5 Key Skills to Set You up for Success

What are the qualities to become a successful student? Are you ready to step up your college game? Taylor's Ali writes how!

Our college years are the best time to venture into new things and equip ourselves with as many skills as we can before we step into the real world. In this article, we’ll explore the essential skills to learn as a student, which will not only help you tremendously to grow as a student, but also is crucial for your future.

#1. Adaptable to change


Have you ever sought a job? If so, you might have noticed this particular requirement. The ever-changing world around us urges us to be able to keep up with it, regardless of where we’re in life. Therefore, as students, adapting to change is a crucial skill to learn. In fact, research indicates that more than 90% of HR experts agree that one of the most significant criteria for recruitment is the ability of a candidate to adapt. Hence, it’s important that you improve your adaptability skills to stand out in the job market among your peers. 

As college students, we’re learning this through the constant change in lecturers/tutors for each sem as well as through the changes in the environment and the people in it. However, oftentimes what happens is that you find yourself constantly with a friend or 2 or even a group of friends with whom you do everything — from hanging out all the time to group assignments. Instead of sticking to just a particular group of people, you can, for example, expand your circle and try working with different groups during group assignments for  different subjects and semesters. This will expose you to different environments and exercise your adaptability, thus opening up your mind to new ideas, challenging the status quo, and preparing you to oppose convention.

#2. Excellent time management


“I don’t have time” is a common excuse we give to the people around us for our shortcomings. There never seems to be enough time in a day. But, while we all have the same 24 hours in a day, why do some people seem to manage it so much better than others? Most of it has to do with their time management skills. Students who learn to manage their time effectively show more academic excellence compared to those who don’t. A 2019 study found that students’ CGPA correlated significantly with their perceived time management

As students, we’re given a lot of assignments and homeworks which forces us to learn this skill through practice. However, to maximise the effectiveness of this learning, it’s important for us to reflect, manifest, and have the intention to learn this skill rather than being spontaneous about it. Task management apps, in my opinion, are one of the most underrated lifesavers on the internet. It not only helps us to be more organised but also hones our time management skills. Some of my favourite scheduling and task management apps are Notion, Todoist, and Microsoft To Do. Read more on the importance of time management for students here.

#3. Able to cope with stress


No matter where you are in life, stress will almost always be a part of your daily life. Those who learn to manage it will succeed while those who don’t might face pitfalls along the way. In fact, not managing our stress can take a negative toll on our mental health. Studies have found stress to be a major cause of mental breakdowns in many college students. Between assignments, homeworks, exams, and managing our social life, it can be drowning and suffocating for some of us, while others take pleasure in it. 

To exercise your stress tolerance, it’s important for you to take the many tasks that you have to do during your college life as an opportunity rather than a burden. Professionals agree that creating routines and schedules can help you tremendously to cope with stress. It’ll be easier to fit in all of the things you need to do in a day without feeling too stressed if you get into the habit of setting specific time for studying, working out, sleeping, and etc. Once you learn to manage the stress of a couple of tasks, add a few more tasks and watch as you learn to manage your stress despite the many tasks and to-dos in your life.

#4. Possess leadership quality


Some people say that the greatest leaders of the world were born leaders, though, I beg to differ. In fact, I strongly believe that leadership is a skill that can very much be learned. The world’s most successful people seem to have this mutual trait of leadership in them and it comes through years of experience. So, if you want to be successful, leadership is a must-have skill which will help you pave the way for success. What better time to start than your college life? 

Moreover, leadership has been named one of the most sought skills or traits by employers when looking for an employee. It doesn’t have to be anything big. You can even start by being the leader of one of your group assignments or projects. Try taking the initiative of answering questions in class. Try finding opportunities in the clubs and societies that you’re in to exercise your leadership skills. Remember that even the tiniest actions can make huge impacts and hone your skills to becoming a leader in the future.

#5. Prioritise your health


There’s always going to be a new deadline, the next thing to do, a new way to occupy our time which causes us to give into stress and neglect our health. And by health, I mean both mental and physical health. We view being healthy as a destination and therefore wait for a certain time in our life to take care of our health, while it should’ve been a daily practice. A lot of us youths seem to think that as long as we don’t get sick or have a major health issue, we’re fine. But studies show that this isn’t the case. In fact, a survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that more than 70% of students reported having  mental health issues while in college

Hence, it’s crucial for us to learn to take care of both our physical as well as mental health in the midst of our busy lives. Having a group of likeminded people around can certainly inspire and motivate you to be healthy in both ways. In addition to that, cultivating habitual self-care routines are key factors determining where you place your health in your list of priorities. Allocating time for physical activities such as exercising and mental activities such as meditation and journaling are some ways in which you can create a routine of habitual self-care, and therefore prioritise your overall health.

To sum things up, college life can be stressful yet filled with opportunities for you to learn new skills and develop current ones. These skills will not only help you to secure a job in the future when you step into the job market, but also will help you to have an overall balanced life. So, as a college student it’s important for you to ask yourself, are you equipping yourself with these 5 essential skills?

Ali Najah is a final year student at Taylor's University, currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and Marketing (Honours). He is a Board member of the Media & Design department at Taylor's Muslim Student Association (MSA). He is also a writer and photographer at Taylor's Etc Magazine.

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