Not everything about college is glamorous. The fall semester is months away and there are a few things all of you incoming and current Longhorns should know.
Story by Jacqueline Briddell
Illustrations by Jac Alford
A lot is bound to happen during your first year, like spending too much money, eating too much ramen, and getting lazier as time passes. Most of these examples are almost inevitable as part of college culture.
While we can’t help with the majority of your college problems, ORANGE can make your life at the University of Texas at Austin just a little bit easier. Here are 10 tips to live with less stress on the Forty Acres.
Take Efficient Digital Notes
UT offers its students free downloads of Microsoft Office programs, including Word and OneNote. While there are many advantages to taking old school pen-on-paper notes, for some classes it may be a good idea to take notes on your electronic devices. Not only do you save both time and paper, but your digital notes will probably be a lot more organized than your notebooks.
Typing is faster than handwritten notes so you no longer have to worry about professors skipping through lecture slides too fast and you can also highlight and color coordinate important words as you are writing them. Microsoft Word is a more traditional route for taking notes and writing essays, but OneNote is on the rise in the world of efficient note taking.
Link Your Email Accounts
Once you enroll as a student at the University of Texas, you will have access to a UT email account. This email will end in -@utexas.edu and you can use it as your new primary account to correspond with professors, employers, other students and faculty members. However, you will probably still have another email account that you previously used and still receive important emails from. Instead of checking two separate emails every morning, link your accounts and start receiving forwarded emails from your first email to your second email.
For Gmail, this can be done under the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab in settings. Insert your second email address under “Forward a copy of incoming mail to: [your primary email]” and your inbox will automatically display all your emails in one place.
Take Advantage of Amazon Prime
Amazon offers college students with an accredited university email account a six-month free trial of Amazon Prime, an exclusive subscription that allows its members access to free shipping, unlimited movie streaming of select TV shows and films, and other book lending benefits.
Take advantage of your six-month free Prime membership and get free one or two-day shipping to the Amazon pickup location in Gregory Gym, or to your home. After the half-year mark, students get a discounted $49 subscription, and if you and a group of your friends all pitch in, you could share one account and continue to enjoy free one or two-day shipping.
Avoid Rush Hour at the Gym
Just like for most other things in life, Google is your best friend. The search engine can help you figure out the best hours to work out on campus. If you type “Gregory Gym hours” into the search bar, the search engine will not only provide you with a drop down bar that includes the gym’s hours of operation, but will also display common popular times and a live feed of how busy the gym is at the moment. Avoid busy hours and never wait on a cardio machine again.
Stay Updated with Social Media
Use your social media presence to stay informed about situations on campus. Want to figure out why there’s a crowd of people gathered in front of the Tower? Check your twitter. Search “UT” and “UT Austin” or if you follow enough UT affiliates, scroll down your timeline and I can guarantee you someone is already talking about it.
Check Out the Sale Section
If you’re planning on buying tons of t-shirts for your family members, save money by shopping in the sale section on the top floor of the Co-op. They have hundreds of marked down shirts and other UT stuff that can easily be turned into gifts. There’s no need to break the bank to get the whole family Longhorn merchandise.
Look for Free Stuff Everywhere
It’s no secret that college is expensive. However, there is a small amount of money-saving you can do just with free stuff alone. Especially during the first few weeks of school, people will be handing out free items and promo codes for just about anything, left and right. This includes ride-sharing services, food delivery, restaurants, ice cream shops and much more. Keep an eye out for any free promotions and take advantage of this. Everything free will become your new way of living.
Also, keep an eye out for student discounts online and in person. Always ask. You’d be surprised how many businesses offer up to 20 percent off for college students. ORANGE wrote an entire article listing some deals and discounts you get as a college student. Check it out here.
Use SURE Walk
Whether you live on or off campus, you should never walk home alone late at night. If you’re up late studying at the library, or just need to get home from campus, contact SURE Walk to have a companion walk or drive you back to your dorm, apartment or house late at night. Even though the university has done a decent job at providing good lighting on main campus, you should never put yourself at risk. If it’s late, dark and especially if you’re by yourself, request a SURE Walk.
Get the Most Out of Your Tuition
Believe it or not, your tuition money goes toward more than just your classes. You pay for a long list of other campus services regardless of whether you use them or not. These include the gym, many “free” activities or events on campus, career and tutoring services, the writing center, funding for various student campus organizations and more. Take advantage of these opportunities. Visit the Career Services office to have a professional polish your resume and cover letters, go to the Writing Center for essay help and proofreading and go to as any free campus events as possible.
Also, do yourself and your wallet a favor and apply for as many UT scholarships as you can. There are hundreds of college and major-specific, and university-wide scholarships available to eligible students. The amount of money laying around, waiting to be given out to students is almost endless and most of the time, the applications consist of filling in general and academic information and writing one or two essays.
Attend Career and Internship Fairs
Nobody is going to want to hire you during your first semester of college. That’s almost a guarantee. However, it’s definitely never too early to start networking. Dress up, bring an updated resume, and talk to representatives from the companies you are interested in interning or working for. Ask about what they are looking for in future applicants, have them take a look at your resume and give you pointers and grab their business cards. You never know where you might need their contact information later down the line.
As much as we all like to pretend like we’ve got it all figured out, most of us don’t. And neither will you, but don’t worry. That’s perfectly normal.
Congratulations, Class of 2021 and welcome to the Longhorn family.