My son has no life skills — so how will he cope at university?

How can you prepare your son or daughter for university?
My son has no life skills — so how will he cope at university?

"My son will soon start university, and I’m already worrying about how he’ll cope as he’s never cooked a meal and is useless with money. What advice do you have?" Picture: Stock

Student vlogger Jack Edwards gives his hard won advice on how teens can learn to survive in their first weeks of university and college, in the weeks and months ahead

Q: My son will soon start university, and I’m already worrying about how he’ll cope as he’s never cooked a meal and is useless with money. What advice do you have?

A: Student vlogger Jack Edwards, who has just graduated from Durham University in England and is the author of The Uni-verse: The Ultimate University Survival Guide, says: “Now is the time to make sure he can get himself through first term without a) starving, b) setting the kitchen on fire, or c) living la vida broke-a.

“Learning to cook from scratch at uni is actually quite a sociable process, and a great way to bond with new housemates. They can cook meals together, cook for one another, or share tips and tricks to develop their culinary prowess.

 Jack Edwards. Picture: Jack Edwards
 Jack Edwards. Picture: Jack Edwards

“Hey, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsey had to start somewhere, right? Your son’s not in any danger of malnourishment just because he hasn’t cooked a meal yet - he’ll learn quickly and enjoy the process.

“I’d always recommend starting with the absolute basics and working your way up, ensuring he knows how to cook things like pasta, rice or chicken which can form the base of a myriad dishes.

“I also found it useful to have at least one basic cooking book that I could always rely on to guide me through, and YouTube videos show exactly what the food you’re preparing should look like, which is handy.

“What you can do before sending your son off into the wilderness of Freshers Week is equipping him with a few staple meals like spaghetti Bolognese or chilli con carne which can be prepared in bulk and frozen. A quick lesson in seasoning will also be useful, and cooking with garlic or soy sauce can really elevate dishes to the next level without much special ability required.

“Maybe aim for your son to cook one meal for the family per week, with assistance at first before going solo.

The Ultimate University Survival Guide by Jack Edwards.
The Ultimate University Survival Guide by Jack Edwards.

“When it comes to money, I’d recommend opening a separate student bank account where your son can have a monthly allowance to keep his budget in check and track purchases. Often different banks will offer rewards for doing so, like Amazon vouchers, 16-25 railcards, or free gifts, so it’s worth shopping around to find a good deal.

“For nights out, he could decide beforehand not to exceed a certain expenditure or only take out a set amount of cash, which will hopefully prevent him from ordering too many rounds of drinks!

“It’s all in the budgeting and making sure his full maintenance loan and/or overdraft is sitting in an account ready to be used.”

The Uni-verse: The Ultimate University Survival Guide, by Jack Edwards is published by HarperNonFiction. Available now.

Learning to cook from scratch at uni is actually quite a sociable process, and a great way to bond with new housemates. They can book meals together, cook for one another, or share tips and tricks to develop their culinary prowess.

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