Abbreviated guide for living in the real world

SCHOOL'S FINISHED: Here's some lessons you'll need to learn very quickly that the schoolyard never taught you.
SCHOOL'S FINISHED: Here's some lessons you'll need to learn very quickly that the schoolyard never taught you. Jojo Newby

SCHOOL'S out, you've partied your brains out at schoolies - now what?

Well, dear school leavers, welcome to the real world.

A place where opportunities are endless, your wingspan is as wide as you want it to be, and the choices you make now will affect the rest of your life.

It can be a scary place with all this freedom and decision-making, so we've compiled a handy dandy guide for you teenagers to help ease you into the big, bad world.

We asked our friends on Facebook for their life advice and today we'll share some of the top tips with you.

Here are eight life lessons you never learnt at school that you need to know. Now.

1 - Sometimes there is a loser

THE truth is, school had you fooled.

Even when you came dead last in sporting carnivals, they'd congratulate you with an "I ran in a race" ribbon and it was happy days all round. That doesn't happen in real life.

In the real world, if you go for a job and don't get it, don't expect a little red participation ribbon with your name written in perfect calligraphy.

Don't even expect them to remember your name after they hang up the phone - expect nothing.

Throughout your life you are almost guaranteed to fail at something, and that's okay.

The most successful people have built their careers on making mistakes and learning from them.

You don't need to get an A+ in every one of life's subjects, and that's the beauty of it.

It's about starting from the bottom and working your way up the ladder.

2 - Wave goodbye to cliques

THERE is a reason it happens in movies: the egotistical jock ends up cleaning toilets for a living and the nerd becomes the prime minister.

Mikael Damkier

And it's because it's almost true.

Once you leave school, there is no such thing as the jocks, the plastics, the computer nerds and the drama geeks. So wave goodbye to the segregation in the schoolyard and make friends with every-one.

You're going to be growing up in the world with these people and the last thing you want is the kid you so selfishly bullied at school being your boss, right?

Vice versa it's a match made in heaven, but keep that in mind as you set out into the real world.

3 - Your attitude means more than your academic results

A POTENTIAL employer will toss away a page of high distinctions for the person with the right attitude.

Despite what your parents and teachers may have told you, it's not about acing everything on paper - it's your attitude towards the tasks you undertake that matters.

Books will only get you to the starting line. It's about learning how to run the race that makes all the difference.

4 - Managing money

ONE of the most stressful parts of growing up is learning to manage your money.

Banks are only too willing to dish out loans to young people who don't have solid plans in place for how they will pay it back.

Barry Leddicoat

As you step into full-time work, move out of home and enjoy the perks of being an adult, you will develop a whole new sense of the value of the dollar.

Forget hassling the younger students for an extra 20c in the tuckshop line, there's no place for that in the real world. You've got to take this road on your own.

So, here is one word you need to tattoo into your brain - BUDGET.

Step one - work out how much income you have per week and write it down.

Step two - work out your expenses: phone bill, petrol, gym membership, food, rent, car loan, etc. Don't forget to allocate some money to your savings for emergencies.

Now do a subtraction.

If you take home $500 a week and your expenses add up to $420, you only have $80 to play with, so spend it wisely.

Step three - stick to your budget! Set up a few different accounts if it helps keep your finances organised and once you put some money into your savings account, don't withdraw it - no matter how nice those patent peep toes are! Resist the urge to spend.

5 - Doing your tax

LIKE a thief in the night, the tax demon swoops into your weekly pay cheque and dishes himself a serving of your hard-earned cash.

The more you earn, the more you get taxed.

But come July every year, you're likely to get a nice little cheque in the mail, claiming some of that back. But if you don't know how the system works, you may get a big fat zero, or even owe the taxation office money.

So your best bet is to keep receipts for everything you buy that is work-related: uniforms, equipment, petrol if you drive on the job, etc.

Then, once you get your group certificate from your employer, take all your collected receipts to an accountant. You can do your tax online, and it is cheaper, but taking it to someone who knows the ropes is the best way to get the most tax back.

It may cost you $80, but it's an investment you'll be glad you made when you see those extra zeros on your return.

6 - Moving out

ONCE you flee the nest, there is more to life than eating two-minute noodles and not making your bed.

It's about, again, referring to your trusty budget and knowing exactly how much you have to spend on rent, food, bills, etc. Can you even afford to move out? Will you move in with friends or alone?

If you're going to move out with some housemates, you need to have a serious sit-down and ensure everyone is in the financial position to move out and all will chip in equal amounts.

Remember, just because you're BFFs doesn't mean you will gel well living together. Try travelling with that person first, then you will know if you can handle living with them.

Once you're ready to find a place, do as much research as you can about what's out there and how much you should be paying in rent so you don't get ripped off or blow your budget.

Find yourself a trusted real estate agent to help you with the tricky bits.

7 - How to vote


ELECTION time is not something to take lightly. You are voting for people to lead your electorate and your country.

While the Elvis impersonator going for mayor may seem the funniest option to select in the polls, or the party with the strangest name, you should take the time to do your research and make your vote reflect what changes you want to see in the country.

Come election time, keep an eye on the news and familiarise yourself with each party's policies. You don't have to vote for a party just because your parents do, or because that's what you have been told. It's time to make up your own mind.

Then, when it's time to mark the box in the booth, you have to either mark a '1' in the box of the party you want to vote for, or you'll need to mark every box depending on the rules of the election.

8 - How to change a tyre

SOMETHING everyone should know how to do is change a tyre.

If you blow a tyre on the side of the road, you want to be able to put on your spare and get on your merry way as soon as you can.

While it is best to get someone to show you in person how to change a tyre, here are a quick few tips to keep in mind.

Changing a tyre is one of life's basic skills every driver must learn.
Changing a tyre is one of life's basic skills every driver must learn.
  • Step one: Ensure you have a spare!
  • Step two: Make sure you have a jack and the appropriate tools in your car at all times. Keep a set of jumper leads in there too in case you or someone else gets a flat battery - and learn how to use them.
  • Step three: Find the grooves on the chassis beneath your car where the jack will sit. It is usually behind the front wheel and in front of the back wheel. For example, if changing the back left wheel, you will put the jack just in front of the back left wheel. Loosen the nuts on the wheel then use the jack to lift the wheel off the ground.
  • Step four: Remove the nuts and then the wheel.
  • Step five: Put your spare wheel on and put the nuts back into place. Tighten them as much as you can.
  • Step six: Once you are sure the wheel is secure, you can wind down the jack, tighten the nuts again, and you're away.
  • Step seven: REPLACE YOUR SPARE!

Topics:  life skills school leavers

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