30 life hacks I've learned in my time at Dal

These may not be applicable to everyone, but take it from me: there's some wisdom in here that you won't learn in class.

Package of Mr Noodles falling into a shopping cart Photo: Marike Pinsonneault
  1. Buying groceries legitimately sucks and you’ll probably end up eating the same three things on rotation for months on end if you’re cooking for yourself. Make sure those three things are packed full of protein.

  2. Do your dishes after every meal because once they pile up you won’t want to do them. Buying new dishes because yours are too mouldy to salvage is a humbling experience that you shouldn’t go through.

  3. Don’t throw out your dried-out make-up wipes—they’re expensive and will work like new if you run them under the tap.

  4. Splurge on a new mascara every six months—and never share it or you will be splurging on antibiotics.

  5. Three classes a semester at Dalhousie is considered full-time and, no, it doesn’t make you weak if that’s all you can handle (not even if all you can handle is one).

  6. Take the first week to learn the city inside and out—learn the bus routes, walking paths, downtown, campus buildings, and safe spots. Pro tip: check out your local libraries, parks, and all the free fun you can have.

  7. Talk to your professors a lot and send them emails because they’re there to help. In my second semester I faced tragedy but talking to and working with my profs is the reason I stayed on the Dean’s list.

  8. Use the fitness facilities. The basketball and volleyball teams aren’t scary, they’re just tall.

  9. Fall in love. Do it over, and over, and over again. Fall in love so many times that the world looks a touch more pink than it did when you were unpacking your room.

  10. Go to a varsity or club sports game (I recommend rugby or lacrosse—there’s great action on the field).

  11. Join clubs—you will get free pizza (and friends, which is arguably more important but free food is free food).

  12. Don’t accept drinks downtown, at parties, or anywhere. Seek help the moment you feel anything unusual.

  13. Get drug tested as soon as you suspect you’ve had a tampered drink. Get tested for other things too—yeah, I’m talking about STIs.

  14. Three things to keep in your backpack: a water bottle, a sweater, and Tylenol. (Bonus, for uterus havers: a tampon or five.)

  15. If you feel sick, go to the doctor—do not just “vibe it out” because if we’ve learned anything over the past two years it’s that you just never know.

  16. People drive differently in Nova Scotia and sometimes that means they’re unusually patient while you cross the street and other times it means that your bus sideswipes a car and keeps going. Just go with it.

  17. Get an Aeroplan card, an Optimum Points card, and a student discount card (basically, get any discounts you can).

  18. Leave your house at least once a day, even if it’s for five minutes in the sunshine on the sidewalk (30 minutes in the sun is recommended for vitamin absorption but I don’t judge—you will feel better, though).

  19. Make your bed every morning—you deserve to have a nice space even if the rest is a mess.

  20. Dating apps suck—I’m not saying don’t use them but, if you do, let it be with a grain of salt.

  21. Your essays will be easier to write if you write a paragraph a day—2,000 words is not a lot when it’s in chunks of 400–500 words.

  22. University is done at your pace and no one else's, whether that be four years, eight years, or until you’re 80.

  23. A lot of places off campus offer student discounts but they don’t always tell you—plan ahead and look up where you’re going so you can be prepared.

  24. Drunk people will almost never notice you throwing your drink over your shoulder or feeding it to a houseplant—know your limits and don’t feel bad about keeping them.

  25. Speaking of which, you don’t have to feel bad about staying in—when your body tells you to slow down you either listen or your body forces you to by shutting down.

  26. If you’re in a safe position to do so, call your family as much as you can—it’s easy to get caught up and lose track of your relationships but I guarantee you they miss you.

  27. Be bold when looking for a job—if there’s somewhere you want to work then reach out to them even if they aren’t hiring because initiative goes a long way, and you might just be surprised.

  28. You won’t know how much $20 really is until it’s the last $20 in your bank account—try to avoid this realization as much as possible.

  29. This goes for all the academic buildings—the library is packed 24/7 but that one random table in the Chemistry building never is.

  30. Take breaks, reward yourself, don’t miss out on life—I don’t believe that we only have one, but I still think it’s important to enjoy the one you’re living right now.