Essential Life Hacks for Surviving College Life
It’s no secret that college life can be tricky to navigate. Whether you’re a freshman still learning the ropes or an upperclassman well adjusted to the college lifestyle, there are several skills that every collegiette should check off her bucket list before she graduates and ventures out into the real world. To help you get started on this quest for practical knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of nine can’t-miss life skills that will make your day-to-day college experience a little less stressful.
1. Mastering the 20-minute nap
Between early-morning psych lectures, club soccer practice, all-night study sessions and sorority dinners, there are simply not enough hours in the day to fit in a full night’s rest. However, a quick 20-minute nap between classes is a great way to recharge and catch up on some much-needed zzz’s.
“Twenty minutes is the ideal length for a power nap,” says Dr. Michael Breus, a sleep expert. “It reduces the amount of sleep drive, so you wake up feeling refreshed.”
If you’re feeling extra sleep-deprived, Breus advises the 90-minute nap. “The ideal nap [beyond 20 minutes] is actually 90 minutes, because it is the length of a full sleep cycle,” he says. “Anything between 25-90 minutes will just leave you feeling more tired than when you started.”
Not only is there an ideal length for napping, but there is an ideal time of day to nap as well. “The best time [for napping] is at 1:00 in the afternoon,” Breus says. “Your body temperature drops, which releases melatonin and helps your brain fall asleep.”
2. Chugging water to avoid a hangover
While it may be tempting to come straight home and crash after a long night out, your Sunday-morning self will thank you if you rehydrate with a bottle of water before bed.
“When you’re dehydrated, your blood thickens, and this affects the supply of oxygen to the brain,” says Dr. Alexander Mauskop, founder and director of the New York Headache Center. “This can make you feel lightheaded, dizzy and even cause fainting.”
Needless to say, sipping water throughout the night and in between drinks is a great way to avoid dehydration, which is the cause of most headaches the morning after drinking.
3. Balancing a checkbook
Nothing says adulthood like managing your own money, right? While the majority of our generation will manage banking online, learning how to balance a checkbook is the best way to ensure you’re consciously keeping track of your spending and monitoring any deposits or withdrawals you make. Not to mention, if your credit or debit card is ever fraudulently used or double-charged, you’ll have tangible financial records to reference. Keeping a folder for receipts with your checkbook isn’t a bad idea, either.
4. Managing stress with tea
With final exam season coming up, it may not be a bad idea to stock up on hot tea, which boasts a surprising amount of health benefits.
“When I’m frustrated, sad or stressed out, I drink vanilla chamomile tea with honey,” says Ashley McDonald, a senior at Central Michigan University. “Chamomile tea helps you sleep better, boosts your immune system and just relaxes you in general. It definitely lowers my anxiety.
5. Making no-bake cake balls
Because dorm life doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to baking supplies and appliances, no-bake recipes are the easiest way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Follow these easy instructions to make a dozen chocolate-covered cake balls in your dorm!
One pack of Oreos
One container of cream cheese
Two large Hershey’s bars
Crush the Oreos in a resealable plastic bag.
Mix crushed Oreos in a bowl with the cream cheese.
Roll the crushed Oreo/cream cheese mixture into individual balls.
Place Oreo balls in the refrigerator for an hour.
Heat the Hershey’s bars in a microwave-safe bowl to the point where they are melted (but not burnt!).
Dip the refrigerated Oreo balls in the melted chocolate.
While they may not be true “cake” balls, they’re definitely the next best thing!