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Going to college can be an exciting time for young adults, but it can also be challenging, especially when they don’t have the necessary skills to navigate the new environment. While there are countless skills that could be helpful for college students to develop, we’ve narrowed it down to ten essential ones. These ten skills fall into two main categories: personal skills and academic skills.
- Self Care: Doing your own laundry, hygiene, and other basic self-care tasks may seem like no-brainers, but they’re important for maintaining good health and building a sense of responsibility. Neglecting these tasks can lead to stress, illness, and even social isolation. College students should be encouraged to take care of themselves in all aspects of their lives.
- Sleeping Well: Getting enough sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. Inadequate sleep can affect memory, attention, and mood, and can lead to poor academic performance. Students should learn how to establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing sleep environment, and avoid things like caffeine and electronic devices before bedtime.
- Eating Well: Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is important for maintaining energy and focus throughout the day. Students should learn how to plan and prepare healthy meals, avoid skipping meals or binge eating, and make informed choices about their food options.
- Regular Exercise: Physical activity can help improve mood, reduce stress, and increase energy levels. College students should learn how to incorporate regular exercise into their daily routine, whether it’s through organized sports, gym classes, or just taking a daily walk.
- Healthy Stress Management: College can be stressful, and students need to learn how to manage that stress in a healthy way. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness can be helpful for reducing anxiety and improving mental clarity.
- Learning How to Learn and Follow Instructions Through the Written Word: In college, students are expected to learn how to navigate course material on their own. This means being able to read and understand instructions, take notes effectively, and study efficiently.
- Time Management and Postponing Gratification: College students need to learn how to manage their time effectively, prioritize tasks, and avoid procrastination. This means learning how to create a schedule, setting goals, and understanding the importance of delaying immediate gratification for long-term success.
- Learning to Seek Help and Ask Questions: College students should feel comfortable seeking help when they need it, whether it’s from a professor, tutor, or counselor. Asking questions is a crucial part of the learning process, and students should be encouraged to seek answers to their questions.
- Learning to Seek, Value, and Use Feedback to Improve: In college, students will receive feedback on their work. Learning how to receive and use feedback effectively is an essential skill for improving academic performance.
- Building Strong Communication Skills That Are Appropriate for the Situation: Good communication skills are important for success in college and beyond. College students should learn how to communicate effectively through writing, speaking, and listening, and how to adapt their communication style to different contexts and audiences.
Developing these ten essential skills may seem basic, but they’re critical for college success. Students who master these skills are more likely to be engaged, enjoy college, be successful, and get the most out of the college experience.
Interesting in learning more? Here are three quick, easy, but incredibly helpful books or audio books that can assist anyone in developing these ten traits.
- “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear: This book offers practical advice on how to develop and maintain good habits, including those related to self-care, exercise, and time management.
- “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel: This book offers insights into how to learn effectively and remember what you have learned, including tips on seeking feedback and using it to improve.
- “The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life” by Robin Sharma: This book offers advice on how to optimize your mornings for success, including tips on sleep, exercise, and time management.
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