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5 Simple Life Hacks EVERY Student Should Know

Updated on May 25, 2014

5 There’s no sugar-coating it - Student life can be tough.

Between scrimping, saving, and churning out endless essays, you’ve probably stopped and wondered: Is there an easier way?

Well, there is.

So say ‘goodbye’ to study stress, and ‘hello’ to easy street, with these 5 simple life hacks EVERY student should know.


Life Hack #1 – Buying Textbooks:
The price of textbooks is so damn high; you’ve probably considered selling an organ just to cover the cost. But with this first handy life hack you can keep your prized left kidney, and save big money on your next textbook purchase.

The golden rule when buying textbooks is: Don’t. At least not until you’re 100% sure you’ll need it for your course. And even then, only suckers pay retail…

If you can’t hunt down a second-hand copy, there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for on - a textbook price comparison service that offers regular discounts of up to 90%.

Yes, that’s right, 90%.

That’s the difference of $20 at BigWords, and $200 at your local campus bookshop (even with the generous member’s discount).

Life Hack #2 – Stationery & Supplies:
Just like textbooks, the cost of stationery and supplies can add up over time. But with this next sneaky life hack, you’ll never have to pay for pens or pencils again.

As you probably already know, university orientation weeks are positively brimming with societies, on the prowl for new members. Besides an undying hope that you’ll join their club, they usually also have a ton of free promotional material - notepads, t-shirts, and, most enticingly, PENS.

So the next time ‘O-Week’ rolls around, stock up! With a little practice (and maybe a few unavoidable club subscriptions), you should have enough pens, pencils, highlighters and novelty key chains to carry you through the semester.

And if you see a Bic on the lecture room floor, pick that s**t up! I mean, let’s face it, neither you or I are really above that.

Life Hack #3 – Money:
Hopefully you’ll save some dosh with the textbook and stationery hacks above (or at least still have both your kidneys), but as a student you can never have enough money. Lucky for us, there are a couple of easy life hacks to make a quick buck, and they don’t involve getting a job (ewww).

The first is to proofread essays. If you’re gifted with good English and have some spare time, proofreading and editing other student’s essays can be a great money-maker. Time-poor and ESL students often need help with their assignments, and many are more than willing pay $20-50 just to have their work polished.

The second is to sell your notes. Plenty of students don’t bother with unimportant stuff like studying, but come exam time they’re on the scrounge for quality course notes. And at $10-20 a pop, why not sell them yours?

Neither of these tricks will make you a millionaire, but spread the word of your service at lectures and tutorials, and fat stacks could be yours.

Life Hack #4 – Writing a Research Paper:
Writing a research piece just. plain. sucks. But there’s a helpful hack you may not know that will undoubtedly save you time and energy on that next big project...

I’ll keep it simple: Go to Wikipedia, run a search on your assignment topic, and open the most relevant result. Then, scroll to the end of the page.

See those references? Kidnap them.

Stash them in a Word document, and BOOM - your research is done. You now have a list of promising sources to trawl through, with almost zero effort used in finding them.

(You’re welcome).

Life Hack # 5 – Reference Lists:
If there’s one thing worse than writing a research paper, it’s recording and formatting the reference list. Before learning this final life hack, I’d rather set my hair on fire than sit down and bust out a bibliography. But it’s no longer an issue, thanks to

Zotero, pronounced ‘zoh-tair-oh’ (like you give a crap), is a reference management software that makes creating your reference list dead easy. Once set up, it can automatically load references from databases and library catalogues. It can organize and file your sources. And it can format in-text citations and footnotes. It can basically do anything, short of make waffles.

And yes, you cheapskate, it’s completely FREE.

Well, that’s all, folks! Hope you enjoyed!

And if you have any life hacks of your own, be sure to share them in the comment section below!


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