16 Modern Life Hacks for Students

by Celia Pallister

Lock screen

Keeping up with life’s demands can be challenging for everyone - especially students. Are you looking for new ways to simplify and organize your life and make mundane tasks - at home and at school - easier to tackle? Then you have come to the right place. Check out these useful hacks that will help make life as a student more bearable. 


Hang more with Less

Is your dorm room (and closet) the size of a shoebox? Instead of buying a double hanger to get more clothes storage, use a soda or beer can tab to connect two standard hangers. This will double your closet space and save you money, while upcycling at the same time. 

 beer can hanger


Pain-free Picture Hanging

For the less DIY-inclined here’s a simple trick for hammering nails:  Hold a nail with a clothes peg. This will keep your fingers intact when it comes to hammering the nail in - which is great as you need your fingers for writing, typing, and just about everything else.


Markless Poster Tape

Put up posters with washi tape.  In student accommodation, it’s very easy to lose your deposit if you use things like Blu-Tack or Sellotape to stick your posters to the wall. Washi tape leaves zero residue, and comes in a whole load of fun colours so you can frame your photos in style. 

washi tape posters 

The Wooden Spoon Trick

If Pasta and sauce are the common staple of your diet (as it was when I was a student) try this tip when cooking. Put a wooden spoon across a boiling pot of water.  If it starts to boil up too high, the spoon will pop the bubbles and keep it from boiling over as quickly, meaning you have more time to get back and turn the heat down. No more pasta explosions all over the stove top!


Tortilla Plates

Hate washing dishes and don’t want to use disposable plates? Use tortilla wraps as plates and eat them afterwards (or put in compost). Bake for 10 mins at 350 degrees if you want them crispy and have more time to kill. 


Cling wrap Fridge Liner

It’s really common for students to avoid cleaning the communal fridge in a shared home (I remember it well). So save time (and friendships) by covering the shelves in a few sheets of cling wrap. When things get a bit sticky, just whip it all off and put some fresh bits down again – you’ll never have to scrub again!  For an eco-friendly alternative, use plastic place mats. Just wash and reuse again...you just have to figure out who does the washing, but it won’t be nearly as bad as cleaning the fridge.  


Paperclip Organizer
Are the power cords to your phones, laptops, tablets, wireless headphones and other wearable devices constantly getting tangled up?  It can be really annoying having to unwind your cords before you sit down to do work. Paperclips are cheap and really easy to get hold of (you should totally have some anyway to keep all those assignments in order!) so hook up all your cables and live a tangle-free life.

paper clip cord hack

Smartphone in a Glass Trick

You'll never sleep through your alarm and miss a lecture again. If you're a heavy sleeper and have trouble waking up in the morning to your phone's alarm, a Redditor discovered you can boost its volume by sticking it in a drinking glass. This works because the sound will reverberate inside the glass. It may not be the world's most pleasant amplification technique, but it works great for an alarm. On top of that, to turn the alarm off you have to actually pull the phone out of the drinking glass. This makes it a bit tougher and makes it just a little more likely that you'll have to get out of bed. Plus your roommates will hound you forever to get out of bed if you don’t turn it off. 


Lock Screen Reminder

Always forgetting where you’re meant to be and when? Life can be a little overwhelming like that at times.  A simple trick: Take a snapshot of your timetable with your phone, and then save it as the wallpaper on your lock screen. That way, you’ll have to look at your schedule every time you use your phone, so it’ll always be at the front of your mind - you’ll love it and hate it at the same time, but at least you’ll know where you need to be.  


Turn on the Lights

Light helps your brain focus, affects visual clarity, psychological factors and the wrong types of lighting can contribute to off task behavior.  The best type of lighting for maximum productivity (which you obviously want for studying) is soft and natural, though still as bright as possible so you can see clearly.  If your lighting is too dim, it will affect focus and visual clarity. Lighting that is too bright (like fluorescent lighting, for example) can contribute to getting off task.


Streamline your study Time

Forget the gummy incentive scheme!  You know you will eat them all at once (like I would).


Try this instead:  ‘Pomodoro Technique’, named after the tomato shaped kitchen timer, this helpful method is specially-designed to help you stay on task. Schedule your work into four, distraction-free 25 minute blocks interspersed with 5-10 breaks, and see your productivity shine!

Change up your Workspace for Added Inspiration

If you work and study in the same place day in, day out, your productivity, as well as your creativity can take a dive. If you’re a bedroom mouse who doesn’t study anywhere other than your own desk, try having a study session in the library and see how that works out. If you love to work in the library, take your laptop to the coffee shop and see how things work there. A change of scenery might give your motivation a kick and make it much easier to focus - just remember to take some headphones so you can block out any unnecessary distractions.


Embrace the Music

Listening to natural, earthy sounds or chilled out classical music isn’t just a good way to send you off to sleep – it has actually been shown to help us focus and boost our productivity, as well as our overall mood.  


If the sweet sound of birdsong, ocean waves or even classical music really don’t do it for you, try listening to your favourite album while you work – it will make you feel chipper and help you get more done. If you have a subscription, Spotify has some great playlists for studying in particular, or you can make your own.  


Handwrite your first Draft

Handwriting is never going to be a thing of the past. It is a very useful tool to have. Writing things by hand is like a ‘train of thought’; you might come up with new ideas and concepts as you write and can scribble them in after. You can’t really do this the same on a laptop. Don’t be afraid to get messy – cross things out, draw diagrams and note down any afterthoughts. Writing by hand is a really great way to pull information to the forefront of your mind, and once it’s down, all you have to do is type it up later. You could even kill two birds with one stone and edit as you type.


Pick the Right Font

When you are typing up your notes for class, make sure you use size 12 Times New Roman font, as it’s been proven to be the fastest to read. This will save you precious time when you’re studying for your next exam.  Just remember not to use this font on resumes as apparently it is the no-no of all fonts to use.

So there you have it.  As you can see, these simple student hacks will help make daily tasks easier to tackle - saving you time and energy.  Most importantly, you will have extra time to focus on the fun things that you prefer to do. What’s not to like about that!

Do you have any student hacks that work for you?  Add comments. 

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