Life skills to develop while at university1 March 2023
With stories about the value of undergraduate degrees falling and competition from other qualifications, such as those achieved from apprenticeships, it is especially important for those who opt to go to university to improve their employability and gain life skills to ensure that they are as well-rounded as possible when joining the career ladder. Therefore, this blog aims to highlight how to gain life skills while studying at university.
Firstly, earning an income from a part-time job is the first step to independence. Along with new financial freedom, working part-time helps you develop practical and professional skills. From interpersonal skills, through your relationships with customers and colleagues, to conflict resolution, communication, teamwork and leadership skills, having a part-time job alongside your degree is a great thing to have on your CV. It shows work ethic and the ability to balance skills, this explains why recruiters look for many of the skills gained from part-time jobs when looking at CVs.
The key advantage of apprenticeships over degrees is the hands-on, practical experience (and less debt) that comes with learning on the job. This makes getting work experience so valuable when looking for a graduate job. You can find plenty of opportunities to explore on Student Futures on how to find the right experience for your degree. Work experience also provides a great opportunity to show what you’ve got and network with people in your industry, with 85% of jobs being filled by networking this is incredibly valuable.
As I’ve explored in previous blogs, being at university is a rare opportunity where we have the time and flexibility to travel. This makes it ultra important to take advantage of the long summers. The best part is that travelling is one of the best ways to gain life skills. It forces you to go out of your comfort zone, improving interpersonal, time management and planning skills. These are all skills that employers are looking for. Travel is also a way to develop your cultural awareness, making new friends from all over the world gives you a means of seeing culture in a way that you may not have previously understood.
Independence, cooking, and finding accommodation
Being at university is often the first time in our lives that we have to truly begin taking care of ourselves. No one is cooking us a healthy dinner. No one is doing our washing. No one is going to do our house hunting for us (unless you’re that one in your group of friends and let them pick up the slack). This means that it’s the perfect time to develop those life skills before you’re working full-time and don’t have as much time to perfect your pasta and sauce. You also don’t want to show up to your hard-found grad job in a creased, stained shirt because you didn’t learn how to do laundry.
These life skills which you develop at university help you put your best foot forward when you graduate. It is much easier to handle a challenging environment when you are prepared. Worst comes to worst, you can use those hospitality skills from your part-time job, the pasta skills you perfected from travel in Italy and open your own pasta and sauce restaurant for the struggling students in Cathays (I expect a share of the profits for giving you the idea).