1: buy your books online at a site like slugbooks at least three weeks in advance.
prices at your university/college’s bookstore are ridiculous, and shipping takes a while. if the timing is not an option, buy books full price only if you can get a full refund, order your books online, and then return your official!books for the shipped!books
2: don’t buy food out.
in a month i spent close to $300 on food/coffee etc. a treat every now and again is fine, but prepare your food the night before or buy easily made food. its a pain, but its worth it
3: (for Canadians) opt into OSAP relief. for non-Canadians, there should be something similar
it’s a little known branch of financial aid that either frees you from paying interest on your school loans, or gives you a set interest fee by calculating your/whoever is paying your tuition’s income
4: if it’s an option, defer your first payment, and then save up until you can pay the minimum fee for your first semester/year.
it’s a huge amount of relief not to have to worry about that on top of choosing your courses, your campus, your commute, etc
5: keep a physical planner
there’s nothing like writing it down with a pen and paper to get me to remember stuff. putting it in my phone means i will absolutely forget it. it helps to see your course timetable, calculate your budget, and plan around other things, like a social life. this is the best one i found, and it’s only about $20.
6: dressing up can do wonders for you, but slumming it is good too
nobody cares. absolutely nobody cares how you look, so if it’s a pyjama day, it’s a pyjama day. unless, of course, you’re going to office hours/have an interview/meeting. then the professor/TA/other official will care
7: go to at least one damn office hour
your TA/professor will love it and remember you, which is good if you need advice about anything. even if you have nothing to say, go to an office hour and just talk about an assignment, your reading, whatever. it always always helps, i swear.
8: you will be stressed out, you won’t sleep as much as you should, but that’s ok
its fine, i swear. cry, talk to someone, rant, procrastinate a little, it won’t kill you. but if you feel like you’re falling apart, go to your mental health facility at your college/university. even if you don’t see anyone, somehow just being in the space feels like a hug
9: if you must skip something, skip a lecture, never a tutorial
its not worth it to skip either, but your tutorial has participation points that are half filled just by showing up. and usually, if you missed the lecture, you can bullshit your way through the tutorial by going ‘i agree’. look, you’re human. its ok.
10: don’t ever, ever, ever record your lectures, unless you’re superhuman
i never ever ever listen to recordings of my lectures. literally never. its a way to feel productive while not actually being productive. take notes, borrow someone’s notes, buy notes. just notes.
11: read your notes
i tell myself i’ll read my notes after every class, and i don’t. still, at some point during your week, read your notes. when exam time comes, that rereading is what i remember to help me
BONUS: read your notes out loud in a funny voice. you’ll get a laugh, and something about the ridiculousness helps you remember things too.
12: it’s totally fine to go to a lecture and start tumblring
or whatever other social media you’re involved in. just take a few notes, at least. i can multitask by splitting my screen. one half tumblr, one half notes. i usually write at least something down, and something is better than nothing
13: give yourself a break
do something fun once a week, where you’re not allowed to talk about school. have a study date, you will get something done, and you will also have fun. the ratio between them will be totally unequal, but mental health is important
14: take classes you can actually sit through
makes everything easier. that’s not always an option, but sign up for something that’s not going to make you want to die.
15: talk to people in your lecture, on the couch next to you, in line beside you
that’s how you make friends. its easy, when everyone is bemoaning school. dont get intimidated. if the person’s a jerk, move on to someone else. they’re not all jerks
16: reward yourself for studying
i tell myself: ‘i’ll write my intro and give myself five minutes on tumblr’ it actually works.