If you want to master university, you’re going to need a wider range of skills than just being good in the classroom.

Your university days are so formative because, for most, it’s also the first time they’ve moved out of their parental home. Uni doesn’t bring just deadlines, but days-on-days of building life skills in things you didn’t even realise you needed.

Although university life is a bubble, it challenges you with new obstacles you haven’t had to face before. It’s basically “life lite”, so use it as a training period to pick up new skills. Below are a few essential university skills you’ll need to learn for your time in higher education to be successful and stress-free.



A phone calculator.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Budgeting is one of the most important university skills to master and one that often gets forgotten about.

Yes, you’ve worked out how much of your loan you have left after you’ve taken rent away.

But then what?

Are you keeping a steady grasp on your finances, or do four nights out a week leave you with that morning dread when you check your bank balance? We all have a wobble during uni, but it’s important to keep yourself well budgeted.

If you do, you’re guaranteed to have a much less stressful university experience.



A group of friends laughing around a laptop.
Credit: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash

Some of us are social butterflies, whereas others amongst us hate the thought of a group of people.

Regardless of where on the social barometer you fall, the simple truth is that you’ll enhance your university experience with good friends around you.

The beauty of university is that everyone is new and everyone is looking for like-minded people to hang about with. You may feel like you’re a terrible conversationalist and hate social scenarios, but I guarantee there are another few hundred people there that are the same. You’ll naturally find and gravitate towards these people.

If you’re finding it tough, check out this article by The Tab on making friends at university, and work on building one of the more important university skills.

Just give it time and be a good friend when that time arrives.


A balanced lifestyle

A woman running alongside a river.
Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash.

It could be working, diet, routine or anything else, but without a balanced lifestyle, you’ll suffer serious burnout.

You can study too much, work too much and party too much. Moderation is important when it comes to your days (and nights). Be all means work, and by all means enjoy yourself, but look after yourself too.

Eating healthy and working out effectively isn’t the first thing students think of when they go to university, but it’s what will fuel you through those long nights and hurtful hangovers.

This isn’t just a university skill, but an essential part of looking after yourself.



A woman carrying her washing and cleaning.
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash.

It may come as a shock to you, but your parents can not continue to clean for you at university.

It’s time to take some responsibility and learn how a washing machine works, or not to leave dishes piling up.

When you’re skint and you find your only food has gone mouldy because the fridge is dirty, then you’ll learn the importance of keeping your place clean.


Conflict resolution

Two guys chatting.
Photo by Kenan Buhic on Unsplash.

Ironically, the above point on cleaning will cause most of the issues at university.

Is there a flatmate who’s letting the others do all the work, whilst they let their plates pile up? Or has someone in your university halls taken your clothes out the washer, even though your spin only finished 3 seconds ago? You’ll learn there are bigger things in life to worry about, but that you’ll also need to find some resolution to an issue.

You’ll develop your conflict resolution skill as you go through some form of conflict, so don’t worry about it and just remember there are two sides to a story.


Time management

A person working on their laptop during sunset.
Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

If you’re that person in the friendship group that turns up two hours late, it’ll come back to haunt you in the end.

You’ll miss vital information, good times, and potential opportunities if you’re never on time. You’re not accepting responsibility and in turn, you’re building a raft of bad habits that will catch up with you in life. Being late is more than innocent disorganisation and you’ll find that out very quickly in university.

It’s whether you learn from it or not that is the key outcome.



A woman sat on the floor working on her laptop.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash.

The easiest route away from action is to watch Netflix or mess about with your mates.

The tougher route is to get up early, get in the library, and churn out 2000 words in a day.

One of these routes leads to a stressful few weeks before deadlines, with a building dread getting higher as each unproductive day inches you towards submission day.

The other route sacrifices some Netflix time to make it happen, leaving a stress-free deadline week in which you can enjoy a pint, whilst everyone is crying because they can’t get a computer in the library.

It’s up to you.



A group of people at a presentation.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

At the end of the day, university is about increasing your own knowledge.

No one will do it for you, and any easy route away from learning is cheating yourself in the long run.

It’s so important to be present with your learning. Simply being in a lecture doesn’t mean you’re learning or that anything is sinking in.

Make notes, be inquisitive, and take in what’s being given to you.



All these university skills have greater use than just on campus.

They’re all about choice. You can take the easy route and work on impulse, not caring in advance, and then leaving you more stressed near deadline day.

Or you can take the tough road early, and develop quickly through the challenges you face.

If you choose correctly, you’ll build not only university skills but key skills and habits that you can take away with you for life.


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