It is no secret that many undergraduates lack a variety of skills before embarking on that road towards higher learning. As a current sophomore at university, I have still yet to master many of these student life hacks. Nevertheless, in this University Survival Guide, I compiled a list of life skills that I picked up during my first year of university so that your own transition to a post-secondary institution may happen more smoothly. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions and by no means will they apply to every university or college.
Getting Ready for College
When packing for college, many students choose to prioritize on clothing. Bring enough clothing to school with you so that you only have to do laundry every other week. This will save you time and money in the long run. Also, roll your clothes instead of folding them into suitcases, so that you can save space and minimize wrinkling. Some other things to consider bringing are stationery, toiletries, bedding, favorite snacks, medicine, travel adapter etc. If you will be living in residence, check the university’s website to get an idea of what will already be in your dorm, and what you might want to buy or bring. There are probably certain things that you won’t be allowed to bring like candles, hotplates, etc.
It’s best to wait a couple of days after classes start before you buy textbooks. That way you’ll know whether they are necessary or just recommended. If the textbooks are mandatory, there are ways to avoid spending all your pocket money buying them. Professors might put copies of the textbooks in the library. There may be Facebook groups for students looking to buy and sell used textbooks. Keep a look out for these opportunities to buy cheap textbooks.
Cooking and Laundry
Help out your ayi or your parents in the kitchen so that you can pick up some useful cooking tips from them. Start incorporating chores like laundry and cooking into your schedule while you are still in high school or the summer before you start college. Not only will this be great help for members of your household, but it will also teach you time management before start college. The Internet can also help you master the art of college cooking.
Make sure to wrap stuff like vegetable peels in a plastic bag before throwing them away, especially if your trash can doesn’t have a lid. Otherwise, flies might invade your room.
Check your pockets for stuff like money, phone, and chocolate bars, before you put them in your laundry bag. If you have to do laundry in a laundry room, it’s a good idea to stay with your clothes while it’s in the washer or dryer. However, if you want to catch up on some work in the half an hour it takes your clothes to be washed or dried, make sure that you’ve set an alarm clock or reminder so that you don’t leave your clothes in the machine after it’s done. People will take your clothes out and dump them on the side if you’re clothes have been occupying a machine for too long when it’s not running. Also, a clothing rack will help you avoid dryer costs.
Although the food is usually not so great, the good thing about investing in a meal plan is that you don’t have to worry about food shopping or cooking. But for those of you who have to worry about making your own food here’s a way to tackle food shopping. Buy in bulk anything that will last a long time like rice, beans, pasta, cereal, and tin food. You can buy more of these later as they get used up. Look for cheap food in the discount aisles. Compare the prices of food in different stores so that you can track down the best deals.
What to Find Out When You Arrive
The first couple of weeks after you arrive at campus, it is important to find out about measures you can take to keep you healthy and safe while you’re at university. Aside from the obvious, like where your classes will be, the following are what you may want to find out as soon as possible.
– Location of nearest hospitals, including where to go in case of an emergency. Also, provide necessary prescriptions to a pharmacy close by.
– Safety at night: stay near main roads, avoid dark paths. Often students have to attend evening classes, so it’s important to find out the safest routes home if you’re going to walk. Try to walk home with someone you trust.
– Safety programs on campus. For example, the university I attend has free Safe Ride and Safe Walk programs so that students don’t have to walk home alone at night.
– Where to go to or whom to call when you get into trouble like assault, burglary, etc. There should be campus safety teams that you can call.
– On campus services for both mental and physical health.
– Hotlines. emergency, suicide prevention, domestic violence, etc.
Up next on University Survival Guide: Master the art of staying organized, especially during busy times!
Download the digital copy here.