College can be an overwhelming experience. Class schedules, living in a dorm for four years, and generally setting up a life away from home can be an intimidating prospect. If you’re preparing for life on campus, here are some less-well-known tips to give you a leg up on the challenges.
1. Get the Right Cooking Gear
It’s common knowledge that cooking your own food can save money on campus, but who has time for that every day? Besides, you can’t install an oven in a dorm room. If you want to keep your food costs down, consider getting an Instant Pot or a slow cooker to help make mealtimes quick and easy.
2. Wield Your Student Loans Wisely
Student loans are for more than just classes and books. In fact, you can use them for pretty much any of life’s necessities. The keyword here is necessities. Entertainment and spring break trips don’t count. However, if you’re in a financial pinch, consider using your loans to cover:
- Student housing
- Meal plans
- Miscellaneous school fees
3. Record Lectures
Sometimes lectures are recorded for you. Other times, it’s not allowed at all. For every other situation, you may want to use your smartphone to record your professors, especially during classes with information you know you’ll want to reference in the future. This is an underutilized option that can be invaluable when it comes time to study later on. Many times questions on the test are pulled directly from a lecture, so listening to lectures during commutes or during study time allows you to be more freshly prepared than if you had just taken notes.
4. Take a Parking Stroll
It can be easy to buckle under the pressure to pay for that outrageously priced parking pass. However, you may be able to work around it. Take a preliminary stroll around campus and look for places where you may be able to cash in on some free parking. You may even get a little exercise out of the trek.
5. Don’t Limit Your Study Spots
Even if you’re a creature of habit, it’s good to take time to scout out a variety of ideal studying locations, like:
- The campus library
- A local community library
- A coffee shop
- Your dorm room
- The student union
- The great outdoors
If you have several different places available, you can tailor each study session depending on things like the weather, your mood, what you’re studying, and your study buddies.
6. Space Out Your Study Time
For students, cramming is common. So is burning the candle at both ends. In fact, unhealthy academic studying behaviors are stereotypical and too often praised by college students. Don’t fall victim to the hype. Make sure to space out your study time as much as possible. Your brain will thank you for the opportunity to rest in between sessions.
Surviving the College Experience
College is full of challenges. Just when you think you have everything figured out, you encounter a professor on a bad day, run into financial issues, or upend your schedule at the end of a semester.
Arming yourself with lesser-known lifehacks like these can make a world of a difference as you try to go with the flow. They can help you keep your grades up, your professors happy, your finances in order, and your brain sane.
Bio: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.