For many students, college is the beginning of a new lifestyle. You’ll finally get to pick your own classes, make your own decisions, eat whatever you like and stay out late. As a university student, you have less external structure and more freedom to make your own choices. Independence comes with new responsibilities, and you will need to learn to multi-task and balance a variety of new social opportunities and challenges.
Your new lifestyle may feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many life skills you can pick up that will help make your college life easier. Below is a list of skills that can ease those feelings of anxiety and dramatically improve your university experience.
- Money Management
Being in control of your own finances can be daunting but learning how to budget your money will help you stay fiscally responsible. Keep a running list of how much you spend every day to see where you could cut back.
Being able to select your own ingredients and craft your own meals are crucial life skills, even if you are on a meal plan. If you’re not a big fan of the kitchen, have a few low-effort dishes in your repertoire you feel confident whipping up.
Unless you will be living at home, cleaning and folding laundry will be your responsibility. Learn how to read washing and drying guidelines on labels, which temperatures you should use when, and how much detergent and fabric softener you’ll need.
- Be Open to Change
Chances are that your college journey will not be seamless, and you may encounter difficult situations or make mistakes. Don’t let fear of change or failure keep you from new experiences. Now is your time to be curious and explore!
- Study Skills
Developing an organized study strategy will help you stay on top of your work and save you the stress of last-minute cramming. Recognizing how you learn most effectively will help you process information and prepare for classes. Know how to take good notes, use the library and test yourself to stay successful in the classroom.
Make a list at the start of each semester of things you hope to accomplish to ensure you don’t stray too far from your ultimate goals, whatever they might be.
Create healthy habits to help reduce the stress of college life. Cultivating self-care routines such as regular exercise, adequate rest, good nutrition and meditation can help ensure that your physical, mental and emotional needs are met.
Maintaining a clean living space will keep you organized and able to find what you need. Invest in some basic cleaning products and select a day of the week to spend some time purifying your apartment.
- Time Management
Being a college student can feel like having a full-time job. Consider preparing a weekly schedule that includes time in class, studying, activities, work, meals, study and time with friends. Take advantage of time management tools. To-do lists and the calendar on your smartphone are great resources!
- Staying Safe
Most importantly, staying safe is critical to your wellbeing. Learn to take precautions in all situations and make smart, low-risk decisions. Take risks but be safe in your choices!