7 Skills Every Student Should KnowAugust 22, 2021
It’s that time of year again; students are going back to school shopping, planning out their course schedule, and cramming their approach for this year. If you’re worried about going back in person this year, don’t worry! Here are my top 7 things you should learn to make your school life easier.
This is probably one of the most important tips that I have when going back to school. Just learning how to type without looking or at least being able to type at a reasonable speed will not only save you lots of time taking & organizing notes, but it will speed up the workflow of whatever you do on the computer. You don’t have to your fingers flying at a solid 200 wpm, but just being able to double or triple your existing typing speed will make your life a lot less miserable.
There are a lot of guides out there that show how you can build a reasonable typing speed, but the one piece of advice that I have is just to practice consistently and try not to look at the keyboard.
Coming from a CS background, this may sound biased, but I promise you that there is a lot that you can do just from taking the time even to learn one language. Although there is a lot of stigma that learning how to program is hard, I promise that even if you stick with it for just a month, it will change your approach on how you solve many problems in your life.
Programming has lots of applications: from designing your own website, building your own program to automate repetitive tasks such as joining Zoom meetings, or even solving extremely hard mathematical equations, programming can simplify everything. You can further apply programming by earning some cash on the side as a freelancer, or even get a career in tech!
There are lots of classes and guides for learning how to program, but coming from a DCE student, I prefer Harvard’s CS50 to get started, and you can concentrate on whatever you want to do afterward. If you don’t have that much time, freeCodeCamp.org has 3-5 hour long tutorials but will go less in-depth.
Did you ever wish that you could just have more time? What about instead making better use of the time that you have currently? Although everyone has their own way of learning, here are my favorite methods to absorb information:
- Deliberate note-taking (for effective use of time & understanding)
- Pomodoro Technique (for timing & scheduling)
- The Feynman Technique (for review)
I’ve personally used these methods to cram for various exams that I had no idea about, and it has always worked out. This video by Sigil Wen is one of my favorite “speed-running” videos since he explains a lot about the process.
The best time and headache server is to plan all your classes as soon as possible. While there will be changes on the way, whether that be because of scheduling or a change of course, it is a good plan to have a general idea of what you want to take. Try to talk it out with your counselor and have a clear idea of what you want to do with the classes that you are taking.
On a much smaller scale, just having a tracker such as Google Calendar or Notion to keep everything organized is fine. Divide the tasks into days and hours if they are at a specific time. Make sure to leave some time between activities though since life isn’t fun living everything by the minute.
If there’s anything you should take away from this section, however, is that you should be able to distinguish boundaries between work, play, and rest. Not knowing the difference between when to go to bed, work, and do something other than work is one of the most dangerous things that could possibly happen. Remember, you’re in school to live a better life, and if all you are doing is torturing yourself, there’s no point.
How to Find Opportunities
Are you in need of work experience, paid opportunities, or just want to know something? Time to put those social skills to use. One of the most powerful advantages today is being able to contact virtually anyone on the internet. Have a friend that knows people inside the field you want to work at? Time to make use of that friendship. Maybe have a cup of coffee or something and introduce that later on.
Maybe you don’t have connections with anyone inside that field. That’s where cold connecting comes into play. Whether that’s LinkedIn, e-mail, call, or even social media, any sort of outreach will heighten your chances at getting the thing you want. The connection that you cold connected could possibly refer you to more people, offer you a job, or give you a referral at the position you are trying to acquire.
Learning Your Computer
Whether you use Windows, Mac, or even Linux, getting familiar with the computer that you use on the daily is crucial. In the digital age, the computer is an extension of yourself. Not only will it save you lots of time contacting the IT person if something goes wrong, but your computer is capable of a lot more than you think it can do.
I recommend getting started on simple things such as how to manage the files on your computer and then moving onto more advanced things such as troubleshooting where you know how to deal with malware, corrupted drivers, or fault programs. Google is your best friend here.
I know this one sounds obvious, but knowing when to spend money on quality things and when to save on others can go a long way. You don’t necessarily need to go to the point of using a budget tracker, but having a realistic idea of how much is in your account and the prices of the things you are buying will save you a couple hours of overtime.
There’s nothing wrong with eating leftovers, going for water instead of coffee, or not buying anything when shopping. If you’re struggling with college finances, I have an article coming out in a few weeks that covers over this.