10 Things Every College Student Needs To Know

Starting semester one of college and have absolutely no idea where to begin? These are some of the tips and tricks I’ve managed to pick up after a couple years of studying.  So do not fear for I have your back covered with 10 Things Every College Student Needs To Know.


Lover of Coffee/Tea?

As someone who cannot deal with 8 am lectures on a Monday morning (true story) and people who feel its necessary to have a full blown conversation; I need coffee stat.  Because I am a student who travels to college, I’ve discovered how important it is to have a travel mug. These bad boys are the essence to me administering medications at 8 o’clock in the morning and not killing a patient. Travel mugs are not only environmentally friendly but some barista’s are more than happy to use your own mug, if you ask.

Study + Eyeball strain = Headache.

Been studying for a while and as a result, got a pounding headache? I have the answer for you and that is travel sized medications.  These delightful darlings are not only space saving in handbags but when empty, they can be used to store Vitamin C tablets for winter (who wants a cold?) and other useful things.

Textbooks: Do I buy second hand or spend big bucks?

Buying textbooks is not only difficult but can also be expensive. Here is some helpful information when it comes to buying new or second hand textbooks:

  1. New Textbooks: go through all of your subjects and write down the textbooks that are repeated throughout.  These are the ones I recommend buying because they will be useful for assignments, are used for multiple classes (instead of one) and will save you money in the long run.
  2. Second Hand Textbooks: They can save you money however the downside to buying second hand is the previous owner could have highlighted information, written notes in the margin and the information is different to the current edition with page numbers*. On the positive, these textbooks contain all of the information you’ll require as it’s already highlighted.

If you’re interested in buying second hand textbooks, I suggest checking out these options:

  • Facebooktype in your college name, go to pages and see what pops up.
  • Campus: there are flyers on boards that are listing books being sold.
  • The textbook shop on campus may sell second hand textbooks, just ask.

*If you are studying Law, you’ll need to buy Codes and Legislation textbooks yearly as Law is constantly changing.

I have a large textbook, should I bring it to campus?

If you have a large textbook, work on the context of: if your tutor doesn’t ask you to bring it to your tutorials, keep the bad boy at home. As a nursing student whose smallest textbook is 400 pages; if I need information stat, I head over to my local library located on campus and photocopy the pages. It’s simple, quick and less painful on the shoulders and back.

The IT Desk Gods and their magical hands.

There will come a time after changing your password, you’ll lock yourself out of the computer system.  This is when the IT Desk Gods come in handy and will unlock anything within reason. They will help with all things technology based and also can help with linking your Apple computer to the internet and to college printers*. Just make sure you have money on your account for printing and scanning.  I suggest putting 20 dollars onto your printing account to begin with and if you don’t use it, it will roll over to the next semester.

* If your college printers are able to be connected to Apple products.

Make Up.

After a night of late editing for an assignment/group presentation, you will discover a vampire with dark circles staring at you in the mirror. My go-to products to brighten your face and stop you from looking like you haven’t slept in 72 hours are: eye drops*, foundation, setting powder, concealer, white eyeliner and mascara. For me personally, if I still look like I’m a walking and talking vampire than I shall wear red lipstick as it detracts from my pale skin and sleeplessness.

*eyedrops helps with grittiness and makes your eyes brighter, whiter and clearer.


With three assignments, one mid-semester exam and a 45 minute presentation due by Friday and it was Wednesday; my first year of college was spent living on adrenaline and little to no sleep. Due to increased stress and anxiety levels, I realised I needed to organise my life better so I didn’t find myself writing a 2500 word essay the night before it was due. The key tips to being organised for a college student or anyone else are:

  • Find an agenda/diary that helps with your needs and wants.
  • Write everything down such as assignments, exams, holidays and student fees dates.
  • Write a To Do list daily and start off the list by writing something you’ve already completed.
I failed an assignment & my life is coming to an end!

First of all, you need to ask yourself: Am I going to send an abusive letter to the tutor, demanding they remove their head from their backside (refer to email etiquette) or reread the assignment with the comments? At the end of the day, you’ve failed an assignment however it doesn’t mean your life is coming to an end.  This is a result of a challenge being presented to you and don’t let this challenge discourage you from your goal. This leads me to rule number 9.

You will fail an assignment/exam, it’s okay to make mistakes.

It is within our DNA that humans shall and will continue to make mistake. These mistakes have been experienced by those who’ve worn similar shoes to yours as they are taught important lessons. If you aren’t sure what pathways to go down about the results, you can contact your tutor or the coordinator for the subject (refer to email etiquette) or you can ask someone who has studied the same subject. Just think if you have to redo the subject again, you have an upper hand against those who haven’t studied it before.

Email etiquette.

For the love of Miley Cyrus, think about what you are going to write in an email.  Particularly when said email is being sent to your tutor/professor or the course co-ordinator. Every tutor/professor and lecturer I’ve come across have mentioned their expectations towards emails and correspondence. Here are some simple tricks of the trade:

  • For the subject: always write the day, time and room number for your tutorial.
  • Address the email to the person you’re sending it to.
  • At the start of the first sentence, identify your name, campus and student number (makes life easier if your campus is spread over three different sites/cities).
  • KISS or in other words: Keep It Simple Sweetheart.
  • Conclude the email with: sincerely or yours faithfully and your name/student number.

An example is:

Dear Professor Mad-Eye,

My name is Scarlett O’Chunky (Hogwarts, 893629573) and this email is in regards to The Dark Arts.  I shall be playing for the Quidditch cup and shall be absent for this week’s exam and have included necessary papers to confirm this.


Hopefully these 10 Things Every College Student Needs To Know will help with your transition and first week of college. Come back throughout March to find what else is installed for Back To School: College Edition.

Until next time,

Cheers xo

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