Back to school is slowly happening for the children and is starting to loom on the horizon for the college and university students. This time of coming slowly into fall makes me a little nostalgic for my own university time, so to snap myself out of the nostalgia here are three adult habits which I picked up during university.
Not taking things at face value
I’ve always been a little on the naïve spectrum, with a hope that people are earnest. And for the most part they are, but usually there is more to information that meets the eye and being at university really helped me to develop a habit of digging a little deeper. Asking ‘what does it mean’ and ‘is it true’ can be immensely helpful especially in situations where I am unsure about the object of conversation and any potential repercussions of expressing an opinion.
Before university I was a little afraid of asking certain questions and sometimes quick to assume that people mean what they say. However, throughout university I realised that people often just say things and it’s worth fact-checking before we pass the information forward. With access to information at the tip of my fingers I simply have no excuses to not fact-check pieces of information.
A controversial example? As a child I was taught that Eve was made of Adam’s rib and therefore men have one set of ribs less than women, according to the Bible teacher in my school. But no – somebody just mistranslated that one, men and women have the same number of ribs and the original text was more likely to be talking about the baculum, but the translators were possibly too prudish to mention what it was #thankyouverymuch.
Now, with the presence of ‘fake news’ heavily established thanks to some medial outlets (naming no names but one evokes a certain ginger mammal the size of a medium dog, easily spotted in the suburbs of London) this habit is proving itself particularly valuable.
Managing deadlines and planning ahead
Friend, if there is anything that I really got a grasp on in higher education, it’s getting my deadlines in check and planning ahead. Right throughout the university I averaged 35 hours of professional work, 16 hours of lectures and other in class activities and probably around another 10 hours of school-related work per week during term time. 25 hours of my work time at least included working in a professional environment, another 7 hours was spent working on every other Saturday in the same place and the rest involved babysitting, often late into the evening. And I needed to eat, sleep and keep up with social obligations of personal significance too. I had not time to miss a deadline and if my planning was not up to scratch, my life would be a dramatically hot mess.
The skill of planning and actually hitting milestones against a deadline is now my livelihood – I’m a producer in a digital advertising agency and spend my days planning and managing how projects are run. I’m sure it’s one which would have not required me going to university, but it’s definitely one which got perfected while I was there working a crazy schedule.
This deadline-plan-accomplish attitude carries through a variety of areas in my personal life too now and is hugely beneficial, from how I run my household to how my partner and I plan our holidays.
Being picky about how and with whom I spend my time (and money)
Not everybody is worth time, or money.
There, I said it.
Be picky with whom you let into your life and whom you invest your time and money into. Not every party is worth going to, not every wedding and not every birthday celebration. Although it sounds harsh, we often become the sum of people we spend a lot of time with and it’s important to bear that in mind when forging new connections. University is a great testing ground for how we want the rest of our life to look at, and what sort of people and lifestyle we want to be and be associated with. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t become a recluse or create a clique or become a party animal at university – all I did is figure out slowly what I want to aim for in life and who in my peer group matches the profile of the sort of people I see in my future. And that’s the group I built around myself and continue to build, making conscious decision if I want to build a friendship with somebody or just keep it at the acquaintance level.
What were the most valuable habits you picked up while in school?