rowing up, most of us have memories of hearing from the people around us what an exciting time of life college is. The “college experience” is embedded in pop culture such as movies, TV shows, media, etc.
And while college has the potential to be an amazing time in your life, it also can present us with many challenges. For many, this is the first time we have ever lived away from home. It’s the start of a new journey, one where you experience living independently. However, with this newfound independence, comes the need for self-discipline and responsibility.
It is very possible to thrive in college, it just takes learning how to best navigate the experience. With the need to balance time, studies, social life, extracurriculars, etc, this may seem like a daunting task. However, with our list of college life hacks, you are sure to not just get through college, but truly enjoy it too.
College Hacks That Will Help You Out From Day One
These college life hacks can help serve you in balancing everything coming your way throughout your journey at school. Let’s talk about ways you can succeed both in, and out, of the classroom.
1. Form a Proper Sleeping Schedule
One of the best things you can do for both your physical and mental health in college is to make your best effort to form a proper sleeping schedule. This entails going to bed at a decent time in order to get at least eight hours of sleep.
While this may seem unfeasible as a busy college student, it is possible if you make it a priority. While you may not get eight hours every night, making this a priority means increasing the likelihood that you get eight hours at least on some nights.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by not putting off your schoolwork until the night if you can help it. This sounds simple, but it is rather difficult to make yourself do if you don’t actively think about it. After classes, it is natural to want to relax. However, it is important not to rest for too long to the point where the only time you have left to do schoolwork is late at night.
Rather, a good strategy would be to set an hour of time aside after your last class to rest. After that hour ends, you should begin doing your schoolwork.
2. Utilize a Planner
A great way to stay on top of your classes in college is to utilize a planner. At the beginning of the semester, when you get your syllabuses for all your new classes, you should immediately write down all due dates. This includes homework, quizzes, exams, projects, etc.
You could even expand this to outside school. For example, you can also use your planner to write down extracurricular meetings, volunteer times, and work interviews.
Another way to utilize your planner is by using it to create checklists. These checklists could be items needed for class, things you want to accomplish on a specific day, or any other number of ideas.
3. Get Involved on Campus
Getting involved around campus is an essential part in immersing yourself in college. It allows you to meet people, cultivate existing passions or discover new ones, and establish a community.
Getting involved can take the form of many different activities. For example, you could join a:
- Club sport
- Major-related club
- Artistic club
- Theme-based club
- Performing arts club
- Greek life
No matter what club you choose, it is almost guaranteed to make your college experience that much more enjoyable. In fact, many people find this to be the highlight of their college years.
4. Find an Outlet
As discussed earlier, as fun as college is, there is also a lot of stress that comes along with the new experience. Because of this, it is very important to find a way to decompress and unwind. A good way to do so is to find an outlet in which you can express your emotions.
This can be accomplished in any number of ways. Some of these ways include:
- Taking walks around campus
- Listening to music
- Any form of artwork such as painting or drawing
- Try a mindfulness app like Headspace and learn to meditate
5. Connect with Home
One of the most difficult parts of college for many people is being away from your home, family, and friends. College is a growing experience, but never be afraid to visit home if you are feeling lonely, sad, or just simply want to see your family and friends.
Additionally, at times when you are unable to go home, there are other ways to stay in touch with family and friends. Thanks to technology, even when someone is physically far away, it is always possible to contact them. Make sure to FaceTime, call, and text your family and friends.
College Hacks to Succeed in the Classroom
The biggest reason for going to college is to earn a degree in the field you would like to go into. In order to do so, it is important to put effort into your classes. For many people, the idea of college classes can seem scary. However, there are many tips and tricks you can use in order to succeed in the classroom. Check out these college classroom hacks.
6. Avoid Skipping
One of the best things you can do for your success in the classroom is to avoid skipping, even when attendance is not mandatory. While this seems like a common sense rule, it can become very easy to begin skipping if you allow yourself to get into that habit.
7. Office Hours
Another college classroom hack is to attend office hours when you feel necessary. Office hours are a good time to clarify any questions you may have about the class, the content currently being covered, or your grade.
In addition to attending office hours, it is also important to reach out to your professor whenever needed. Do not wait until it is already too late to seek help in the class. It’s essential to be proactive and reach out sooner rather than later.
8. Active Listening
A good way to learn the material in your classes is to practice active listening during your lectures or recitations. It takes a conscious effort to listen to what the professor is stating, process the information, and truly learn it. It is important to do so because this is how you will actually absorb the information being taught.
9. Use All of the Study Tools You Have Available
If taking notes in class and using old school flashcards just isn't cutting it, don't worry -- this is the 21st century, and there are LOTS of additional resources out there to help make course material stick.
- Course Hero is an online learning platform with over 100 million course-specific study resources created by teachers and students around the nation. Which means that very specific Econ class you just can't master? You'll have it down in no time. As if it couldn't get any better, Course Hero also offers 24/7 tutoring and help for subscribers (but creating an account is free).
- Quizlet is online flashcards, but it's so much more than that too. Expert solutions, magic notes, and even AI tutoring has entered the chat.
- Khan Academy might remind you of high school math class, but the helpful, easy-to-follow, and best of all free videos go all the way up through differential calculus and beyond! Not to mention Khan Academy has expanded in plenty of other subjects, ranging from art history to computer science
- RateMyProfessors.com is exactly what it sounds like -- a forum for students to grade their teacher's performance too. Since you don't have access to the end of semester surveys you have to fill out for your school, best to be prepared for any course red flags other students have noted
10. Connect with Classmates
In your classes it is a good idea to form connections with your classmates and join any group chats that may exist on platforms such as GroupMe. Doing so allows you to have people to reach out to in order to study with and ask questions to.
11. Stay Organized
When balancing multiple classes, it is absolutely essential to stay organized. The best way to do so is through a folder system. Many colleges utilize an online platform for the majority of work. Therefore, most class items and papers are stored on laptops.
A good way to manage organization on a laptop is to create a folder labeled with your university name. In that folder, you can create multiple folders, one for each class you are taking. After that, you simply save items for your classes in their respective folders.
12. Acclimate Yourself to Your New School
Feeling comfortable and at ease is one of the largest college life hacks there is. Being content with where you are at truly makes all the difference. Exploring campus, and the surrounding areas, is a great way to familiarize yourself with the area. Doing so is bound to make you more comfortable. You can find your favorite dining, hang-out, and study spots this way.
Furthermore, making yourself comfortable extends beyond just your campus. It includes feeling at home in your dorm room or apartment. A good way to do so is to spend time decorating your space as you see fit.
Get Ready to Embark on Your College Journey with These Helpful Tips and Tricks!
Now that you know all of the best college life hacks, you are ready to go! While college can seem intimidating, it is important to remember that everyone feels the same. No one has it all figured out. It is a learning experience you will all go on together. So don’t stress too much, have fun, and make some great memories!