College is a great time for most people, but it’s not without its challenges. There’s the studying, the pressure, the late nights, the social life, often a job or worrying about finances in some other way – which means many have created hacks that make navigating it all just a bit easier.
Here are 15 suggestions from students who are currently in the thick of it.
15. You’ll have to pay that back one day.
Credit cards ARE NOT free money.
The banks know you’re young and experiencing freedom. Please, don’t spend money you don’t have, it’s a vicious cycle that can lead to a lot of problems.
And watch out for addiction, that shit jumps up on people without them knowing. Look out for yourself, look out for your friends
14. Connections are everything.
Find a professor that you like, and keep in touch with them often.
Go to their office hours with questions, e-mail them, and keep them in the loop in regards to your academic career. When you are applying for grad school, medical school, etc. you will need at least one letter of recommendation from someone familiar with your work, and that can attest to your qualifications. And no, your mom cannot write one for you.
13. Cite your sources.
Microsoft Word has a bibliography function built in to help you cite resources.
Edit: I should probably add that this isn’t the best of citation sources. If you’re doing some big-time research papers, I would definitely recommend something else. Perhaps the Zotero browser app, mentioned below.
12. This is just sweet for some reason.
Dominos lets you get cheap one topping pizzas.
Find a friend who likes hawaiian too and order one pineapple and one ham split them and sandwich two slices and boom you got hawaiian pizza.
11. George Costanza, is that you?
Your goal is to find the bathroom on campus that’s used infrequently and find out when they clean it.
When you find the perfect time and location, don’t tell anyone until you graduate.
10. Use office hours and do your homework.
Here’s a comment from an actual professor whose session starts in two weeks:
Go to office hours. 95% of the time, I’m sitting there on Reddit hoping someone will stop by. Every prof I know is in a similar state except the week before the test. We will absolutely help you out and you’ll get more out of the class than just showing up to class.
Edited to add: If you do show up to office hours, try not to smell terrible. Usually, it’s close quarters. Wearing deodorant and brushing your teeth makes more of a difference than you might think. Really powerful perfumes/colognes, smoke, incense, etc. tend to stick around. Hell, there have been classes where I couldn’t teach on one side of the room because the people stank so much.
Plus, if the prof knows you well, we can write you a good letter of recommendation when the time comes.
Also, do your homework. Seriously.
9. The extra experience is like gold.
Within your major ask every single one of your professors if they need help with their research.
Now you have a shit ton of things you can put under job experience.
8. Expand your circle.
Date and befriend incredibly smart and responsible people.
Even if you aren’t incredibly smart or responsible they’ll rub off on you or at least they won’t get you in trouble.
7. Some things are worth the money.
Not necessarily for college, but Wolfram Alpha is absolutely amazing.
You can do so much with it that a normal and expensive scientific calculator could never do. All you need is an internet connection.
You can find it on the apple app store, google play, or just go onto the website without the app.
6. Very good advice.
Wear a condom.
5. This is a life hack in general!
Our air conditioning in our dorm would only go so low, so it was always hot in our room.
We took a washrag and ran it under hot water, then laid it on top of the thermostat. Instant cool.
4. Don’t add stress to your life.
Schedule more time than you think you’ll need between classes.
Things always come up, and you can always use the extra time to study.
And if you have to print something on campus, just go ahead and plan for every possible thing to go wrong.
3. Even if you don’t think you’ll get them.
APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
Seriously, my department had $6K-$10K scholarships that sometimes had only ONE person apply for them. It is the easiest money you will ever make.
Your university’s webpage usually has a laundry list of them. Apply to any that you even remotely qualify for (if they can’t find anyone who fits all the requirements, they’ll still give out the scholarship. They don’t want to just sit on the money). Department/major-specific scholarships usually have the lowest competition. Once you declare a major, check with your department chair (or watch out for their emails, they usually announce these sorts of things).
This is the only time in your life where writing a few essays could net you thousands of dollars.
2. Like a garage sale but free.
In my dorm, people would leave a bunch of shit in the lounge at the end of the year.
Picked up good stuff like posters, racks, and shit.
Lots of kids didn’t want to bring that stuff home if they were flying.
1. All good things to consider.
Buying stuff tips:
Don’t shop for food when you’re hungry (or inebriated). You’ll end up with a cart full of quick-fix, high-carb solutions.
Don’t shop online after midnight. Your ability to resist regrettable purchases is greatly worn down by that time. Especially if it is something you’ve been looking into for a while/all day.
Don’t join deals forums. “I don’t need it now but that is a great deal”-type purchases add up real quick. Peer pressure. E.g.: I have 70 pounds of whey protein on me right now.
Don’t think “It’s totally worth it. It will last me a lifetime!” You are young, have little money to spare, and will move often. If you still want something really nice, like chikkinpocks said, consult r/BuyItForLife.
I gotta say, I still miss college – I think I always will!
What’s your favorite college memory?
We’d love to hear about it in the comments!