Student Life Hacks

Posted on behalf of Lawrence Penn

Being a student can be a strange experience. Life will vary greatly between being a poor, over-stressed recluse to spending like a baller and partying hard on ‘the sesh’. There really isn’t much of an in between.

They say that these are the three best years of your life and I can see a lot of sense in that. My father’s most entertaining stories all seem to stem from 30 years ago to his time at uni so I can only assume nothing of great interest has happened since.

It’s not always that easy though. The day before you arrive at uni you’re a child. Your parents have most likely done most of your washing/cooking all your life and that suited us all quite nicely. A day later however you’ve got to do all these things yourself. Some things, like cooking pasta, are very much achievable. Other things, like working the washing machine – I’m yet to work out fully. Anything beyond “autowash” would be optimistic.

Despite this, us students are a resourceful bunch. By virtue of being at uni you can expect a certain degree of intellect and this manifests in very creative ways when it comes to attempting to function as an adult and making a limited budget stretch.

Here’s a few of my favourites.

  1. The Student Christmas Tree


Christmas trees are expensive but fortunately my housemates and I found an innovative solution. Christmas tree boxes, are in fact much cheaper and come pre-decorated with a picture of a fully decorated tree on the front. This example has been finished with a traditional ‘fairy’ on the top. Other variations I have seen have been largely based around traffic cones.

  1. Maintaining a ‘varied’ diet


Varied usually refers to different variations of pasta. Here we have a rich selection. Penne, Farfalle, Lasagne Sheets, Pasta n’ Sauce AND Super Noodles. And that’s just what I found in the cupboard. Of course pasta won’t provide the full spectrum of nutrients and vitamins we need to keep us healthy. It is therefore necessary to occasionally stop by McDonalds, usually at 3:30am.

  1. Getting to lectures on time


The trick here is knowing EXACTLY how long it takes you to walk to uni when walking, fast walking, running, and by Uber. On top of this, multiple alarms are a must. Morning you is a lot less reasonable than late night you so don’t give yourself the option of staying asleep. You CAN make that 9am.

  1. Doing the dishes


My absolute favourite technique is “leaving it to soak.” The theory here is that clearly those bits of burned sauce aren’t going to shift off the pan that easily so will definitely some time in hot water. The moment after you have immersed the pan you simply walk away. Nine times out of ten the result pictured above is achieved. Thank goodness for housemates.

  1. No plates? No problem.


As a geographer, I am frequently told in lectures just how important it is that we save energy and water. Creating extra washing up is no way to go about saving the planet. Students across the country are saving water by eating out of saucepans and drinking out of milk cartons, thereby creating less washing up. Couple this with the previous student life hack and you can save yourself a lot of time. You are also working for a greater and higher cause – the planet.

Hopefully by employing these tricks you too can live like a fully functioning adult, all whilst saving money. Maybe even saving the world.