So, I’m a senior at university – and still surviving – and I have a few tricks and tips up my sleeve to help you survive college/university. I was terrified when I first started college, and had absolutely no clue what I was doing! Maybe you’re feeling the same way, either way, here are some tips 😊:
#1. Do NOT purchase your books from the campus bookstore
9/10 times textbooks from your campus bookstore are way more expensive than other options. My absolute favorite website to use is Abebooks. Use your IBSN number to search the book you need, from there look at the ratings of the seller, where it’s coming from, comments about the book (such as highlighting, water damage, bent pages, etc), and the price. Select the best one, and viola you just saved hundreds of dollars.
#2. PLAN PLAN PLAN
AKA use a planner! This is crucial, you don’t want to go down the deep dark hole of late assignments and forgotten exams – trust me I’ve been there. My favorite planner is from ME to WE (each school supply purchase provides education to children around the world), I could only find them at Walgreens (currently do not have mine, but similar one) but they sell products online as well. I prefer a straight across planner – I know I’m weird, most people don’t – but target has the best options in my experience. Take tentative schedules, which usually are included in the syllabus – btw read the syllabus… all of it – and write out every due date and assignment for each class. Cross out as you finish assignments, I promise you, this is a life saver. Plan so you could sleep. Don’t try the stay up till 3 am on 6 cups of coffee thing – been there, done that, doesn’t work – so plan when you will do your assignments, that way you could be in bed before 11pm, or better yet 10. Lastly, plan so you can have a life outside of school. Go hangout with friends, go out, have a life. College is like a full-time job, and it’s not easy. Plan so you’re not stressing about whether you could go out or not, or whether you’ll have enough time to finish your school work if you did go out.
#3. Get involved!
I know, very cliché, but seriously get involved! I know what you’re thinking, yeah yeah yeah everyone says that, why should I? or I don’t have the time. Get involved in at least one club or activity on campus. Not only does it help you connect with other students and learn new things, it opens many career opportunities after graduation. The number one predictor of being hired after college is if you were involved in school clubs/activities.
#4. Change your environment
Doing homework is repetitive and boring – it’s the truth. Continously studying or doing hw in my room makes me lose focus and I become distracted. Change your environment! I LOVE going to different coffee shops around the city, grabbing a cup of coffee and working my booty off. I’m more productive and I get to enjoy a nice cup of coffee 😊 I realize this doesn’t work for everyone, but try it! It doesn’t have to be a coffee shop.
#5. Take a short break in your schedule
If you can schedule your classes to have a half hour to an hour break, do it and take advantage of it! When I first started college, I was often forced to take breaks in my schedule because of class options. I learned to use that time to work on extra homework and get ahead, have a snack, take a nap – I mean really you can do anything.
#6. Get over yourself
College is hard. It pushes you to do things you don’t want to do. Just do it. Literally. Things like presenting, skits, mock interviews, talking to a camera – yes, they’re uncomfortable – but what good will it do you to skip or not do these things… it won’t. You’re only hurting yourself, so get over it, and just do it. And if it makes you feel better, nobody will remember your presentation.
Most universities require parking passes, which are expensive. I mean really, we pay for tuition, books, fees, and parking passes?!?! Yeah not a happy camper here – but I could write a whole other post on that topic. If you have a friend who is majoring in the same field as you, or even if you start and finish at the same time of the day, carpool! Buy one parking pass, split the cost, and alternate driving to school. It saves you a ton of money and time on finding a parking spot!
#8. Take advantage of student discounts
There are so many student discounts offered, you just don’t know about them! Take advantage of them, after all you are a student! Here are a couple popular ones:
• BestBuy – “College student deals”, save hundreds of dollars around this time of year on laptops/computers *still going on*
• Spotify – Spotify premium for $4.99 per month Now including Hulu app
• Amazon – free 2-day shipping for 6 months, discounted prime
• Clothing stores: Charlotte Russe, ASOS, Ralph Lauren, Toms, TopShop, Necessary clothing, Madewell show ID
• FedEx – 30% on documents, 20% on shipping
• Apple – Up to $300 of new macs
• Phone companies – discounts on phones/services, sign up on website; Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-mobile
• Car insurance – many companies have a “good grades discount”, bring a copy of your transcript and fill out their form
• Restaurants and food chains offer many student discounts (chipotle, subway, burger king, chick-fil-a, firehouse subs, sweet tomatoes, etc). Check coffee shops around your college/university. One coffee shop near my school offers 15% off any purchase… yes 15% off a cup of coffee, that’s crazy! Don’t be afraid to ask either!
#9. Take advantage of school activities/programs
Many universities offer free to low cost recreational activities such as gym centers, classes, and even trainers! Research what outdoor activities/trips your school offers (hiking, surfing, whitewater rafting, soccer, indoor climbing etc.) Don’t forget about expeditions! Each year my school hosts a ski/snowboard trip in the winter, and a backpacking trip in the spring. Some activities/trips are free, while others may cost money; however, it’s much cheaper than doing it on your own. This is not only a fantastic opportunity to partake in something fun, but to also meet new people! 😊
#10. Bring snacks and keep hydrated!
If you have a break, a particularly long day, or work after or before classes, bring food! There is nothing worse than a growling stomach in class while you are trying to focus. You start to feel sick and grumpy, and don’t pay attention to your professor. Always bring a lunch or snack to keep you energized and alert! AND keep hydrated!!! I bring my hydro flask with me everywhere and it keeps my water cool for hours!
I hope this post helped all of you who are either entering college, thinking about it, or already in college! Share your tips and tricks with me too! Here are some of my favorite school supplies just in case you were wondering (also pictured):