Hacks to Help You Survive College

Ahhh college. The best four years of your life. You make new friends, educate your future, live on your own, struggle with classes, and feel like ripping your hair out every once in a while. Okay…maybe it isn’t the best four years of life for everyone, BUT there’s certainly ways to make life a little easier! Check out our 20 college hacks and watch your life be forever changed!


1. Smelly dorms

Stick a dryer sheet on the back of a fan while it’s on. This gets rid of bad smells in your dorm!


2.  Get wrinkles out of shirts

For those who don’t have time to iron their clothes, hang a shirt somewhere in your bathroom while you shower. The steam from the shower gets the wrinkles out.


3. Binder Clips

Sticking binder clips to you desk helps keep your cords organized and prevents them from tangling up.


4. Cleaning your keyboard

Use a Post-It note to clean your keyboard. The sticky side of the note collects all the gunk that was stuck underneath!


5. Class schedule

During your first few weeks of class, screenshotting your schedule and making it your lock screen helps you memorize it. You’ll never forget your schedule again!


6. Note organization

Leave a few pages in the front of your notebook blank for a table of contents. This way you’ll know where everything is when it comes time for the big test!


7.  Late night homework

If you’re up late doing homework, listen to movie scores. There’s no distracting lyrics and it keeps you motivated!


8.  Syllabus week

At the beginning of each semester, highlight important dates and put them into your calendar for the best class preparation.


9. Writing Papers

After writing a paper, copy and paste it into Google Translate. This allows you to check for any misspells or grammatical errors!


10. Color code your notes

Color coding notes with pens is a great way to stay organized. The correlation between the colors and theme makes it easier to remember. Just make sure you don’t use too many colors on a subject. This could lead to you being overwhelmed!


11. Textbook reading motivation

We’ve all been through the struggle of reading the textbook and attempting to retain its information. A good incentive to stay on track is to put pieces of candy on each paragraph of the assigned reading. Every time you reach a paragraph, you get to eat the candy. How’s that for motivation?


12. Gum Hack

Studies have shown that chewing a piece of gum while studying for exams and then chewing the same flavor during the test helps you recall the material better.


13. Makeshift utensils

Have you ever forgotten to bring a fork with your packed lunch? No problem! Just bend some paper clips, tape them together to a writing utensil, and you’ll be good to go!


14.  Cooking in a coffee pot

You can save time cooking simple foods such as pasta, hot dogs, and oatmeal in a coffee pot. Just add water and you’re good to go!


15. Use a Keurig for your instant ramen

Keurigs can have more than one use. Try using it to get a hot cup of instant ramen noodles!


16. Instant Iced Coffee

For those of you who are in a rush to get to class but need your coffee fix, there’s a way to get it in just two minutes! All you need is instant coffee, water, ice, and creamer! View how to do it here.


17. Fruit juice ice cubes

Fill up an ice tray with your favorite fruit juices and freeze them for 3-4 hours. Add the cubes and a slice of fruit to some seltzer water and you’ll have a nice refreshing drink!


18. Scrambled eggs in a mug

You don’t need a stove to get your morning eggs! If  you have a microwave, you’re all set! View how to make them here.


19. Get a bottled drink cold in 15 minutes

Wrap your bottled drink in a damp paper towel and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Your drink will be nice and cold!


20. Bottle opening tricks

There are many tricks to opening a bottle when no bottle opener is around. Try out these 9 tricks!


5 Healthy Studying Tips

Studying is probably one of the least exciting tasks in college. But it doesn’t have to be as bad as it seems when you apply these 5 healthy studying tips. These habits can not only help produce higher grades, but can have you understanding the information better. This is a viable trait for applying this knowledge to real world situations.


1. Take Notes of All Important Aspects in Each Class

The basis of healthy studying starts with what you do in the classroom. In-depth notes will cover all materials that were discussed in class. This will help produce a more well-rounded understanding of the topic at hand. This could get intense so be wary of writer’s cramp.

College Student Raising Hand During Lecture

2. Make Your Voice Heard in the Classroom

Involving yourself in the material, whether that be open discussion or simply asking questions, gets you to fully engage with the subject at hand. This clears up any confusion you may have before you start studying and provides you with more comprehensive knowledge of the topic.


3. Use the Textbook

Professors usually do not follow the book word for word. They combine different elements of similar topics that your textbook may highlight. In most cases, the textbook is used a guide or companion to the lesson. But don’t ignore the textbook. It is recommended you purchase it for a reason. Many key concepts from class will be mentioned in the text, even if the examples given are different.


4. Stay Organized

Nothing is worse for an upcoming exam than notebooks full of different information from a whole array of subjects. You have enough stress; managing your notes and information at the last minute shouldn’t be one of them. Use a notebook, laptop or tablet and section off subjects. If you use a binder or folders, make sure to keep papers together by subject and date only.


5. Do Not Procrastinate

The worst thing is to study for an exam the day before. Not only will you be scrambling to memorize concepts and formulas, but you may not be able to retain it all. The best possible way to memorize notes and other work would be to study a few hours each week until the exam arrives. Less stress, more sleep, and peace of mind on test day will be one of the benefits of this method.

Burning Questions for the Student Pursuing an Advanced Degree

Grad school is a tapestry of unique students from equally unique areas of life. While you have your students who are fresh out of the undergrad mill, you also have a large amount of older students that have taken a break between degrees. Some students are recently single while others are happily married with children. The one thing that brings us all together is our desire for an advanced degree. While I sat waiting for my most recent grad school orientation to begin, a series of frequently asked questions flashed across the projection screen. For all of the newbies out there, I figured I’d answer some of the most relevant questions here.

computer lab

How does a graduate student balance time between work, classwork and research?

            Now is the time to utilize all of the information you surly retained from those time management workshops from freshman year. While some students may have the luxury of only having to worry about their classes, chances are you’ll probably be juggling school with a full time job (which is probably paying your tuition in the first place). In some cases, you may have a family to throw into the fray as well. The good news in all of this is that your job and your class times are already structured for you. Therefore, the smart grad student schedules a few hours a day specifically for studying and research. Make this time a part of your daily routine and it’ll soon become second nature.


How do graduate students meet people outside their discipline or the university?

            During the orientation icebreaker, I met a handful of students outside of my major. While meeting peers in different disciplines is easy at big events such as this, its a little more difficult to do on your own for one main reason; most grad schools don’t have general education classes that all students must take. Rather, all of your classes are focused on your particular major and you usually tend to end your program with the same cohort of students you started with. If socializing with peers outside of your discipline is of importance to you, pay attention to your campus email as most schools do social events (picnics, holiday parties) geared and open to all grad students. Also, if your institution has a student government that grad students are permitted to join, then become active (if time permits) as this is another prime way to mix it up

Pro tip: Explore study environments outside of your apartment or house. Just because you are working on an advanced degree doesn’t mean you can’t mingle with the undergrads in the school library. All of my reading takes place there, while my writing happens at a local irish pub

I’m a regular Hemingway!


Some graduate students are overachievers. How do you deal with not being able to over achieve at everything all at once?

            These were the same students in undergrad that just “got it”from day one; they’re frustrating. The main thing to remember is that grad school is not a competition and your degree is not based on how much better than someone else you did. If there are things that you are struggling with, remember that the academic resources that your school offers its undergrads are available to you as well. There is absolutely no shame in meeting a professor during office hours or seeking the help of a tutor. At first I balked at the thought of an undergraduate student helping me at the writing center. That is until I saw my grade on my very next paper elevate after said help.


Are you able to maintain a social life outside of grad school? Should you? 

            Not only are you able to maintain a social life, its absolutely necessary. If it were not for those nights of cheap beers, chicken fingers and fried mushrooms at the pub behind our school, it is questionable if my school chums and I would have been able to maintain our sanity while working towards our master degrees. Find a few classmates you click with as these students can serve as your study group, drinking buddies and support system when the road gets rough.

Pro Tip: While you may be making a ton of new connections with your intellectual peers, don’t neglect your non school friends. There will be times that you’ll want to talk about anything other than school and these these friends will be more than happy to take you mind off the 45 page qualitative research paper you have due in two weeks.

College Student Probs: How to Have a Smooth Semester

Juggling an 18-hour semester and other commitments –and sustaining a social life- has led me to hone my time-managing skills more than ever. Although I have more commitments than before, I still have free time and am no more stressed than when I didn’t have as many obligations.

Whether you think you’re doing okay, struggle with getting things done on time, or know you should do better but lack motivation, I’d like to share some things that have been extremely helpful to me in making the semester –specifically, classes-smoother and bearable. They may add some hours to your day:

• Use a planner- It can be a notepad, agenda, or phone app. The important thing is that you can organize your thoughts and look ahead to future assignments and other things you don’t want to forget, like grocery items to buy or a friend’s birthday. It also feels good to cross out or delete items once you complete them.

• Do the easy things first- Let’s say you have three assignments; one is busy work that will take 15 minutes, the other is a 20-page reading assignment, and the third is a packet of calculus problems. Let’s also say that the calculus problems will be the most challenging and time consuming for you. If you tackle these problems first, you’ll be a little worn out by the time you try to get to the other assignments. Instead, start with the easiest and knock those out first. That way, you don’t feel like you have that much left to do since you’re moving fairly quickly. Also, if you do run out of time, you would have less you didn’t do, instead of things you know you could have done like simple busy work.

• Work on projects a few days before they’re due- Never put off a project until the night before it’s due—or the day it’s due for that matter. Make sure you read directions in advance so that you can ask the professor any questions you have. Then you can feel more confident about what you’re doing. Also, separate portions of the project you’ll work on throughout a few days. It feels like less work, and it gives you goals to work toward for that day.

• Make outlines for papers- Try to write the thesis or main argument for the paper and three reasons to back it up as proof. Then, write the paper. This way, you’ll have a layout and you won’t lose your focus as much.

• Divide reading assignments- If you have 50 pages to read, if possible, read 25 pages throughout two days. Now that’s much more doable.

• Master skimming pages- They never taught you this before college, did they? A lot of times, you can get the gist of most readings by focusing in on sentences that seem like the main points; try to think of what the professor may ask if he/she were to quiz you on the reading and spend more time focusing on those sections instead of every single sentence.

Professors and First Impressions

There’s no question that depending on the professor, a class can be either enjoyable or excruciating. For instance, we would all like to have this professor for our chemistry class:

But when websites like or advice from friends can’t give you the scoop about each professor, attending the first class can give you quite a bit of insight.

All your life in school leading up to college, you’re told that college is like the real world and you don’t have second chances. You may have been told that before high school too (and you know there were plenty of loopholes around that one). Well, that may be partially true with college, but it’s also like the real world in the sense that the professors probably don’t care too much if you drop their class and are generally more open; it’s easier to get an accurate first impression of the professor.

From the intimidating, intelligent professor to the laid-back, or wild one, I’ve had my share of quite a variety of professors; I’ve also developed a sense of taking first impressions of the professors and gauging what the class will probably be like.

First, let’s start with the well-decorated—with doctorates and achievements: Obviously, this professor is well-educated and intelligent, and probably has been teaching for many years. He/she is passionate about the subject he teaches and most likely is delighted when students try to learn as much as they can in that class. So, make sure to ask questions and make an effort. But expect a lot of work.

(photo source:

Then, there’s the professor who complains about people who are late to class or don’t have textbooks the first day and blame it on drinking. He also may plainly say he expects half the class to drop out within a week.

(photo source:

It’s safe to say: That probably won’t be your favorite class.

Lastly, one professor, who is almost identical to Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, is so excitable and tells the class everything about her life and her 28 cats. She and her words are just bouncing off the walls.


(photo source:

Within the first 10 minutes of the first class, I was thinking: Ending classes early and fairly easy exams? I was delighted when she announced we would be taking absolutely no quizzes and no exams. Meow!

If you’re thinking you may be stuck in a required class or don’t want to switch simply because of the professor, don’t sweat it. In most colleges, it’ll only be for a semester. But taking note of first impressions of professors can certainly be a fun little way to pass some time while they go over that 20-page syllabus.

-Did/do you have any memorable professors? Share your stories!

Your Favorite Olympic Athletes: Where Did They Attend College & What Were Their Majors?

Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps, Gabrielle Douglas are all Olympic stars for the United States and with the Olympics just coming to an end, has anybody wondered where these stars attended school? What did these athletes major in? What athletes decided to forgo college and turn pro? Who did not finish their collegiate careers? And in some instances such as sixteen year old Aly Raisman’s case, where will she end up for her collegiate career, and what will she major in?

Michael Phelps – U.S. Olympic Swimmer
School: University of Michigan
Major: Sports Marketing/Management

Ryan Lochte – U.S. Olympic Swimmer
School: University of Florida
Major: Sports Management

Gabrielle Douglas – U.S. Olympic Gymnast (Only 16 years of age)
Home Schooled (High School)

Alexandra Raisman – U.S. Olympic Gymnast (Only 18 years of age)
School: Attended Needham High School
Plans on attending the University of Florida           

Jordyn Weber – U.S. Olympic Gymnast (Only 17 years of age)
School: Attended DeWitt High School
Plans on attending UCLA

Missy Franklin – U.S. Olympic Swimmer (Only 17 years of age)
School: Attended Regis Jesuit High School
University of Georgia, USC, and the University of California are just some of the few choices for Missy Franklin. 

Kerri Walsh Jennings – U.S. Beach Volleyball Player
School: Stanford University
Major: American Studies
Misty May-Treanor – U.S. Beach Volleyball Player
School: Long Beach State
Major: Kinesiology/Fitness 

Allyson Felix – U.S. Track and Field Athlete
School: University of Southern California (USC)
Major: Elementary Education 

Lolo Jones – U.S. Olympic Track Athlete
School: Louisiana State University (LSU)
Major: Economics
Carmelo Antony – U.S. Men’s Basketball Player
School: Syracuse University
Anthony played just one season with Syracuse 

Diana Taurasi – U.S. Women’s Basketball Player
School: University of Connecticut
Major: Sociology
Hope Solo – U.S. Women’s Soccer Player
School: University of Washington
Major: Speech Communication 

Andy Roddick – U.S. Tennis Player
Roddick did not attend College, as he went professional at a very young age around 17 or 18. 

April Ross – U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Player (Teammate of J. Kessy)
School: University of Southern California (USC)
Major: International Relations 

Jennifer Kessy – U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Player (Teammate of A. Ross)
School: University of Southern California (USC)
Major: History

It’s interesting to see what these professional athletes have done during their college careers. It’s even more interesting to know that some of these high paid Olympians even skipped college or just played for a year or two such as Carmelo Anthony. Many athletes that do not finish getting their degree before turning pro do happen to return to school during, or even after their pro careers.

Freshmen Fears

When you start college it’s normal to be nervous—there are certain things that scare you, and that’s okay! As I start my senior year I couldn’t help but think back to my first time on campus and ponder the list of worries that had me scared to start my new college chapter.

Here are five common freshmen fears—ones I had myself and ones some of you may be having now! Rest assured, things seem scary now, but the next four years are going to fly. Your worries will seem crazy in a few semesters when you look back at far how you’ve come.

1.  I’ll be homesick—Sure home is great, so great, that it’s hard to leave. But, you’ll be glad you did. College is all about new experiences. Dorm life or even just living away from home is an adjustment but it’s well worth the uncomfortable pains that it takes to get used to everything. It’s hard being away from home, that’s where you’ve lived for the last 18 years. But, that’s what family weekend is for. You’ll see them before you know, and maybe even wish they would leave! (Hopefully not too soon!)

2.  I’ll gain the “Freshmen 15”—Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Either way, it’s all going to be okay. College is a new chapter of your life and plus no one is supposed to look like they did in high school forever. Think about it. That would be weird, uncomfortable even. You are getting older and your change in behavior and eating habits your weight could fluctuate—increase or decrease. Heck, you could even get taller—I grew an inch! Just remember to be healthy and active. That’s all you can ask—staying the same as your high school self isn’t an option, and probably isn’t all that healthy either!

3. I didn’t pick the right school—When you first move in, it can be hard to feel at home. Where are you? What is this place? It’s all so different, and cold. But that doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong place, it just means you have to let yourself warm up to it all. Schools are all about fit. You can take classes anywhere, but when you start to feel the grove of a campus and start to feel yourself start to fit, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Just give it time, and remember to be open-minded. Even shoes need to be worn a few times to break them in—college campuses are no different!

4. My Roommate will be weird! —I won’t lie, when I first saw and met my roommate, I was nervous. We were complete opposites! She covered our whole room in pink fluffy stuff! But once we looked past the obvious differences and just started to talk and hang out we were completely fine. We ended up having tons in common and to this day are still roommates—three years later! Some of your very best friends can be found in unlikely places. My “scary” college roommate is one of my very best friends. But, look at us on Facebook 3 years ago and we couldn’t have appeared more different!

5.  I won’t be able to meet people! —Moving into college is stressful. So stressful in fact that students forget that everyone around them is same boat, all stressed, all nervous. Freshmen don’t come with built in friends. It takes a while to meet “your group”, but don’t think they aren’t out there. Don’t be afraid to talk to people when you move in. Go to activities; go to games, socials, and mixers—all the opening weekend events are put on for a reason! It’s to help all of the freshmen, however many there are, (maybe 900 hundred at small schools, 9000 at big ones) get to know each other. Don’t sit in your room hiding from your roommate. Get out there and take the risk of talking to new people, that’s what college is all about. You will meet people all over and some will end up being your friends forever and some, just friendly faces to smile at on your way to class.

Clutter to Classic: The T-Shirt Quilt

The final month countdown to school consists of many things:  deciding what to pack, going through your belongings to size them down, and quite a few other routines.  If this is your first time leaving for college, especially, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to prepare.

Something I have found extremely valuable while away at college is a very simple item—but one that provides me with a lot of memories while I’m away.  It’s a T-shirt quilt.  I was going through some old clothes I wanted to get rid of before returning to school, and suddenly the idea popped into my head.  I researched online to find companies that you could send your old T-shirts to, that would then make them into a quilt.  It was a great way to preserve the shirts that were taking up space in my dressers because I never wore them anymore, but that I still wanted to hold onto for sentimental reasons.

After some very meticulous research, I came across The Quilt Loft.  They charged you by the T-shirt, so you could control how expensive it would be to send everything off.  They charged a deposit onto my credit card first and then took the rest of the money from the sale after they had already shipped the finished quilt to me.  Compared to many other companies, The Quilt Loft was the least expensive and they did an amazing job!  Check out the first photo of the professionally done quilt I received from them.


I eventually ended up finding more T-shirts and, instead of spending more money to have them made into another quilt, I made my own!  I already had a black throw I wasn’t using at home, so I cut and sewed the shirts onto them.  Then I bought another black throw and quilt batting from the local craft store and sewed it all together.  The second photo is of my own homemade quilt! 

Having these two quilts at school is a great way to remind me of home when I’m away.  They’re also quite useful for taking naps when I’ve had a long day!  Sometimes if you don’t want to use the quilt on your bedspread, you can even hang it on your wall as decoration.

Obviously, when you compare both of the quilts, the professionally made product is nicer, but I would say my handmade quilt is a close second, especially in terms of comfort.  I really love both of my T-shirt quilts, and now I have loads of memories that have been converted into practical, everyday items.

Some things to consider when looking at quilting companies:

-How do they charge you?  Is all of the payment upfront or is it in increments?

-How big do you want your quilt to be?  If the company charges by the T-shirt, be sure to be reasonable with your own price range when deciding which shirts to send.

-What extras would you want?  Sashing is when there is a type of “border” around each shirt, instead of having the shirts sewn right next to one another.  This usually costs more.

As you can see from the first photo, my professional quilt has sashing and is 3×4 shirts in width and length.  The total for my quilt was $159, compared to $300+ for the same thing from other companies.  It was an investment in something I will definitely value for years to come.

Click the link below to experience The Quilt Loft for yourself!