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3 Basic Skills to Master in Your First Year

Date:01 September 2020
3 Skills to Master in Your First Year
3 Skills to Master in Your First Year

The new academic year has just kicked off and many new first-year students are embarking on their academic careers. Besides having to navigate through a new city and find new friends, the first-year is all about facing challenges and making new experiences. In this blog, I summarised 3 core skills that I believe every new first-year should know in order to master their start as a university student.  

1. Time Management 

The first skill that is going to come in very handy is time management. Amidst going to class, managing your social life and meeting deadlines, this is a skill that is not only crucial for your first year of university but also for your later life. Especially in the Netherlands where exams are held every 7 weeks, you should not underestimate the benefits of being able to handle your schedule efficiently. To get a good overview of my personal schedule, I simply use my phone’s calendar app where I use different colours for school events, work and social happenings. Another thing that will help you with your time management is learning to say no. There are a bunch of temptations and distractions waiting for you outside of the library, especially when you have an exam coming up. The better you get at sorting out the events that are not as important, the less stressful your life will be in the long run. 

2. Asking for Help

In your first year, you will definitely have some situations where you are just completely lost and in need of some assistance. This is especially true for certain academic matters, but can also apply to other things such as mental health, administration or just finding your way through the city. If you ever encounter a situation where you don’t know how to move forward, never be too shy to ask for help. Personally, I am the type of person who hates asking other people for anything (especially if it is a professor) so I know that it can be difficult sometimes to approach someone with your problem. However, the sooner you get over that initial hesitation the better. Just remember: there is no reason to be nervous, after all, everyone who works for the uni is there to help you out. And if you don’t know who to contact or where to go, feel free to send a message to study anytime!

3. Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Your student life should be all about learning and having new experiences which also includes getting out of your comfort zone occasionally. There are many ways you can challenge yourself during your first year. For instance, you can join an association or sports club, apply for the honours college program, learn Dutch or simply choose to attend courses that sound like they would challenge you. Personally, I chose to join several student and study associations. While it definitely put a little pressure on my schedule in general, it was a great way to meet new people and learn some soft skills which are invaluable for your future professional life. 

What are some skills that you think every first-year student should master? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author

Hey there! My name is Asmo and I’m a Finnish/German student exploring life in the Netherlands. Besides being into photography and politics, I am currently completing my double master's degree in European law and international law. Oh, and I write blogs as well.


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