Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Skills to Have Before College

Author: Luzolo Matundu


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesdays! This series focuses on different top tens relevant to the world of college. Each week a different intern shares their top ten list. Additionally, look out on social media for video vlogs that may go along with the list. This week Luzolo Matundu writes of her top ten skills to have before college.

Top Ten Skills to Have Before College

1. Learn how to do laundry. 

Clean clothes are essential. Doing laundry is a basic but valuable life skill, and it is very simple. All you need to do is add your clothes then add some soap and voila! For the best outcome separate colors and use the appropriate temperature. 

Bonus skill: promptly pick up your clothes when they are done in the washer or dryer. Each hall has a limited number of machines so remember that other people have dirty clothes that need to be washed too!

2. Clean your room.

Since you will probably be busy, sometimes it is hard to keep up with cleaning your room. Clothes can end up on the floor, things are not in the right place, perishable foods stay in the mini fridge for too long, etc. Make it a habit to put everything away in its designated place and get rid of everything you no longer need before you go to bed every night or once a week. Keeping your room clean will help you be more organized and put you in a better mood. 

3. Have good time management. 

Unlike high school, you get to create your own schedule in college. You do not spend as much time in class, but you probably will be expected to do more individual or group work outside of class. College is busy, especially when you have work, clubs, events, activities, “me” time, and other commitments. It is important to prioritize your time and do things in order of importance and deadlines. I highly recommend Google Calendar to keep track of your schedule. It is a life saver! 

4. Take good notes. 

Professors throw a lot of information and work at their students. Believe it or not, it is not all important. Summarize information to put what you learned in simpler terms and refer back to it later. Take note of what you think is the most important information to remember. Make sure you understand what is happening, get the overarching theme and idea, and then move on. 

5. Engaging in small talk. 

There will be many moments in college where you will meet someone new or talk to someone you do not know very well. This happens in social, professional, and academic settings. Unless you know how to engage in small talk, these moments can be awkward. You do not have to pour out your soul to each other, but you can be engaged. Talk about your day, classes, events, clubs, favorites, etc. The sky's the limit! 

6. Budget your money (and flex points). 

Let me tell you a secret… college is expensive (and I am not referring to the large tuition and room and board fees). There are so many things that need to be paid for like care products, bills, activities with friends, merch, clothes, food, and more. Separate your wants from needs and dedicate a certain amount of money to each. Also, do not forget to gradually save for emergency (and fun) expenses that might pop up later like medication or a trip to Chicago. 

While you have to learn how to budget your own money, it is also important for you to budget your flexpoints. Flex points are money that students can use to purchase food on campus restaurants under our dining plan. Students are given $500 per semester. While this sounds like a lot of money, if you are not careful, you can run out by fall break or Thanksgiving. Give yourself a weekly budget so that way you do not have to use your own money to pay for food on campus. 

7. Remember to negotiate and compromise. 

Conflict resolution is important especially with your roommate(s). Even though disagreements can be awkward, it is important to remember that differences are normal. Do not let conflict scare you from expressing your preferences. Understand that people think differently and require different things to feel comfortable and thrive. If a fight occurs, take a step back before things escalate further. Resume the conversation and come to an agreement when you are more level headed. 

8. Take productive naps.

Napping, when done correctly, is a lifesaver. Naps can be productive or unproductive. If you are feeling tired, taking a nap for 15-20 minutes is a great way to recharge. However, napping for longer periods of time eats away at your day and does not allow you to get your work done. Instead of taking longer naps, try to get close to 8 hours of sleep at night. It will be more beneficial and help you stay awake longer. 

9. Know how and when to say no. 

Be assertive and do what is best for you. College gives you many chances to go out with friends, add another commitment, and take advantage of different opportunities. While it is important to live life to the fullest, you should not overcommit or overwork yourself. If you are stressing out about a class, it is okay to say no to going out with friends so you can get more sleep and study in the morning. If you are stressed about an assignment and are not getting anywhere, it is okay to put it away for a bit to return to it later. It is okay to say no, even if you can not articulate why you want to say no. Put yourself and your well-being first. 

10. Be comfortable with your own voice. 

In college, there are going to be more than a number of opportunities for you to talk to or in front of a group of people. You will have to give presentations, talk to classmates about a group project, network, and more. To set yourself up for success, you have to be comfortable with public speaking. Practice articulating your thoughts, and give yourself grace to improve when you mess up or do not meet your own expectations.