Millennial Survival 101 – Eight Things The Young Adults Of Today Should Know… And Don’t

Originally published on

Hey, I’ve got a joke. Ready?

            What did the first millennial say to the second millennial?


            Some day I’ll live in my OWN basement!

Well, a basement is better for this generation than living out in the woods… .at least according to a study released this year.

Per the research, the vast majority of the “millennial” generation (basically the group of people that never knew life without the use of a cell phone) lacks the basic, fundamental skills to barely survive in an outdoor situation. They can’t make a fire, they can’t fish (let alone clean a fish) and they are hard-pressed to make a basic survival knot.


I can even understand the “fire” thing…. It’s not easy to make a fire; but it is a pretty important skill that could save one’s life. By the way, the survey wasn’t even talking about the “old school” rub-two-sticks-together method. The researchers were fully prepared to spot the test subject a match (or twelve). But a knot? My six-year-old makes an awesome knot with his shoelaces. I need a marlin spike to pull those laces apart.

Let me guess…. You don’t know what a marlin spike is, do you? Just “Google” it…. I am starting to see where the millennials get their issues….

Okay, back to the emergency at hand. Let me give you a list of things that you should know in life. Basic, fundamental things that will help you survive if you have to go it alone, or even if your cell phone dies and you have nowhere to charge it (the horror!)

  • Changing A Tire – I have, literally, asked a ½ dozen people this question… I’m not talking about kids either; I’m talking about a “Has-Children-Owns-A-Home-Pays-Bills” bona fide adult. The answer I got was always the same: “I just call AAA. They’ll come out and do it for me in 15 minutes.” I understand the thinking; why make it harder when you can do it smarter…. So, do these people also not bother to keep a fire extinguisher handy, also? I mean, just let it burn. The fire department will be there in 3-5 minutes.
  • Read A Map – You want to know something? I prefer a real map over that thing on my phone. A real map doesn’t talk back, it doesn’t correct you when you read it wrong (hey phone, did you ever think that maybe I wanted to make that wrong turn? Huh, huh? Not so smart now, are ya?) Still…. You have to assume that the mighty smartphone won’t always be there to get you un-lost. I’ve had my fair share of being in places where there was no reception, and the map in my car came in quite handy. And when you’re finished learning how to read a map, start learning how to use a compass.
  • Swim – 71% of the planet is covered in water… that’s before all the pools. Seriously, you really don’t want to be watching someone drowning and not be able to do anything because you didn’t bother to take a couple lap classes at the local YMCA.
  • Jumpstart a car – First rule of jumpstarting a car: Ground the negative. If you don’t know what this means, then stop driving your car. In fact, don’t operate another vehicle for the rest of your life. Otherwise, go onto YouTube and type in “How To Jump Start An Automobile”.
  • CPR/Basic First Aid – Why are we not teaching this on a yearly basis starting in middle school??? I’m not talking about field surgery here. I just want to know that, if my kids start choking on the lunchroom tater tots, that their cafeteria buddy might be able to do something about it if the lunch lady is in the back room rubbing her bunions.
  • Sew – There are all kinds of things that can be sewn together: Clothing, blankets, leather, skin…. Okay the last one is a little disturbing when we first think about it, but it is also a very important means of survival. Ever gotten stitches? My six year-old just got his first set on his index finger, so it’s likely you will probably have stitches in your life too. Or you will have an injury that will require them and there are no guarantees that you will be nearby a medical facility to get a wound sewn together… oh yeah, it’s a good skill to patch up those pesky holes in your clothes, too.
  • Cook – In the day of the pre-internet bachelor, I was taught that there were staple items at grocery stores that every single, hungry male should have in his house. They included: Bread, Milk, Eggs, Bacon, Cheese, Coffee, Spaghetti Noodles, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Tomato Sauce, Spam, a box of dry dinner mix (like hamburger helper), rice and bottles of water. With the exception of bread and milk, the rest of these can last a very long time and can also be used to make some equally clever meals. Not only do most young adults today not stock this stuff, they don’t know what to do if they have it.
  • Calculate the tip at a restaurant – Seriously? Not only do you not know how to cook, but because you don’t know how to cook you are eating out all the time… and then you stiff the waiter because you don’t what is an appropriate tip? Before we begin, I just want you to know that I once waited tables, and I hate you.
    • 15% of final bill – Breakfast and Lunch.
    • 20% of final bill – Dinner


When it comes to basic social survival, most people do their best. I just think that we have developed a generation of individuals who don’t want to learn these skills because to do so would be far too inconvenient. Additionally, I am sure that I have offended a whole host of people with this write-up who proudly know all of these things that I have listed.


And if you were easily offended by my simples, helpful suggestions…. Well, then you have just proved my point about the issues that society has with your generation.


Jason Wells is the author of Our Path To Safety: A U.S. Secret Service Agent’s Guide To Creating Safe Communities”. Jason is the President and Founder of the National Advancements for Proactive Safety, an educational non-profit organization committed to providing a safe community through intervention processes and a former Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. He is a contributing writer to the online publication Robious Corridor, and a Board Member of the National Senior Citizens Committee. He has been featured in the Huffington Post, Forbes, Slate and Fatherly.