jack under your car so you can change the tire. Have someone help teach you, or watch a video on YouTube. You’ll be glad you did.

3) How to write a resume & cover letter

This is perhaps the most important professional skill to have because it’s what’s going to get you in the door at any place you want to work. Know how to sell yourself on paper, and most importantly, please know to change your cover letter for each job you apply for. Read the job posting for specific skills a position may require, and tweak the verbiage on your resume to be more applicable. Most importantly, do not lie on your resume. If you aren’t a good fit for the position with your skills and experience, you wouldn’t be happy there anyway. And if you do get hired, they will soon figure out that you were lying and that will not be a pleasant conversation.

4) How to do laundry

Knowing how to do your own laundry is basically a requirement to join the “real life adult” club. If you don’t want your favorite white top to come out slightly blue, remember to separate the lights from the darks.  Know if your clothes need to be air dried, or can go in the dryer.  For the love of all that is cloth, do not wash something that is “dry clean only.”

5) An easy meal you can make in under 30 minutes

Let’s face it, sometimes life’s super busy, and you’re ultra broke. Keep ingredients in your home for a meal you can make in under 30 minutes.  This will save your life, and stomach, more than you think.

6) Your (semi) perfect skin care routine

This doesn’t mean you’ll never get a breakout, but by the time you’re 20 you should have a decent understanding of what kind of skin you have.  You should also know when you’re most likely to have skin issues, and how to handle them. You should definitely be taking your makeup off every night before you go to sleep, and have a routine to keep your skin in line. It’s your biggest organ, and one of the first things people notice about you. Take care of it. 

7) How to wash your makeup brushes

You don’t have to be a pro.  Know how to get the built up makeup out of those pesky bristles. Not only does this extend the life of your brushes, but it also prevents breakouts, helps apply your makeup more flawlessly, and prevents the yesterday’s smoky eye from ruining today’s neutral office look.

8) Your ring size

More than likely, some day someone is going to want to know your ring size. Whether it’s your significant other, your mom, or yourself, this one little number can be very important. Know the sizes of the fingers you’re most likely to wear rings on. If you don’t know your size, any jeweler should be able to size you.

9) Your go to outfit for an interview

It is important to have an outfit that you can pick out of your closet at a moment’s notice for an interview, and know you’re going to feel confident and comfortable. Interviewing is all about presenting the best version of yourself. This outfit should speak to that. Whether it’s a pantsuit, a skirt and blazer, or a dress, make sure it’s tailored, comfortable, clean, and ready to go if you get a call from your dream job to interview.

10) What you DON’T want in a relationship

So many people stress knowing what you want in a relationship, but it’s also important to know what you don’t want. There are certain things we’d all like to have in a significant other, but could live happily without because they have other amazing qualities. What you cannot overlook are the deal breaker issues. Figure out what you don’t want in a relationship, so when someone great comes around, you’re not matching them up to your list of “must haves.”.Instead, you won’t even start a relationship with someone who isn’t up to par.  You can enjoy all the wonderful traits that person does have.

11) A scripture or quote to get you through a hard time

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

This verse has gotten me through loss, breakups, stressful weeks, and even encouraged me when life was going exactly the way that I planned. Having a verse or a quote that you can cling to when life gets hard is so important for those moments when you’re all alone and having to handle the problems of life. Find a one liner that encourages you, memorize it. Repeat it to yourself as often as you need to for encouragement, help, or the strength to carry on.

12) Your credit score

This number is, without a doubt, one of the most important numbers in your life. It dictates if you get a loan, how much, what your interest rate will be, if you can rent an apartment, have a cell phone plan, etc. Understanding credit, and how it impacts your financial life is vital to being successful.  This is especially true in your 20s when you’re likely starting to build your credit. Sign up for a free credit reporting website to at least have an idea of what you’re working with, pay off your credit cards every month, pay your bills on time, and know your rights when it comes to pulling your credit reports. When in doubt, ask mom or dad for a little advice and a few tips.

13) What your “comfort” food is

Plain and simple, know what your go to food is when you’re sad, mad, frustrated, or worried. This can either help you to stay away from the extra calories if you’re trying to “be good,” or allow yourself to indulge when you need the treat. You know what they say, chocolate is a girl’s best friend.

14) How to handle a breakup or rejection

It is important to know how to handle rejection with grace. Whether it’s a breakup, a rejection letter from your #1 school, or not getting your dream job, how you handle “failure” says a lot about you, and helps determine your path. Don’t be a victim of circumstances and situations. Learn how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and make the most of what life has given you, no matter the circumstances. Be the heroine of your own life and make it one you love.

15) How to write a check

Most millennials are used to swiping their cards for everything. Sometimes that just won’t cut it. Understand how to write a check so when you’re in a sticky situation and need to write one, you don’t have to call your parents to explain it and risk looking like a cotton-headed ninny muggins.

16) A makeup look you can do in under 10 minutes

Sometimes I sleep in, run late, or forget I have an appointment, and I’m sure you can relate to the struggle. Having a “put together” makeup look that can be done in under 10 minutes will save you more times than you expect. Even if it’s your everyday look, a little concealer, blush, and mascara can really change how you feel and give you an extra oomph on that big presentation. Figure out what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident.  Find a routine that you can do at the drop of a hat if you’re in a pinch.

17) Your parents cell phone numbers

At some point in your life you will more than likely break your phone beyond repair, and probably lose all of your contacts. Memorize your parents cell phone numbers so when that fateful day comes, you can get ahold of them, and they can save the day. If you’re like me and not the best at remembering a random sequence of numbers, write the most important ones on an index card and put it in a place that is easily accessible that you won’t forget.

18) How to accept constructive criticism

There will come a time in your life when a manager, mentor, parent, or friend is going to try to help you grow by giving you constructive criticism. How you respond to this advice is entirely up to you, but has a huge impact. Understand that they come from a place of love. They want to help you grow to fulfill your full potential. Take what they have to say and allow it to make you better. So many people in today’s world hate being told where they have opportunities to grow, but continuous improvement is crucial in your personal and professional life. That being said, when someone, especially a young person, knows how to handle criticism with grace, it’s a breath of fresh air to the person who was bold enough, and cares enough about you, to share. They will respect you all the more for your ability to listen, understand, and take appropriate steps. Learn to accept the aid of others, and you will truly be better for it.

19) Your personality type

Even if you’ve done Meyer’s Briggs test before, I would highly suggest going to 16personalities.com and taking their free, 10 minute test. This will give you a breakdown of your source of energy, the method by which you perceive information, how you process information, and how you implement the information you’ve processed. The result from this test will explain how you function in a workplace, in personal relationships, help you understand how you see the world, and so much more. Understanding how you interact with the world around you will help you to maintain more healthy relationships, interact with others more effectively, and help keep a close watch on parts of your personality you’re not as fond of.

20) What you’re worth

This is the hardest, yet most crucial lesson you can learn. There will be times in your life when someone doesn’t value your time, your effort, or your abilities. You will have to stand firm and know what you are worth whether that’s in a relationship, a friendship, or a job offer, and not settle for anything less. Please always remember that “your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” Don’t sell yourself short of your full potential because someone else doesn’t see it. Know what you’re worth, and never let anyone convince you of anything less.

Even if you don’t have all 20 of these totally perfected, that’s okay. Your 20’s are the most exciting time of your life. Take it all one step at a time. No one says you have to have it all together. Enjoy being able to be a mess sometimes, and enjoy what every moment has to offer.

Corrie L
FFL Cabinet Member
Corrie is a Cabinet Member at FFL. She enjoys long walks to Starbucks and is always checking her planner to see what's next. If she isn't talking about law school, being a Camel, or FFL, she's out trying to turn hard work into chicken nuggets.

Read more articles