Off to university? Key skills to go with


So you are off to university…there is so much to think about; where you will live, which clubs/societies to join, which pieces of technology you really need to do your course, how to make friends, how to stay safe…the list seems endless. Rarely though do we give a thought to the skills which would be really helpful to have at university, aside from the academic and social ones.

You might think these are boring but actually if you can do these well, you will have far more time, energy and focus to be able to get the most out of everything else on offer at university.

Do you know how to budget? There are some great resources online which help you with this:

Check out support on the UCAS website, Which? and Barclays. Beware of anyone trying to sell you things, especially in the first few weeks of term when it feels like you have loads of money!

Do you know how to clean a toilet, use a washing machine and vacuum? Sounds weird but might be worth gaining some extra brownie points and finding out. You would be surprised how useful it is to know and it can save some embarrassment too 🙂

Do you know how to plan your food?  Planning your food will help you save money, save time, reduce waste and be healthier. Perhaps get in some practice before you head off. It is useful to know how to use up leftovers too. There is even an app.

Do you know how to cook the basics? I would say some essential things to be able to do are:

  • Read a recipe – if you find a step by step cook book – children’s ones are best with photos, these will help you. You don’t want to make the common mistake of using a bulb of garlic when only a clove is needed, or a tablespoon (tbsp) of chilli when you only needed a teaspoon (tsp).
  • Prepare vegetables – for example: peel and chop an onion, get the grit out of a leek, deseed a butternut squash
  • Cook rice, pasta and potatoes
  • Make a basic pasta sauce
  • Make a cheese sauce (this is the basis for macaroni cheese, lasagne and cauliflower cheese)
  • Make an omelette
  • Safely cook a sausage, a burger and a chicken breast
  • Cook your favourite dish

There are loads more skills you can gain in the kitchen. Remember, cooking is a life skill, it is essential if you are going to eat well and keep within your budget. It is also a great way of socialising. if you can cook a curry or stew when all your friends are living off pasta, you will be in demand! Learn how to bake a few treats too, great for birthdays and special occasions.

Do you know what  a healthy diet looks like? There are lots of resources on the NHS website about healthy eating. The key thing is balance. The plate below shows you the foods which fit into each category. Make sure you get a balance of each to help you concentrate and get the most out of your course.UPDATED_Eatwell_guide_2016_FINAL_MAR23-01


If you need extra support, comment on this post and I can signpost you to more resources.


Good luck and have fun!



Published by Aliya Porter

An experienced Registered Nutritionist helping you to live healthily without breaking the bank or chaining you to the kitchen.

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