How to Prepare for the Unexpected

Unless you’re Raven Baxter, you probably can’t predict the future. Unexpected events are a natural part of life, but as college students, these moments can make us feel like we’re irresponsible if we’re not prepared for them. My ADHD has made me quite forgetful at times and that forgetfulness translates into feeling unprepared constantly. Several mistakes I have made in my life could have been easily avoided by planning ahead instead of just winging it. Here are my favorite adulting essentials that have made my life so much easier!

1. AAA membership card

AAA has saved my life on countless occasions. I am fortunate that my grandma decided to put me on her plan, but if you don’t have AAA I would highly consider looking into it. If you have a flat tire and don’t have a spare or the tools to change a tire on your own, they will tow your car to the nearest auto shop. Let’s say you are driving with your friend and they have a flat or their transmission goes out, but your friend doesn’t have AAA. AAA will still tow their car as long as you’re present when the incident occurs. AAA offers discounts for their members as well. I have used my AAA membership to get discounts from companies such as Target Optical to Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

2. Car Kit

It’s important to be prepared for whatever season it may be that day (#missouriproblems). A few of my favorite car essentials include Rain-X and kitty litter for when my car gets foggy from moisture outside, ice melt and ice scraper for frozen ice and snow, and a sun shield for when it’s 90 degrees outside. Basic car maintenance items such as a spare tire, reflective triangle, and jumper cables are important to keep in your car as well. I also keep a first aid kit, blanket, umbrella and phone charger in my car at all times. If you have no idea where to start, here’s a car kit created by AAA that has all of the basic car essentials!

3. Overnight Bag

There have been so many times in my life when I stayed the night at a friend or significant other’s house at the last minute and had to fall asleep with my contacts in because I forgot to pack an overnight bag. Now, I make sure to keep overnight items in my car so I never have to skip brushing my teeth or taking my makeup off if I decide to crash at a friend’s house that night instead of driving back home.

Overnight bag items can include:

4. Cash and/or Credit Card

I can’t think of a situation more awkward than waiting in line for a concert or bar and finding out that they only take cash. You look in your wallet and there no bills in sight. You either have to scramble to find an ATM, ask your friend for money, hope the person in line with you is feeling generous that day or leave the event you were looking forward to before it even starts. Avoid the drama by carrying cash with you, especially if you’re attending events that may not accept debit or credit cards.

However, let’s say you don’t have any cash on you and no money in your checking or savings accounts, and an emergency happens. What do you do? If you have a credit card, it’s time to break it out. I am guilty of using my credit card for non-emergencies, such as shopping at Marshalls or getting coffee at Einstein’s on campus, but now I keep my credit card at home in a sealed envelope labeled “Emergencies Only.” However, if I’m going out of town I find it useful to keep it on hand, just in case.

Many events in life can be prevented by having the foresight and preparing for the unexpected. It’s taken me years of struggling to figure out how to “adult”, but at 23 I think I’m more prepared for the real world than I was at 18 or 19. Mistakes are bound to happen and I’m sure I’ll have more foresight when I’m 30 than I do now. I hope this list has helped you learn from my past mistakes, but also from my past accomplishments in adulting!