How To Life
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Students Learn “How to Life”

Students come to Southwestern with high academic scores and grades, but are sometimes unsure about various basic necessities of life, like changing a flat tire.


Jason Chapman ’03, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Magen Comley Smith ’10, Assistant Director of Residence Life

A new program offered through Southwestern’s Office of Student Life helps students learn life skills not traditionally discussed in the classroom. The goal of the program is to “prepare students to be better informed in the real world,” says Jason Chapman ’03, assistant director of student activities. “We want to teach students the things their parents know.”

The “How to Life” program allows students to learn things such as banking basics, first aid, and home maintenance, preparing them for the real world or in other words, “how to life.” Chapman explains, “this year is a pilot program, but we hope it is something that will continue every year.”

The program consists of a series of presentations held the third Tuesday of every month. There are no sign-ups for the events; everyone is welcome and can just show up. Depending on the presentation, Southwestern will partner with an expert on the topic being discussed.

Upcoming sessions will include a cooking seminar where students will learn how to pick the right produce and make 10-minute meals; basic first aid, which will teach students how to properly bandage a cut and deal with other first-aid issues; and car safety, where students will learn how to change a tire.

As a graduate of Southwestern, Chapman wanted to recreate the wonderful experience he had as a student and to provide even more opportunities for current students, so he began the “How to Life” program along with Magen Comley Smith ’10, assistant director of residence life.

“The ‘How to Life’ seminars are a great mix of both reviewing things I knew from my parents and learning new things. For example, in the last presentation, I learned that cleaning products with hydrogen peroxide are bad to use for cleaning bathrooms because they remove the factory finish off of tubs and toilets. So, while I was familiar with a lot of cleaning aspects, the seminar corrected and improved some misconceptions I had about cleaning products and cleaning techniques in general” said sophomore Sarah Ally, who attended the home maintenance seminar.

Chapman and Smith are working hard to give Southwestern students the right tools to be successful in life, flat tire and all.

Story by Daniella A. Barrera

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