Business Skills from an Arts Graduate

School has a funny way of teaching you things that aren’t necessarily on the syllabus, but stay with you forever. It’s almost seems accidental, picking up life skills.

I’m graduating this year with a Bachelor of Arts and I’m confident that the skills I’m taking away from my degree can be applied to business, life and all kinds of situational crises.

Therefore, these are my top four pieces of advice from four years of formal education.

These tips are small things that truly got me through all the late night cram sessions, the overdue library books, the overtime at work, the sleepless caffeine crazes, the breakups, and the broken phones.

Therefore, here is my short list:


1. Live by a calendar.

I cannot stress this enough. There’s no way I could coordinate anything in my life if I didn’t have a handy schedule in my pocket. It’s so useful for clocking hours, checking when assignments are due, and making sure you’re getting all your friend time! My favourite is the Apple Calendar.

I often “Add New Calendar” for every different kind of commitment in my life (colour coding!) between things like School, Assignments, Work, Social, and Fitness. That way, if I only want to see what classes are coming up, what papers are due or when I’m teaching a fitness class, I can click and modify to see exactly what I need!

And you can’t live by a calendar without understanding how to...


2. Organize and Prioritize.

Friends are a priority. Fitness is a priority. Work is a priority.

When you schedule and organize the commitments in your life, don’t visualize your social, physical, personal and work based calendars on different levels. Make sure you account for all the parts of your life that add value- be it financial value, emotional value or health value!

DON’T FORGET: Location, travel time, meals- these are all things that you need to factor in.

I’ve often forgotten that I need time for lunch because of various commitments and appointments. Based on my experience...don’t do that.

Book your time so that it works for YOU before anyone else.


3. Doing different things isn’t always about different things

It’s okay when things overlap. Actually, it’s better than okay.

When you have a multitude of activities going on, sometimes it’s great when your interests revolve around the same fields! Let’s say you love fashion and social media; join a fashion club, write for a fashion blog, intern at a social media agency, check out local designer shows and grab the business card of a boutiques you like!

These different communities (that aren’t all so different) allow you grow a network of like minded individuals that can give you valuable input in a variety of projects. Make a community that works for you so that you can someday bring others into new opportunities or events that they might not have known about as well!


4. Smile, even when you don’t think you have a reason to.

Expect change and distress and disaster. It’s awful, but it happens. So, be prepared to turn those downfalls into opportunities and don’t let them keep you down. Sometimes smiling in the face of everything going wrong is all you can do, and sometimes that’s enough.

Try to remember that even if it seems like the end of the world, life will work itself out.

Smiling to yourself may seem ridiculous, but it never really takes long to remember something amazing in your life right now (even if it’s just one small thing) that truly makes you happy. Breathe, and carry on one day at a time. Put on a song you like. Make your favourite dinner. Dance in the kitchen.


Everything will be alright.


Ps. One last thing, make sure you…

  • Get comfortable on the phone. Make phone calls, leave messages.
  • Budget, budget, budget.
  • Splurge on wine.
  • Find your drink. Whiskey sour, Cosmo, Gin and Tonic- it’s always handy to have one on hand that you like.
  • Write cards. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Celebrations- it’s always appreciated.
  • Get good at doing your hair fast.
  • Don’t mind if you leave the house without makeup.
  • Always ask for book recommendations.
  • Get good at learning names.
  • Don’t be late.
  • Read your emails- sometimes your school listserv has some good information.


Sending some love and luck,



PS. Follow my fitness, fashion and blogging on instagram at @deannajvd!

I love to chat so hmu if you have questions or comments!