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The Top Skills University Life Teaches You

by Daniel Drakeford
25 July 2016

‘Make the most of your time at university, it’ll fly by’. I’m sure I’m not the only person to have been told this at some point, and often it’s greeted without much thought. That is, until you’re like me, and you’re (im)patiently waiting for your graduation day at Royal Festival Hall, reflecting on just where the past three years have gone. While I’ve obviously learnt a lot about what I came here to study, it turns out I’ve also picked up some pretty useful practical skills – and some I hadn’t even realised even were a skill until I put them to use in the big, bad, working world.

So below are the top five skills I’ve learnt over my three years at university. I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only one who’s picked a few of these up, either (I’m looking at you, number one).

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1.    Punctuality

  -  (the art of making it to your 9am lecture).

Punctuality is key in pretty much any job you do. You’ve got to be on time. I’ll be honest with you: it’s not always my strongest attribute. Yes, I am that friend who says they’re five minutes away, when in reality I’m begrudgingly dragging myself to the shower, ignoring all the angry texts and phone calls. When it comes to being up, ready and awake for the day ahead - especially if you had a…ahem…drink or two the night before - I’ve learnt some excellent tips, and all you’ll need is two pints of water.  One to drink before you go to sleep, one to drink in the morning. While people might notice you going to the toilet more often than usual, you’ll feel fresh as a daisy. (well, perhaps not that great).

 2.    Cooking

  -  (how to make more than just beans on toast).

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One of the biggest challenges anybody faces whilst at university is most definitely this. Whilst you’ve no doubt relied once or twice on take-outs, by the time you get to the end of your degree you’ll have experience in a vast array of meals. Forget about Jamie Oliver or Deliciously Ella, you’ll have enough signature recipes to write your own cookbook. Tuna Pasta Bake anyone? Thai Green Stir Fry? Crème Brule? (okay, probably not so much the last one, but you get the idea).

3.    Transport

  -  (how to squeeze yourself onto that already jam-packed tube).

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Along with all the other benefits of studying in London, you’ll learn quickly just how speedy it is to get to places around here. Not coming from London myself, I gazed upon the tube map poster that I so proudly stuck up in my room during my first year, admitting to myself I’d never learn all the different routes and stops. Now? I know it like the back of my hand – so well, in fact, I was even able to help tourists find their way around. Yes, three years at Roehampton makes you a Londoner (whether you like it or not). Admittedly, rush hour traffic can be an issue. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past three years it’s that there’s always room for just one more person on the tube or bus, even if it does get a bit…intimate at times.

4.    Persistence

  -  (spending 24 straight hours in the library, having drank lots and lots of coffee).

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Make no mistake, University can be tough sometimes. Whether this is during exam and deadline week - where you’ve spent more time in the library over the past week than you have in your own bed – or during a particularly tough week of lectures, it’s important to remember that you’ll always make it through the other side. Luckily, there’s a great amount of support on offer at Roehampton if things get particularly tough. Just pour yourself another cup of coffee, focus and get through hardship. Keep calm and carry on.

5.    Fun  

There isn’t much to explain about this one, only that University has taught me to enjoy myself, to have fun, and to not always take life as serious as one might. Hey, we’re only young once right?

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