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Study skills: How can time management, research and writing skills help you beyond University?

Study skills: How can time management, research and writing skills help you beyond University?

Wondering how the study skills you are developing at University will assist you in your future career? Katie is here to offer an insight into how she has already started using those skills day-to-day – from excellent time management allowing her to work, study and volunteer, to using her research and writing skills in her voluntary work on an independent committee, advising Scotland’s First Minister. 

By Katie, Sociology

I’ve spent many a deadline season wondering how on earth essay writing is going to be at all useful when we leave University. However, I have used a lot of the skills I’ve developed whilst at University out in the real world, too.

Time management

It’s a well-known fact that University is a busy time. Balancing full-time studies with part-time work, volunteering, clubs and societies, sport and exercise, and getting enough rest can be hard! I’ve always kept myself busy, so when I started in first year my time management skills were already good, but this was a whole new level. I quickly had to learn to manage my time more effectively. Now, I work 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, and manage to fit in my studies, my part-time job, and my volunteering, and then my evenings and weekends are for me.

Having such good time management skills has allowed me to pursue professional development opportunities – if I wasted time or spent longer than needed on things, I wouldn’t have time for volunteering, which is where I do a huge amount of development, learning and networking.

Moreover, in the future, I imagine these skills will help me keep on top of things and continue to thrive in full-time work; University isn’t the only time in your life that you’ll have three things due in one week!

A sand timer

Research and writing

As I mentioned before, I do a lot of volunteering, especially in the women’s sector and in strategic policymaking. I’m on an independent committee which provides direct advice to the First Minister, which for three years, researched and reported on specific aspects of feminist policymaking. My University work was so helpful for this – I was already learning how to undertake social research with people, how to compare and evaluate literature, how to write policy briefs and longer form reports. Both University and my voluntary work allowed me to develop my critical writing skills, helping me learn how to build a narrative and an argument over a long piece of work in order to convince the audience.

My volunteering role also helped me with my studies. When it came to starting my dissertation, I’d already completed three-year research-and-write-up projects, so the dissertation felt really achievable.

I highly recommend getting involved in volunteering whilst at University, especially in something vaguely or closely related to the field or career you’d like. You’ll probably find that the two support each other well, and if you’re not sure what you want to do, volunteering is a great way to try different things out.

A person wearing a t-shirt reading volunteer

Student Development Office

Another way you can work on personal and professional development whilst studying is through the Student Development Office. They offer loads of fantastic workshops on different career skills. This semester they’re providing advice on CVs and cover letters, setting up your profile on LinkedIn, pitching, creative problem solving, and confidence and resilience. You can also work towards your Edinburgh Award or Professional Development Awards, which are a great addition to your CV.

They even offer one-to-one coaching sessions, which is an absolutely invaluable resource that’s hard to find free of charge outside of University, so make the most of it while you can!

Find out more

Visit the Student Development Office pages on the SPS website:

Photo 1 by aron visuals on Unsplash

Photo 2 and banner image by ray sangga kusuma on Unsplash

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