Pulling up to the dorm on the first day, you know that you’re about to start the best years of your life. College is that big leap into adulthood, the first taste of real freedom, where you’re surrounded by insane amounts of opportunity: careers, education, friends, fun. It’s crazy how much you’ve got to soak up in just a few short years.
Four years might not seem short now, but take our word for - it’s going to fly by.
So how to make the most of it? Well, by maximizing your time, your energy, your effort, of course. With the help of a few simple life hacks, you’ll be ensuring you’re being the best at doing the most.
Life hacks aren’t always big, life changing ways of doing things. Sometimes, life hacks are the tip you get that you can’t believe you didn’t think of yourself. And we don’t blame you - you’re a busy, broke college student. You can’t come up with everything. And between long weekends poring over books in the library, and the late nights with 75 of your very best friends packed into a stranger’s house, you won’t have time to.
That’s the very reason we’ve put together a list of our favorite life hacks every college student should know. Just to help you out. Save you a little time. You’re welcome.
So what are these mysterious life hacks? And are they really worth it? You be the judge.
Seriously. Everyone says this, and they mean it. Buying the newest, shiniest edition of your textbook might save you from having to see old highlighter marks and a crude doodle or two, but you know what it won’t save you? Money. Likely hundreds of monies.
Instead, traipse down to the other bookstore. The one not owned by the school. The tiny one. They’re sure to have what you need, at a price that doesn’t make you question your decision to go to college, or force you to choose between reading a textbook or eating for a few months.
Sounds random, right? But keep reading - especially if you have the misfortune of having to leave you room/apartment to do laundry. We’ve all felt the pains of coin laundry, and we’re here to help.
Before you drag a life-size hamper to the laundromat, grab a (clean) towel on your way out. When tossing your damp jeans and tees into the dryer, toss the towel in there. It’ll seriously reduce your drying time. Or, if you’re dealing with a particularly weak dryer, it will save you a couple reruns on the load. Time is money, and money is time, baby.
Cooking sounds very lame and not part of the college experience. That’s not ramen noodles! That’s not a liquid diet! That’s not lunch meat at your desk in the middle of the night!
At its very heart, going to college is about education. And your brain functions best when it’s fed nutritious food full of real ingredients. So why don’t we all prioritize nutrition? Well, it costs time and money. Duh.
Meal prep is the best way to combat this. Spending one afternoon a week cooking up a few big meal batches, packing them up, and putting them in the fridge for the week might sound like a big waste of time. But once you realize how much time it saves you later on, you won’t think twice about it.
And when you see the way your mind performs on brain food, you won’t ever regret your student loans again.
You can show up late for class. You can be on your phone during lectures. You can skip them altogether. But as long as you read the book, you still have a pretty good - great, actually - shot at passing the tests.
Now, imagine if you go to class, take notes, and read the textbooks. You’ll be unstoppable.
Not from a person - from a website. There are plenty of programs and sites designed to help you throw a list of citations together in whatever format you need, without you painstakingly typing each one.
Except for the Word bibliography tool. Skip that one.
Before you grown and scroll past, wait! Meditation isn’t always spending an hour on a mountaintop, moaning and singing. It’s a helpful tool you can learn quickly and use in as little as five minutes to mentally cleanse and reset.
There are guided apps if you prefer something to walk you through it. On a college campus, there’s bound to be some club (or, dare we say, a class?) focused on it. Mastering this skill is a great way to keep a hold on your anxiety, stress, and mental panic. Stay on track.
Printing on campus is always going to be a nightmare. Printers aren’t that expensive, and will save you a lot of time and stress. Plus, you can charge your friends a co-op fee and let them use it too. It’ll be paid off in days.
Early on in the year, scour campus for a bathroom that isn’t used that much. Once you’ve secured it, figure out the cleaning schedule. Suddenly, you’ve got your own personal private throne. Hopefully it treats you well through all four years.
Look for clubs surrounding activities you’re interested in, and join them. Student groups, rec sports teams, even. College is primetime for networking, so it never hurts to know a ton of people.
A bonus within this? Clubs and events almost always include a free meal. If you play your cards right, you can eat free almost every night of the week, and never have to eat alone on your dorm bed again.
Melting shredded cheese on top of a piece of bread and tossing a couple pepperonis on it before nuking it in the microwave does count as pizza, actually. And it’s way better than it sounds.