This post is all about the best college hacks.
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College starts in a couple of days and I can imagine how excited some of you are. I remember arriving at uni halls and starting picturing how I wanted my room to look like and what I would do to socialise and make some friends.
Some things will come naturally and will be really easy, but with the excitement of the moment you might forget some things that will make your life at uni a lot easier, that’s why I’ve put together a post with the best college for freshman I learned on my first year.
THESE ARE MY FAVOURITE COLLEGE HACKS:
1. Rent your books on Amazon
Uni books are REALLY expensive, and you might not even use some of them enough to pay £60 for a single book. One thing that I didn’t know before starting uni is that you can rent some books on Amazon. Shipping and returns are free and you get them home really quickly. It’s an amazing option to save some money and avoid being stuck with a hundred books at the end of the year.
2. Take Advantage of Student Discounts
It may seem obvious, but you have no idea the amounts of times I’ve forgotten about this or haven’t checked what shops have student discounts. Apps like UniDays and StudentBeans are free and have hundreds of discounts in all sorts of shops like Apple, Nike, Adidas, Missguided, Pretty Little Thing, and many more! One of my favourite college hacks for freshman.
3. Print on Campus
It may seem like having a printer in your bedroom is really convenient and easy and you might even save money. Well, it is not true. Printing on campus is a lot cheaper than having your own printer, maybe even free at the library. Believe me, don’t waste your money on a printer, printing on campus is a much better option.
4. Extra-long and fast chargers
Uni halls bedrooms are amazing – most of them – but they have a socket problem. You might find yourself having a socket really far from your bed and that is a pain in the ass. I use these pack of extra-long (and durable) fast chargers and I love it. Plus if you’re in a hurry and have no battery, 10 minutes charging should be enough to get you going.
5. Use free transport as much as possible
I know how easy it is to book an Uber to take you wherever, but that adds up really quickly. A lot of times unis have free shuttles for students that’ll take you to the main door. I know it might be slower but It’ll save you good money at the end of the month and you’ll be helping the environment.
6. Socialise as much as you can
On my first year of Journalism, we were 7 people in the class, and 3 of them lived in my apartment so I didn’t have many friends outside of my degree. This is something I regret hugely because I am sure I could have made really good friends. Don’t be shy or think that you’ll annoy people, they most likely are in the same situation. Approaching someone out of the blue can be awkward but It can lead to a very beautiful friendship. I wish I had used some of these college hacks in my first year.
7. Make time to exercise
Exercising the mind is as important as exercising the body. Doing some exercise, doesn’t need to be going to the gym, just going for a walk, swimming, kayaking, whatever makes you happy will help you relief stress and disconnect from all the books for a little while.
8. Pick up a new hobby or join a society/sports team
Joining a society or sports team is perfect for the two last college hacks combined, you’ll get to do some exercise or exciting activity and make friends at the same time. The students in those groups will probably hame similar interests, which will make conversations a lot easier. Socialising in general is one of the best college hacks.
9. Budget your expenses
Living out of home for the first time comes with many challenges, one of them is making sure you’re not wasting your money and you’re using it wisely. The sooner you start budgeting and learning how to manage your money, fewer headaches for the future. Budgeting is definitely one of the best college hacks ever.
If you want all the printables I use for uni – budget planner included – click here and get them sent directly to your email for FREE.
10. Read Dave Ramsey
I used to have a really bad relationship with money. I didn’t know how to manage it and ended up having to as my mum for more than expected. It took me a while to learn how to fix this situation, and reading Dave Ramsey was 90% of the healing process. He will teach you how to budget and how to manage your money so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
11. Learn easy and cheap recipes
College is an excellent opportunity to learn how to cook and make nice meals. I know that pasta and pizza are nice and easy, but you’ll have a new excuse to have your friends around on the weekend and I promise you it’s really good fun. Before starting to date David at the beginning of my freshers year, I didn’t know how to fry an egg, literally. Now we both cook amazing meals together and we enjoy it a lot.
12. Buy a Crock Pot
If you want to start cooking but don’t have the skills yet, a crock pot will be your best friend. You just have to chuck the ingredients in there and time it so it’s ready when you come back from your lectures or activities. You can make really healthy and tasty meals without spending 3 hours cooking.
13. Make your own coffee
Another one of those college hacks that I hate, but are really important. I used to love getting my coffee from the canteen before my first lecture in the morning but after a month of doing it, my bank account was begging me to stop. It is really nice, but it is expensive. Making your own coffee in the morning will save you a lot of money and you can decide how long it is, which is perfect if you have a flask and want hot coffee al day.
14. Keep your dorm room smelling fresh and looking tidy
There is nothing worse than getting back home from 6 hours of lectures and finding your room really messy and smelling funny. It will put you in a bad mood and will potentially stop you from studying and getting your homework done straight away. Make sure you make your bed before leaving and open the window for a couple of hours every day, I promise it will have a major impact on your mental health.
15. Don’t accumulate laundry
If you don’t want to spend your Saturday evening doing laundry because you don’t have any underwear left, make sure you’re not leaving it for the last second. I remember having all the outfits of the week planned in my head, checking my closet on a Sunday night and realising that everything is in the laundry basket. Be smart, don’t be me.
16. Take advantage of your most productive hours
Learning what times you’re productive and motivated early in your degree will save you a lot of hours of “I’m going to force myself to study because it’s what I should be doing”. You’ll use your hours more wisely and get less frustrated.
17. Get used to studying in your first year
This might not be the case in other universities, but in my uni, first year’s grades don’t count towards your final grade. If you come from not being really used to study for hours, this will be great for you, but I recommend you to get on it before you pass to your second year and still have no clue on what to do to get a first.
18. Use your tutorials
When your lecturers tell you what their tutorial hours are, write them down and USE them. Because they love it when students show interest and because it’ll help you get answers and clarify points of the lecture that maybe you missed or are not clear. When assignment time is approaching and you’ve started working on them, show your lecturers your progress and ask them for advice.
19. Don’t miss lectures just because
I know that introduction to economy or political science or biology or whatever on a Monday at 8 am is not nice, but don’t miss it just because you can’t be asked. You’re going to miss out on really valuable content. Even if you know the slides will be published somewhere, all the knowledge your lecturers can pass to you when they are explaining or defining something won’t be on those slides.
20. Use BLF Student Planner
I didn’t learn all of these college hacks in 1 week at college, I learned it the hard and long way. I started making printables to help me have my stuff together, and they are really useful. After a lot of friends asked for them, I decided to put together this amazing binder with more than 70 pages of content and sharing it with you. You can find it here.
21. Make sure your notes are on point
Taking great notes of your lectures won’t only help you studying and getting amazing grades, you can sell them at the end of the year and make some money out of those long hours of lectures, you can even pass this college hacks for freshman on to other students and make their lives easier as well.
22. Record your lectures
You’ll have lecturers that repeat something because you missed it, and you will have lecturers that don’t. Taking notes of every single word your lecturer says it’s pretty much impossible, and sometimes useless. With the permission of your teachers, record the lectures to make sure you’re not missing out on anything when studying.
23. Check your uni email daily
Strikes, cancelled lectures, changed exam dates, extra credits… those are thing you don’t want to miss. Checking your uni email on a daily basis will help you keep track of everything and avoiding unpleasant surprises, or happy surprises if that lecture you hate gets cancelled on a Monday morning.
24. Track your grades
One of those college hacks that no one uses but are incredibly useful in the long run. If you want a first on your degree, you’ll have to work for it from the first day, but that doesn’t mean you are not allowed to have 1 bad test. Track your grades to know what mark you need to get on the next exam or assignment to keep your grades where you want them.
25. Test out different ways of studying
There are a lot of ways of studying, cards, reading, writing, listening, conceptual maps, diagrams and so on. Try them all at the beginning of your degree and identify those that are useful to you and will make your life easier and save you time.
26. Get things done ASAP
One of the most important college hacks, don’t procrastinate. It might look like you have a lot of time to get that assignment done but time flies and it’ll be 2 days away before you realise. Get used to getting things done or work towards it from the first day, it’ll help with the stress and time-management.
27. Create or join a study group
Study groups are great if you get easily distracted when you are alone. I tend to check my phone every 5 minutes, but if I’m with people that are incredibly concentrated and getting work done, it motivates me to keep working. Make sure you show them this college hacks list!
28. Get your work done before the weekend
Weekends are to rest and enjoy your time with your friends or going back home for the weekend. Sacrificing your Friday afternoon to do your homework will feel a lot nicer than sacrificing your Sunday afternoon when all you want to do is sleep or watch Netflix and chill.
29. Read your module outline document
This is should be in a list called: “college hacks that are useful but everyone ignores”. Your module outline – that document that explains everything about your module, assessments, lecturer contact, how the module is organised, etc – has a lot of valuable information that you’re going to need. Avoid emailing your lecturer and getting the response: “this information is in the module outline” because they will know you haven’t read it.
30. Buy noise-cancelling headphones
Living in halls or going to the library at peak times can be really frustrating if you need absolute silence to concentrate. Noise-cancelling headphones saved me from killing someone when the final exams were getting close but people didn’t seem to realise.
31. Enjoy your time at uni
I know it’s a cliche, but please, enjoy your time at uni. I am getting closer to finishing my degree and I’d pay to go back to day one. Those 3-4 years will be gone before you even realise it, so enjoy every single second of it and make a lot of friends and memories.
I hope you have enjoyed this college hacks list and they help you a lot in the next chapter of your life!
This post was all about the best college hacks
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