After spending 5 years at Algonquin College, you can bet I came to know the ins and outs of the school. 5 years is a long time, and every year you find out something that will save you your sanity or a shit ton of money.
No matter what program you're in, all of these life hacks will help you out. You can choose to use them, or just keep them in the back of your head at all times. Whether you're there for a year or 7, hopefully these life hacks will help you stay on track with money, your mental health and your future!
1. You can get Blackboard and Canvas apps for your phone.
This is a game changer. If you're waiting for a grade, you can get notifications for it on your phone. You can also quickly check when assignments are due, if your class has been cancelled, and all that other fun information!
2. If you feel like you didn't get enough from your course after you've graduated, you can take separate classes on what you want to learn about.
It happens. Sometimes, you think a course will be more than it actually is. But you've paid for the course and you like it, but just want to learn more. This is where online classes come in. If you're super into marketing but feel you don't learn enough about social media, you can take a separate social media course. You pay by course, so it ends up being amounting to as much as a regular college class. It's so helpful to know about this considering so many people still don't know what to do after they're done school.
3. Create a private Facebook group for your course. It helps SO much.
This is what dreams are made of. I mean, not really, but kind of. Someone usually initiates it, however starting a private Facebook group where you can all talk about what you learned, when something is due, or if you just have a question about anything in general. You'll become like a family with your class, so this place can also be where you share gossip and memes about your profs. Believe me, it happens.
4. If you've already gone to school at university or college, see if you can drop certain classes.
This honestly helps so much. If you've gone to university or college before, chances are you've taken a communications class. I know it's mandatory for people in first year at Algonquin College to take communications, but let's say you took a course and didn't like it and decided to take another course, you can go to the registrar's office and get exempt from the class. It takes a lot off your plate, and you can listen to everyone complain about the work without having to do it. Score!
5. Link your school email to your phone. Do it!
This is so important. Yes, having Blackboard and Canvas on your phone is great but having your school email on your phone is even better. This is the best way to know when a class is cancelled, and we all love finding out before we've even gotten out of bed. If you're one of those people who has a long commute, this is a must.
6. Download the Starbucks app.
If you go to Algonquin, I know you're a Starbucks addict. Having the Starbucks app will 1) not only get you a free drink after spending a certain amount of money but 2) if you forget a lunch and your wallet, you can rely on the money on your Starbucks app to save your life. Honestly, it probably has saved a life before.
7. Go to the Print Shop way earlier than you actually need to.
You never know when you'll come around the corner and see the Print Shop line across Student Commons. It's happened to the best of us. If you have a project due, your best bet is to go to the Print Shop a few hours before since you never really know how busy it will be.
8. Sell your books in a Facebook group.
There is a Facebook group called Algonquin College Students where you can sell your books or even ask others if they have the book you need. This group also helps if you're looking to move near Algonquin and need a place to stay. It's super convenient for selling things, asking typical questions that you need answers to or just advice!
9. Take full advantage of Summerhays Grills breakfast special.
If you find yourself running around like crazy in the morning and can't eat breakfast, make sure you stop by Summerhays Grill. They have a breakfast special for $2.99 that consists of homefries, two eggs, bacon and toast.
10. And also take advantage of all of these other amazing student discounts.
When it comes to being a student, you know you're all about those deals. So it's super important to take advantage of them if you want to save your money and still live life normally. You don't have to be broke as f*ck just because you're a student!
11. Book a study room for yourself, or for group projects.
This helps a ton if you get distracted easily. A lot of the time it's hard to find a place on campus to sit and be able to talk for hours with your group, so this is perfect. There are whiteboards in the room that you can use, and you can't hear any outside noise so you'll be distraction free. In order to book a room, you need to go to Students Association in Student Commons and you also need your student ID card.
12. If you can, bus to school. Since it's included in your tuition, you'll save gas money.
I know driving to school is way better than busing, and believe me if I had a car back then I would have driven. However, since your bus pass is included in your tuition it just makes more sense to bus to school. But that is only if it's convenient for you considering a lot of people live far and it's easier to bus. You'll save money in the long run and you won't have to circle around the parking lot 16 times in order to find a spot.
13. Book a massage from those learning how to give them.
Massage therapy students let you pay $35 to get a massage from Monday to Friday. If you feel like you're stressed out but don't want to break the bank on a massage, this is the perfect place to do so. You'll support other students and will be able to zone the f*ck out.
14. Ask your prof to get in touch with someone who has graduated from the program to give you advice.
This is great if you're unsure what to do with your program. You can ask your profs for advice of course, however, someone who has recently graduated will know more about job searching/how to find what you love in the program. In my program, the professors were wonderful at helping and were always bringing in past students to talk to us, however, one on one time and connecting personally with someone is even better. Someone else's passion can definitely spark yours!
15. Parking after 5 o'clock is free.
If you have a night class, you can park anywhere in the parking lot for free after 5 pm. During the dreaded winter days, this is the best information ever. You'll be able to park as close to Student Commons as possible, and feel rich for a couple of hours without getting a brutal ticket.
16. You do not need all the books your profs say you will.
BELIEVE ME. I hardly spent any money on textbooks and am so glad I didn't. Most of the time, you can just buy one amongst your friends and share it and do the homework together, that's a life hack right there. Unless they say it's absolutely mandatory, you'll end up spending 400 bucks on books that just collect dust in your room. This especially goes for anyone in any type of design class!
17. Save money by not buying a locker.
Realistically, unless you plan to live at school, you won't use it. It's a great place to hang up your jacket, but realistically so is the back of your chair. You'll do just fine without a locker–since in between a lot of classes you don't have time to go back and fourth to it. The only reason I would've bought a locker was to store snacks in there but that was not even a good enough reason!
18. Get an internship even before your 6 week placement.
This will help prepare you for the real world even more! Balancing school and an internship will show so much determination for future employees, and you'll be able to say you balanced a high stress semester with a challenging internship. There is no rule saying you can't do multiple internships while in school, just as long as your grades keep up you're golden!
19. Cancel your gym membership and use Fitness Zone.
For 4 months, it's only $130 and let's be real, you spend way more time at school than you do anywhere else. Why not get working out out of the way? Working out after or before class will give you the energy to last throughout the rest of the day, and you'll be in a clear headspace to take on whatever life throws at you. You can either do 4 months for $130 or 12 months for $300 which is an amazing deal. They also have yoga classes, so if you're feeling super stressed it's a great place to clear your head!
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