Essential Life Skills You Need Before University

Essential Life Skills You Need Before University

High schools teach many skills and knowledge, but sometimes they lack important real-world life skills. There are a few important life skills every student should know before starting university. 

Financial Management

Finance is a topic that every adult has to grapple with in the real world. Unfortunately, this is a topic that very few students study in school. Budgeting is the act of balancing income and spending. A budget is a plan for how you plan to spend (and save) money. When you know where your money
is going, your finances are easier to manage, and you’re less likely to find yourself in financial trouble. Create a weekly or monthly budget and use an app to track your income/allowances. Either way, you need to know your income (how much money you will make) for that period.

Once you know your income, it’s time to consider expenses. List each expense for the month, starting with the most important (such as credit cards) and ending with the least important (such as entertainment). As you get older and expenses expand, including rent, utility bills, and groceries, practice keeping track of these things will help you be more prepared.

Social Media Usage

In many ways, social media can be a useful tool and an effective way to connect with people all over the world. However, there are some dangers in today’s social media culture. Your parents or school may also mention some social media scams, or potential risks and scammers, but the real
scariest thing is social media addiction.

Drugs and alcohol are addictive because they stimulate the brain’s reward circuits, which help people repeat activities they need to survive (such as eating and reproduction). When the reward circuit is stimulated, it releases the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine signals to the
brain, “This activity is enjoyable. We should do it again.” Over time, it causes changes in neural connections that make it easy to repeat the behavior without even thinking about it. While the behavior is fine when eating, it’s another story when the behavior is drug abuse.

Every notification, free comment or “like” on your latest photo elicits a “reward-predictive stimuli and unexpected reward delivery”. Our brains are gradually trained to repeat activities that elicit
rewards, and social media becomes addictive. There are many reasons why social media addiction is bad for us, but one of the most common reasons is a waste of time. The average person spends two hours and 22 minutes a day on social media. The number may be higher for teens.

Content on social media can negatively affect mental health, resulting in less instantaneous happiness, lower life satisfaction, higher levels of depression and anxiety, and lower self-esteem. It can also disrupt your sleep cycle and act as a distraction from more important tasks.

One reason social media is unhealthy is that it actually forces us to compare ourselves to other people. For example, you don’t post about unhappy or bitter moments in your life, and neither do other people.

Independent Learning

The way lectures and courses are structured require students to be an independent learner. Course content may seem easy and straight-forward on the surface, but to complete an assignment, independent research and learning are always needed. Course content usually only scratches the surface of the topic and in order to deep-dive and achieve higher assignment scores, students typically spend hours looking up the topic on the internet.

The internet provides vast information resource for students doing independent learning. There are many community forums aimed at providing help. For example, if you are a Computer Science student, one would most likely post a question about coding on Stack Overflow. It is a question-and-answer website that rewards users who answer questions. This is definitely a good
resource to ask for help from the wider community.

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