10 Skills to Master Before Graduating College

So you’re finally a college senior – where did the time go? It may feel like just yesterday you were grabbing food from the cafeteria, borrowing your mom’s credit card, and adjusting to your small university town. Now, you’re expected to know exactly what you want to do with your life and behave like the well-educated adult you are. I’m currently a senior in college, and honestly, my mind is constantly spinning. How will I know how to apply for jobs? How will I create a personal budget? How will I make time to see friends? Graduating from college is definitely an exciting time, but it also comes with its share of challenges. 

However, graduating from college doesn’t have to feel scary! Learning how to be emotionally and financially independent is the key to your post-graduate planning, so it’s a good idea to work towards that independence. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by taking small steps toward your larger goals and learn to accept the uncertainty of the future. Nothing is going to go exactly the way you think it will, but ensuring that you have the basic foundation to be successful after college is a great way to ease your “senior scaries”. planner, coffee, empty Photo by Northfolk from Unsplash After re-thinking my life plan (literally), I’ve come up with a list of skills that I want to master in the upcoming months to prepare me for life after graduation. Class of 2021, we’re all in this together (cue the High School Musical soundtrack), so here are 10 skills that you MUST master in your early 20s.  

  1. 1. Learn How to Use Microsoft PowerPoint, Word and Excel

    Two women of color sitting at a table together. One is wearing a bright red shirt and the other wearing a white  shirt. There is a macbook in front of them on a table.

    Microsoft Office is used worldwide, so your future boss will expect you to be a Microsoft Office expert. If you improve your Microsoft skills and master PowerPoint, Word and Excel, you’ll be more confident in your ability to thrive in any work environment and will be better prepared to land your dream job!

  2. 2. Learn How to Write a Clear and Effective Email

    virtual runway show

    You’ve probably sent hundreds of emails to professors, grandparents and friends before, but sending emails to bosses and colleagues is an entirely different story. Practice writing emails with proper grammar and effective punctuation because unfortunately, abbreviations don’t cut it in the real world (smh)! 

  3. 3. Learn How to Cook 10 Meals

    cooking dinner

    Pick 10 healthy recipes that look delish and cook, cook, cook! If you’re feeling adventurous, pick some recipes that are out of your comfort zone; your parents will definitely be impressed, and you may find that cooking is a great way to distract yourself from post-graduation stress. 

  4. 4. Learn How to Invest Your Money 

    Putting money in a piggy bank

    I don’t know about you, but I barely even knew what a stock was until recently, so it’s a good idea to educate yourself about stock and investment options. Speak to friends, family or experts about their financial choices to find out the best options for you. Then, create a personal budget and track your receipts in order to set yourself up for success. 

  5. 5. Learn How to Perform First Aid

    Why isn’t first aid training a mandatory course in primary school? If you’re looking to complete first aid certification, there are tons of online programs that only take a few days to complete. Alternatively, in-person first aid training is a great option if you want to learn from professionals face-to-face. This is a great skill to have in any circumstance, especially if you’re looking to make a little side money by babysitting to pay off your student loans. For once, these classes really do have real-life implications, so be sure to pay attention and don’t forget to recertify every two years!

  6. 6. Learn How to Write a College-Level Essay

    person writing in notebook with coffee cup

    Although many students in science and engineering claim that they’ll never have to write an essay after graduating college, every job requires some form of communication, so learning how to write is still an important skill! Before graduating, be sure that you feel confident in your writing abilities because you never know when you’ll have to write your next paper.

  7. 7. Learn How to Type Well

    person typing on MacBook Pro

    Am I the only one who never learned how to type properly? I’m so jealous of my parents, who actually took typing classes growing up! With everything being online these days, I feel like a grandma typing with two fingers. Before graduating, enrol in a free (or cheap) typing class online; you’ll finally learn where to place your fingers on a keyboard and you’ll finish your work three times as quickly!

  8. 8. Learn How to Travel on a Budget


    Travelling in your 20s is amazing, but it’s definitely not the time to spend thousands of dollars on every trip.  Do your research, find hostels with good reviews, and book your trips in advance before the price goes up.

  9. 9. Learn How to Parallel Park 

    Raise your hand if you’ve avoided parallel parking since passing your driving test! Before graduating college, make sure that you’re comfortable making those three-point turns, reversing, and parallel parking. Maybe you’ll live downtown next year and parallel parking will be your only option. Yikes! 

  10. 10. Learn How to Navigate in the City 

    People Walking on Street

    Although Google Maps and Waze are lifesavers, it’s important to know your way around the city without using technology. Learn how to recognize main intersections, walk to your favourite restaurant, and drive to your friends’ houses without the help of a GPS. You got this!