We all love college, but not everyone feels prepared for adulthood when they throw their cap into the air and get that college diploma. Sometimes, graduation is coming at you fast. You realize that you are not ready to be on your own in the real world, without your parents or your college dean to support you. It is never too late or too early to start preparing to be an independent adult. Here are seven ways to do that as a college student.

1) Start building your credit. Credit cards either sound super alluring or super scary. It is difficult to find the balance, but credit is necessary for most adult activities, like buying a car or house. While you probably won’t have the assets to buy a house independently, you can get a credit card and start using it responsibly to build up your credit. It’s hard to exit college, ready for adulthood and with zero credit history. Working towards that in college is easy to do. Only put on your credit card expenses that you can pay off though. You don’t want to end up in debt.

2) Learn to cook real food. You will be much happier as an adult, living on your own, if you learned to cook something other than ramen noodles and cupcakes during your college years. Cooking for yourself is so much cheaper than eating out all the time. You’ll be thankful you’ve learned when you’re living on your own after college. Put all those saved “Food Porn” videos to good use in your own kitchen.

3) Start paying some of your own bills. Once you start making some money of your own, start paying some of your own bills. Maybe that’s your car payment, your phone bill, or your monthly Netflix bill, but pay something. You’ll start to feel much more independent. When you eventually start paying ALL of your own bills, it won’t be such a shock to your system.

[RELATED: 7 Easy Side Hustles You Can Start This Weekend]

4) Build your professional wardrobe

College girls seem to be known, in this day and age, for wearing oversized t-shirts and leggings. That doesn’t meant that’s all you should own. Work on building your professional wardrobe, even if you’re not going to wear it to class. Eventually, you’ll have to start dressing a little nicer. Whether that’s for job interviews or your career, and simply throwing a blazer over your leggings isn’t going to cut it. Invest a little in some practical business clothes and you’ll thank yourself later. You don’t want to have to blow your entire first paycheck at Ann Taylor or The Limited because you only own leggings at age 22.

5) Understand how to file your own taxes

Learning to file my own taxes, and truly understanding what was happening on that crazy form, was one of my first steps into independent adulthood. Filing taxes in itself is an adult task. Try taking a basic tax preparer class offered near you, or sit down the next time your parents or your accountant does your tax return and actually learn what is happening. It will help you understand what money you’re sending away and what money you’re getting back.

RELATED: 7 Things You Need To Know About Your Tax Return

6) Start asking for practical Christmas and birthday presents

Say goodbye to asking for pretty hair ties and candy. Say hello to asking for blenders and socks. I’m serious. While some frivolous or fun presents are almost a Christmas necessity, if you want to work towards independent adulthood as a college student you should ask for some practical presents too. Think of things you can use for your apartment or to wear to work. The gift of an oil change is a gift that keeps on giving.

7) Make your own appointments

I know calling the doctor or your hair stylist can be really scary sometimes, but adults make their own appointments. You should too. Don’t call your mom to call your doctor the next time you’ve got the flu or a broken finger. You can do this. Once you start making your own appointments, you’ll start attending them by yourself, you’re basically an adult. They give you a card and a lollipop on your way out.

Being an adult can sound really scary, especially when you’re in college and have no clue how you’ll ever be able to live by yourself or without a parent to make sure you don’t die of starvation or a common cold, but if you take little steps while you are still in college, you can make it.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member