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2 out of 5 reasons to attend university ‘Develop key skills’

In John Henry Newman's book, 'The idea of a University', he describes the education at university as enabling society members to be more useful and to a greater number: 'An education in no matter what, equips a man to do no matter what'. Suggesting that no matter what subject is being learned, it is useful as it extends and deepens human understanding. Plus, that the student will gain virtues which will help them be successful in any work and occupation which they undertake.

These are some of the most useful skills which I feel that you will develop at university:

Critical thinking

‘What injections should I give to my child?’

‘Why is it better to eat organic instead of conventional food?’

‘Which is the best milk for babies?’

Obstacles and tricky questions are inevitable in life. These were some that I had personally experienced during early parenthood, but overcame them due possessing this skill that I developed at university. With a variety of extensively analysed and evaluated research, I was able to make decisions which I felt were appropriate for myself and my children.

Through academic work such as composing case studies, you are forced to independently think by gathering your own research. You also have to analyse as well as evaluate what you’ve found and figure out how to best illustrate a thesis. This helps to develop your critical thinking.

The top benefits of this skill are:

  • By gathering, analysing and evaluating evidence on any issue, your knowledge expands.

  • Keeping you from becoming narrow minded, it helps you to think creatively - ‘outside the box’.

  • Your judgement, comprehension and problem solving abilities improve.


‘The NHS is made up of mostly immigrants, without them it will fall apart.’ I remarked.

‘What is your evidence that this statement is true?’ My teacher asked. As part of my degree, weekly debates would take place during class. We were given a subject and a side to defend. Mine at this particular time was to create an argument that supported the idea that immigrants are a benefit to the United Kingdom.

With this exercise, I learned that this statement is more powerful than my previous one:

‘According to an article written by The Independent newspaper on the 25th of August 2016, experts say that the NHS would collapse if it wasn’t for immigrants. The Institute for Public Policy Research says there are currently around 55,000 EU nationals working in the English NHS, and one in 10 of the UK's registered doctors is an EU national.’

Academic activities such as this one as well as writing essays and case studies, can make you become a more effective communicator. This is by teaching you to make your arguments stronger with the use of solid evidence that also has reliable sources.

Oral presentations also help to improve your communication skill by making you a more confident public speaker through practice. These took place at least once per month during my course. Teachers and classmates would give us both verbal and written feedback after each presentation on how we could improve.

In our daily lives, we are always debating and sharing information with family members, friends or co-workers. With this skill developed, your conversations will flow better, sound intellectual and therefore more interesting.

Time management

Can you rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time?

Multitasking may seem inevitable during your journey at university. Multiple essays with different subjects can have the same due date. Plus, in order to support yourself you may work a part time job while studying.

It is possible to feel overwhelmed by attempting to do all of the following tasks in parallel:

  • Attend lectures and seminars

  • Revise for exams

  • Research for essays, case studies and dissertations

  • Meet coursework deadlines

  • Achieve good grades

  • Complete work shifts

  • Do volunteering or a work experience placement

  • Nurture relationships with friends, family and your partner

  • Enjoy personal hobbies

  • Eat healthily

  • Exercise

  • Sleep enough

I can understand how stress may take over, leaving you crying in bed wanting to shut off from the world, deciding to do none of the above and just indulge in a Netflix series to escape this reality. But, there is no need to worry. It is possible to accomplish all of it to a good standard!

Although I added raising a baby to that list, I still managed to complete my degree and achieve a 2:1 grade.

How did I cope?

By prioritising tasks and setting time slots as well as realistic time frames to finish them.

The journey through university improved my time management skill.

This has eased my current lifestyle as I juggle through raising two babies as a single mother, finding a new apartment to live in, searching for a full time job, writing poetry books and creating blogs as well as vlogs.

Overall, within a work environment or a personal situation, these three skills can help you succeed in any aspect of your life. I strongly feel that university helps you to sharpen essential skills.

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