How to prepare for university: 8 life skills to master

How will you prepare for university?

For some school leavers, this might involve simply hitting up stationery stores, upgrading to a new laptop and letting the good times roll. But if you want to start your uni journey on the right foot, there’s plenty more you can do to set yourself up for success – personally and academically!

There are certain life skills that are invaluable. And it’s a good idea to get to grips with them before you arrive on campus. Dig in to our top eight life skills you will need at Charles Sturt – and prepare for university the right way.

  • Cook a decent meal
  • Create a budget
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Manage your time
  • Give a presentation
  • Switch off and relax
  • Ask for help
  • Create healthy habits

1. Cook a decent meal

Living on campus or moving into share house? Your new independence means you’re now responsible for feeding yourself. Crazy stuff, huh? Let us start by stating the obvious: you cannot survive on the Macca’s dollar menu. Don’t even try it, guys.

This might not apply if you’re in a residence without a kitchen, but still – learning to cook for yourself is one of adulthood’s many rites of passage. So start sooner rather than later. Our advice? Keep the cupboard stocked with essentials. Shop smart. Start by mastering some simple, nutritious dishes. Then discover batch cooking, meal prepping, tupperware and freezing. It’s really that simple.

2. Clean up after yourself

Mum will not be doing your washing while you’re on-res – so make sure you get a crash course on how to use a washing machine and dryer before you start living out of home. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials to get you sorted – and to help you avoid turning a load of crisp whites into a lovely pale pink.

3. Create a budget

Now that you’re a uni student, it’s really important to take control of your finances. Depending on your situation, being a student can mean the purse strings are tight. Learning how to budget is key as you prepare for university.

Sit down and create a budget. It might seem like an overly simple, basic task – but we promise it will have a huge impact on your finances. If you note every single expense you have, you’ll have a good idea of where you stand. Your budget will include things like rent, groceries and phone bill – but don’t forget the little things that also add up! For example, Netflix, eating out and birthday presents are all things you wouldn’t think to include in your budget, but can have a big impact on your bottom line.

And don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what Rachel Ayton, Student Welfare and Finance Adviser at Charles Sturt University, says.

“We know that some students might experience a small degree of financial stress during their time at university – but we also know that being prepared can really help reduce that stress!”

4. Manage your time

University is very different to high school. The onus is on you to get the work done. There’s no teacher standing over your shoulder keeping you on task. Welcome to university, where self-study is the name of the game!

There are plenty of handy ways you can keep on top of your studies (and everything else going on in your life). Use calendar and to-do list apps to keep on top of your deadlines. Get into a healthy study/social rhythm. Avoid the stress of leaving work till the last minute. If you plan your time properly, you’ll notice that the balancing act isn’t so hard.

5. Give a presentation

Nobody expects you to give a TED Talk right now, but there’s a 99 per cent change that you will have to present to your class in your first year – and the years following. For lots of undergrad students, this is a new (and terrifying) experience.

If you’re not a confident public speaker, you can prepare for university by looking for opportunities to practice now. As they say: practice makes perfect. It’s the best way to improve your skills and raise your confidence. Presenting is something you will have to do throughout your degree and career, so it’s a skill worth mastering early. Besides, you want to make sure people hear about your amazing ideas, right?!

6. Switch off and relax

You have a million assessments due, it’s your best mate’s birthday and you’re working a double at the pub on Friday night. We get it. You’re busy. And as a young, sprightly student – it’s completely understandable.

It’s important to learn how to say no. Putting in boundaries around how you spend your time can make a huge difference to your stress levels and quality of life while studying. It’s all about priorities. Get the work done, enjoy your life, but also take time to switch off and relax when you need it.

7. Ask for help

Starting uni is a time of change. Between keeping up with study, maintaining a social life and balancing part-time work – things can get a bit tricky from time to time. But remember: Charles Sturt has plenty of support services to help you if you’re struggling. All you need to do is ask.

Whether you need a hand with an assessment, some emotional support or advice on how to get your finances in check, there is a dedicated Charles Sturt support service that can help you stay on your feet.

8. Create healthy habits

When you’re a student, it can be easy to let healthy habits slip. You’re balancing study, part-time work and new friendships – so sometimes you might not have the time to invest in your wellbeing. The secret to creating healthy habits? Make them a priority.

Take a daily walk. Start your day with a meditation. Find a gym or workout you love. Join a sports team. Cook healthy and nourishing meals.

Self-care is really important. If you look after yourself properly, you’ll be in a better head space to smash out your studies. Here’s what Lucy Pirrie, Bachelor of Communication student, advises.

“Developing effective exercise and sleep patterns is the best way to ensure your productivity. And it helps to keep you in a good mood! Remember to get a good night’s sleep so you can accomplish more the next day.”

Prepare for university the right way

Ready to put your new life skills to the test? We’re excited to have you on board. Choose your course, put your new life skills to good use – and get ready to smash your uni adventure.