For a lot of us, and I mean a lot, the non-academic things we learn in university end up being way more practical that the gibberish your Humanities professor rambled about in the classroom. So if you’re getting ready to leave for school, or currently slugging your way through a semester, here are 17 non-academic lessons you will learn in university.
1) How To Deal With A Range of People
Whether you’re going to a small 10,000 student school, or a monster university with a student body of 50,000, you’re going to have to get along with a variety of people. And while most will probably be easy enough to tolerate, there’s going to always be a few – or more than a few – who insist on making life more difficult than it needs to be.
However, this is a great time to learn to develop the skill of putting up with certain types once you’re out in the real world. Because while it can be fairly easy to limit your exposure to the human headaches in school, one you’re working in an office with a childish co-worker or insufferable boss, you’re going to need your people skills to make the best of it.
2) How To Sneak By When You Have To
When you’re applying for university it’s all about impressing the powers that be with your academics, but when you get to school and all your wonderful new social adventures begin, it can suddenly become a little trickier getting that reading assignment done for tomorrow’s class. But there’s no time to worry, you’ll soon become skilled at getting the most out of a quick cram session with Wikipedia and with a little luck that will be good enough to get you through that Friday, 9 AM lecture.
3) Welcome to the Laundry Room
That steady mechanized hum you hear? That’s called the dryer, and the squishy thumping is the washer. Congratulations, you’ve now found the laundry room and you’ll be spending quite a bit of time in it during your pursuit of academic enlightenment. And while it might take a bit of research on what the difference between using hot and cold water is, or what setting to put the dryer on so you don’t end up with clothes fit for a nine-year-old, doing your laundry will still be easier than at least most of your classes.
4) Developing the Ability to Sleep in Less Than Quiet – Or Comfortable – Circumstances
Sleep is essential. Your brain needs it to function at a competitive level and your body needs it so your facing doesn’t end up looking like a worn down catcher’s mitt. So consider university to be like special forces training for sleeping well. You’ll learn to sleep on an eight foot high loft with your face six inches from the ceiling, you’ll discover how to crash for a good eight hours two minutes after consuming a large pepperoni and pineapple pizza, and if you’re lucky you’ll train yourself to sleep comfortably on your friend’s hardwood floor after a dozen or so of his wild house parties.
5) How To Not Care When You Get Dressed
When you’ve got a class smack dab in the basement of your own dorm or one that’s a thirty minute walk through 25 degrees weather away, how presentable you make yourself up to be can often take a back seat to just throwing something on and getting to class.When you see an 18-year-old girl wearing sweats and a baseball cap pulled low over her face at your 8AM biology class you’ll know you’re in the land of higher education.
6) Get Handy With the Iron
The laundry is part one, now you’ll get to make everything nice and neat. I personally don’t remember doing much ironing when I was in school, but I know it goes on – I’ve seen it with my own eyes. One little tip I learned after my first year: if you air dries your clothes on hangers you won’t have to worry about the creases from using the dryer.
7) How To Design Your Room In A Way You Never Could At Home
The individualistic beauty of lining up empty imported beer bottles on your shelf, the glowing warmth of the neon cactus you couldn’t resist buying on Amazon, these are just a couple of the fantastic interior design choices you’ll now be able to create when you’re at the university.
8) Learn to Budget
When you’re at school, you’ll quickly learn that 250 dollars at the beginning of the month are not the fortune it seems to be. What you spend on the abundance of carrying out/delivery sandwich and pizza shops, Thursday night bar outings, and random stuff you find in the campus downtown area, can add up quickly and get strict with your budget will be the way to keep from having to bum a few bucks off your roommate by week three.
9) How to Find the Deals
Being a bit closer to the financial edge will awaken a bargain hunting resourcefulness you next knew you had. And whether it’s clothes, food, a list of the best writing services or books, you’ll quickly discover the world of purchasing items second hand and the clearance aisles when you go shopping for food.
10) Discover Various Uses For Kitchen Equipment
Spread jam on toast with a spoon. Turn a salt-shaker into a paper weight. Store loose change in a jar of Mayonnaise. The options are only limited by your imagination.
11) Keep Those Bridges
People you think you’ll never have to see or deal with again and have a nagging tendency reappear in your life when you least expect it, and incapacity, you never would have imagined. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to stay friends with people who drag you down or you simply don’t like, but in the college world, and even more so in the real world, connections are pretty crucial to building a healthy social and business network and burning every bridge for less than significant reasons can come back to haunt you in the long run.
12) How To Be Persistent
We all want to be noticed and given our due recognition for our abilities and accomplishments, but when you’re at a university competing with thousands of other college kids you’re probably going to have to bang on the door a little harder than you did in high school to get the accolades you’re looking for. The good thing about this though is that it will prepare you for the workforce where getting the respect you deserve is even more of a challenge.
13) How To Develop A Strong Chin
You’re only as good as your competition. And while you might be a superstar in highs school, when you get to university, the competition and course load can knock you off your axis if you let it. The key is to accept that you’re going to struggle at times and be mentally prepared to learn from what happens and keep moving forward. After all, it’s only going to get tougher in the real world and if you can’t toughen up in school, you’re going to have a rough time when the difficulty level and pressure gets ratcheted up post-grad.
14) You’ve Got To Learn Confidence
If you asked a thousand people if they were confident, each person would probably say yes. But not only do a lot of individuals lack a confident mindset, many don’t even know what it actually means to have one. The truth is that confidence is an absolutely critical quality you need to survive in the cold, hard professional world and university is the time to start developing it.
15) How To Become A High Functioning Zombie
A Navy SEAL learns to go 72 hours without sleep, and you will learn to successfully pull off an all-nighter to finish that essay or cram for an exam. With a little bit of mental conditioning and a strong cup of coffee or energy drink, you’ll learn to push yourself and perform at a sleep deprived level you never thought you could. And believe me, the benefits of being able to do this will seriously pay off once you hit the unforgiving working world.
16) How to Shake Off A Memory You’d Rather Forget
Lots of embarrassing things can happen while you’re in a 4-year university program and to learning how to shrug stuff off will be a sort of superpower you’ll take with to your new job once you graduate.
17) How To Make Decisions In An Open World
In high school, you’re effectively herded from class to class and then once you get home, you most likely have parents running the show over what you can do and when you can do it. However, going to university means a level of freedom never before experienced, and while this can be an eye-opening blast, it also means you have to discipline yourself to make wise choices. Go to class or go to the mall? Stay in and study on a Thursday night or hit the bar? The array of choices will be endless, and if you can learn to make the right ones in school, you’ll have a much better chance of doing it in the working world.
Now Start Absorbing That Knowledge
So there you have it. And while you will and should learn quite a bit from the actual classes you take – some more than others mind you – it truly is you non-academic experiences while you’re away at school that will do a lot to shape your perceptions of life and prepare you emotionally to take on what’s waiting for you once you graduate.