College is expensive af, and if you’re like me you try to find every way to finesse the system and cut corners. In fact, I think that’s one of the best lessons a freshman or someone attending college for the first time should know.
Rule #1: Always explore opportunities to finesse the system.
When I say system I mean the entire system. In my mind college is designed to push you to your limits and make you think of creative out of the box ways to get things done more efficiently or faster. Some ways I have survived college is by using some of the following tools.
- College Hack: If the book you’re assigned to is an older book check out the schools library or your local library. I have saved lots of cash by using my library card. You can also look into rental options through your school or sites like Amazon and Chegg.
- College Hack: I took a stats class and in addition to needing a $258 book and access code I also needed a $100 TI 83 calculator. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bypass or cut corners on the book because it was new and I needed the access code for the homework. But an $100 calculator for a total of $358 just for one class? NO THANKS!
Check out: http://videomathteacher.com/free-resources/free-downloadable-math-calculators/download-free-virtual-ti-calculator-online/ for a free desktop calculator it looks like this.
Another option is borrowing. Until I discovered this free tool I borrowed another student’s calculator and double checked my work (just to verify this calculator was legit and it is).
- College Tip: Please, please, please, my first generation college student brothers and sisters. Go see your adviser! If you’re starting school without a clue like I did your adviser will be your best resource to give you a foundation to stand on as far as which way is up and what direction you should head in to reach your goals.
- College Tip: Google is your best friend!! One time I took a marketing class and we had a series of case studies to solve. Literally, every single case study was completed on slideshare.com or Prezi by other students. While I obviously would NEVER advise plagiarism as that’s a recipe for college disaster sometimes if you’re stuck, looking over someone else’s work might give you the push you need to jump into your own. So when in doubt Google it out!
- College Tip: Talk to your professor, build a relationship with them. This is something I highly suggest as I personally have never done bad in a class where I got cool with the professor. They are also great resources for recommendation letters. Its much easier to approach a professor that you actually spoke with than a professor writing you one out of sympathy (because yes some professors do, do this). They are also great resources for research opportunities for those of you that know you’re applying to graduate school.
- College Tip: Broke and hungry? Most campuses have a number of programs and events throughout the week. Go on your schools event page and or calendar and find all of the free events featuring food and go! I have sat through many presentations just for the food.
- College Tip: Take advantage of businesses that offer discounts to students. Because as a broke college student every penny counts.
- College Tip: Take advantage of all of the resources on campus this includes, tutoring, career services, the gym, counseling and or speech services, etc because unbeknownst to you, you pay for all of them so you might as well use them!
- College Tip: Get involved on campus! I promise you, you’ll make life long friends and have many funny stories to tell your kids one day.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Pi Delta Chapter 2012
- College Tip: Get a mentor. Lots of organizations offer mentor programs and its because upperclassman love taking sweet little freshman under their wing. Having someone that has already navigated where you currently are can do nothing but help you if you find a good mentor. Even though I graduated I still communicate with my mentees. It feels really good to have someone think you have all your shit together and to look up to you.
- College Tip: While Wikipedia is universally agreed upon as not a reliable source it can be a great source to find sources! I have started many research papers from sources I found off of Wikipedia and branched off from there.
Lastly, take care of yourself! Self-care is so important and college is a pivotal time in anyones life. Not because you’re learning all of this new information, thats only half of the college experience. The rest comes from joining organizations, putting on programs and community services, being taken out of your element and comfort zone and meeting and becoming friends with people from all walks of life. If I talked about my college experience what I learned or did in the classroom would be a mere fraction compared to everything else I accomplished while I was there.
I’d love to hear from you!
- What are some college hacks or tips that helped you survive or navigate school?
- If you’ve already graduated what do you wish you would have taken advantage of or done while you were still a student?
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