Everyone wants to know secrets to making college life better, but how many times have you clicked on one of those articles only to see the same 15 hacks over and over again? Yes, you should drink more water or be polite to your professor, but a lot of those hacks seem like just common sense, don’t they? So here are my college life hacks that I’ve picked up from my time at school. (Note: you really should drink more water and be polite to your professors–they’re on a lot of lists for a reason!)
1. Punch Cards & Keurigs Are Your Friends
If you KNOW that nothing is going to change your coffee consumption habits, this hack is for you. If you’re gonna spend $5 every other day anyways, invest in the punch card. Who doesn’t like free coffee? Financially, it likely won’t save you too much money in the long run, but even if you just save $5 every couple of weeks, that’s still $5 more that can go towards something actually important. The Starbucks in the Trone Center offers these, and I think I went through about 3-4 of these during my freshman year alone. Or, if you really want to save money, buy your coffee in bulk and get some to-go cups to make it yourself. Keurigs can prepare a cup of coffee in less than 3 minutes (depending on the kind you buy) and you can buy boxes of 20-ish cups for like $10. If you and your roommate(s) are chill about sharing food, you can all buy K-Cups and boom! You’ve got like 40 cups of coffee just stashed up.
2. Brighten Your Day With Flowers
Story time. My first weekend of freshman year, I was wandering around campus (probably crying to my mom about being homesick–happens to the best of us) and ended up in the rose gardens on campus. One of the campus groundskeepers was trimming the flowers and looked at me, offered me a rose, and said, “If you ever see us cutting the roses and laying them on the hedge, feel free to take one.” It might seem a little silly, but flowers honestly can make your whole day. It’s the little things that make your day just a little more special, so seize the opportunity!
3. Peanut Butter In Oatmeal
This is one of the only life hacks that I’ve seen that has honestly completely changed my life. It’s truly a game changer. Basically, you add a little bit more water than you need when making microwavable oatmeal and after you cook it, add a dollop of peanut butter to it. It’ll help thicken it up, plus you get a little extra protein. It’s delicious, and whenever I’m running late to class, I love to make this as a quick snack to eat on the way. It’s healthier than trying to do microwave Easy Mac, and takes half the time!
4. Text-A-Buddy Study Method
This was my saving grace during finals last year. I am constantly distracted by my phone whenever I try to study, so I decided to utilize that to help me study. Find yourself a buddy (for me, it was my best friend from back home) and text out your notes in your own words to them as you study. Not only are you learning from having to explain the concepts to someone else, you also have someone to hold you accountable for staying on task. Take the thing that distracts you and make it motivate you instead! Bonus points if your friend is studying for the same class and you can help them study while you study. It’s like Inception. Somewhat.
5. Take Some Time For Yourself
College is a busy world, and the pressure can be a lot to handle sometimes. Take time for yourself. Walk around the lake, take a nap, get a snack. You’ll be able to come back feeling fresh and ready to get things done, and your body & mind will appreciate the break. Fun fact: if you just need to lay on your back and think about nothing for a while, Blackwell field has the best view for stargazing and cloud watching! (as seen in the featured image)
6. Find Your People
Okay, maybe this one shows up a lot on those “life hack” lists, but it honestly deserves to be reiterated. The great thing about college is that there’s such a broad range of people. You like theatre? There’s a club for that! You like philanthropy? There’s a club for that! You like Super Smash Bros? There’s a club for that! You can join all sorts of groups and freshman year is the best time to explore those options. Find people who make you feel energized and positive and you’ll end up enjoying your time in college much more. And don’t just limit this to students; find an adult mentor who can help you navigate life and encourage you. College is a weird thing and it’s really hard to go through it alone!