July 31, 2020, by Shweta

Skills to Perfect Before Coming to University

In less than 2 months, the University of Nottingham will open its doors to thousands of eager students ready to start a new chapter in their lives. Going to university is a life-changing experience; one filled with uncertainty and growth. This year, the “fresher” experience may look a little different, courtesy COVID-19. But there are some skills every university student needs. Here are some skills that YOU should practice before making your way to university come September.



One of the key differences between school and university is the multi-faceted nature of the latter. Your university experience will be dictated by far more than academia; from resumes to residences, university is a truly holistic catalyst for change. Being organised is key! Be it to-do lists or crowded cork boards, learn how to audit your life. Doing so will ensure that you gain skills and grow in various areas of your life. Remaining organised will also help you remain stress-free and on top of deadlines. I strongly advocate “audit days” to remind you to take stock of your life. Clear inboxes, catch up on chores, fix broken items, reflect on your goals; essentially, keep things running smoothly!


Meal-planning and cooking

If you’re thinking this won’t apply to you because you’re moving into catered accommodation………think again. At some point in your time at university, you will need to start cooking for yourself. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, but picking up a few healthy, simple recipes will be a life-saver. Similarly, meal-prepping is cost-effective and saves time during busy weekday schedules. My advice is to set aside one day a week to shop for groceries and meal prep for the week ahead. That way, you won’t have to worry about your meals during the week. You’ll also be eating healthier as meal-prepping will help avoid excessive take-outs and microwave pasta.


Personal Finance

Speaking of take-outs, let’s talk money. For many students, this may not be your first time handling personal finances. Be it part-time shifts or picking up odd jobs for a little extra cash, many of you would have had a little spare change at the end of the day. But university is a different ball game when it comes to finances. Chances are, you’re walking out with a debt to pay off. Chance are, you’ll spend into your over-draft, or come close. Chances are, you never learnt the intricacies of personal finance and budgeting. Spend the next few weeks picking up courses on skill-share or learning from YouTube channels like ‘The Break Platform’. Learning how to budget, save, avail grants, make passive income and handle your finances is an essential skill. More so, it’s the one skill you’ll look back on, 20 years later, and be grateful for having learnt.



Coming off the back of personal finance, this one may seem a little light-hearted; but don’t underestimate the power of university reading lists. Whatever course you do, you will most likely have a lot of reading to do. If not, you’ll find yourself wishing you could read faster when professors go through their slides too quickly. Speed-reading is an essential academic skill at university. And I don’t mean skimming text at lightning speed. Learn how to read quickly but thoroughly; you’ll know when you’ve understood something when you can explain it to someone else. Start by reading articles and summarising them concisely. If they’re on COVID-19, you’ll be bettering your reading speed and staying on top of fake news at the same time!


University is so wonderfully challenging and you will, someday, look back on September 2020 and see someone unrecognisable. That’s because university changes you. It helps you grow. And these are just a few skills to help you get there faster!

Until next time,

Shweta Madhu

Posted in Shweta