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10 Life Skills Every College Student Should Have, According to the Her Campus Community

Whether you recently celebrated graduation or you’re heading to college for the first time, it can be overwhelming to embark on a brand new chapter. Fortunately, there are many life skills you can pick up along your journey that will help make life easier, whether you’re making big decisions or learning how to navigate the “real world” post-college. To help empower you in your next chapter, we spoke with members of the Her Campus community and asked what life skills they’ve found most valuable throughout their journey, plus, they provide tips for how to feel more confident in your journey.

Show initiative in the workplace

“Always advocate for yourself! Make your accomplishments known, jump in on projects that you can learn from, and ask for feedback regularly. If you are not at a job that you can learn from, and that celebrates you, find a new one. It is your responsibility to take charge of your career!” -Ashley Spoering., Manager of Ad Ops & Media Planning

Learn to save and manage money

“One life skill I’m proud to have learned is how to save and manage my money, which started when I got my first real job in college. Financial literacy is so important for Gen Z because the money decisions you make in your young adult years have significant long-term effects that compound over time, so the earlier you get it, the more you’ll benefit!” -Annie Wang, Co-Founder, CPO, Creative Director

Be reliable and trustworthy

“Never over-commit, but when you do, commit to being a person of your word. Always follow through on what you say you’re going to do, and if you’re going to be delayed in getting something done, make sure to communicate that to everyone as well. Building a reputation of reliability and trustworthiness will take you very far!” -Windsor Western, Co-Founder, Publisher, President 

Learn to host a gathering 

“A life skill I’ve picked up is how to host and cook for a dinner party. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to have a group of friends over rather than feel the need to go out, and it can be so gratifying (and delicious) to put together the whole meal yourself rather than ordering in (take note: mapping out the timing of the steps of the recipes ahead of time is key to keep everything on track!). Having the confidence to cook for yourself and others can really turn into a lot of fun, plus it saves money.” -Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Co-Founder, CEO, Editor-in-Chief

Don’t sweat the small stuff

“Something I’ve been told before is that if it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. I know that many Gen Zers, myself included, struggle with anxiety or have a tendency to sometimes worry about things we can’t control — but what’s the point of that? Life is too short to incessantly worry about things that are out of our control. Truth be told, this is something that I’m still consciously working on, and obviously, this isn’t a 100% solution to stress and anxiety, but it does sometimes help put things into perspective.” -Zoë Hecht, Editorial Intern

Be your own best advocate

“One of the most important skills I have learned is how to advocate for myself. It’s so necessary to put yourself first and learn when to speak up. Whether it is in a professional setting or even just leveling with your friends and family, knowing how to be your best advocate is so important. There may not always be someone there to put your interests first, so it’s up to you to fill those gaps.” -Emily Bresnahan, Coordinator of Campus Community

Enjoy your time off (no working allowed!)

“I’ve learned recently how to enjoy my time off. I used to spend much of my time off thinking about projects, college, or work, and that only made me unproductive because I was so tired. Having quality time with yourself or with family and friends is very important and, for me, it actually fuels my creativity!” -Carolina Grassmann, Editorial Intern

Stay flexible and adaptable 

“When I think of Gen Z, the first thing that comes to mind is how adaptive and flexible we are, especially in the past year. With the pandemic, many of us suddenly had to learn how to navigate online classes, and we were expected to be professional and understanding through the whole process. Eventually, we got through the learning curve and came out stronger than before. While older generations may remark that we “have it easy” or that we’ve “never worked a hard day” before, the strength we have to adapt when we need to and have the desire to keep learning speaks to how successful we are — and can be — someday.” -Emily Krivograd, Editorial Intern

Hold leaders accountable 

“During senior year, [my friends and I] left frozen food in our freezer, and the college cut off power to our house over Christmas break. When we came back, the whole house reeked and the freezer was full of mold — definitely a biohazard! Public Safety said it was Residential Life’s problem, Res Life said it was Public Safety’s problem, and finally, I emailed the president of our college. If you believe someone isn’t doing enough for you, call them out (respectfully, of course), but explain what they’re doing, why it’s harmful, and explain what they need to do better. This translates to interactions with professors, coworkers, managers, SOs, and more.” -Sammi Burke, Associate Lifestyle Editor

Surround yourself with people who lift you up

“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my twenties, especially post-grad, is the importance of quality relationships. Whether you’re in a relationship or navigating how to make friends, know that it’s okay for your relationships to change and evolve as you grow up. Don’t be afraid to end toxic relationships or set healthy boundaries with people you care about for the sake of your well-being. Trust me, it may not always be comfortable, but it’s 100% worth it in the long run. You want to feel nourished, motivated, and excited in your life — not drained because of the people you surround yourself with.” -Tianna Soto, Associate Editor

These are just a few of the many life skills you’ll learn along your journey, whether you’re a current college student or recently graduated and about to take on the real world. And with years of combined experience in college, the working world, and beyond, the Her Campus community has got you covered! Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, excited, or a combination of both right now, we hope this advice from the HC community will help you tackle your next chapter feeling confident. Let us know which life skills you’ve found helpful, and best of luck in your journey, wherever this next chapter takes you! 

This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% our own.

Tianna is the Associate Editor at Her Campus Media, where she creates branded and editorial content across Her Campus, College Fashionista, and Spoon University. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes. Say hi and follow along on Instagram!
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