University life is hard on everyone. While having all of the freedom that comes with being away from home and making important decisions for yourself, it can also come with a lot of stress. Aside from the pressure that comes with grades, work, and extracurriculars, the little things can be a lot to handle as well. You shouldn’t have to worry about food lines while studying for your exam or losing your I.D. when you have five projects to work on. So I’ve put together some hacks that will help every Grand Valley student along the way and make life a little easier for us Lakers! Here are the best hacks at Grand Valley State University.
1. Get a study buddy for each class
Finding someone early on (within the first few weeks) is a huge advantage in any class. This helps a lot, especially when the homework piles up and group projects are assigned. This way you won’t have to awkwardly turn to the person next to you and ask if they want to work together with you. You get someone to study with you for every exam and do those painful partner projects minus the awkwardness!
2. Use Manitou or Henry Hall instead of the library to print
Most computer labs that allow you to print around campus close around 8 or 9 PM. However, at some point everyone has that last minute assignment they need to turn in and remember it way past the time many computer labs are open. Manitou is open until 10 PM and Henry Hall until 12 AM! Plus, these labs are usually much less busy and more reliable than the finicky printers in the library. You can print in peace into the late hours of the night!
3. Get a reusable water bottle
Being that Grand Valley is a very green campus, walking around with plastic water bottles is not considered the most environmentally friendly choice. Plus, with so many fancy water fountains for water bottles, they make it so easy to carry a reusable one around!
4. Join a club!
I know, I know. Generic, right? But the reasons I’m telling you to join one aren’t. First of all, it instantly expands not only your friend group but also helps you network. When looking for different jobs around campus, you would be surprised about how much who you know counts. Also, can we talk about what great resume builders they are? Especially if you get a higher position in the club such as President or VP, it can really give you an edge by helping you stand out from the thousands of other students!
5. Invest in a card holder/lanyard
The key to not losing every card GV gives you is all in where you keep them. Carrying around your wallet all the time is a hassle, and letting them fall where they may in your backpack is a surefire way to lose them. The best solution would be to either buy a lanyard or clear card holder from the Laker Store! They’re cheap and will ensure you never have to worry about paying the hefty fees for a replacement!
6. Cut through buildings in the wintertime
Since the winters here are bitterly cold, walking to class becomes less of a nice stroll and more of a venture into the Arctic. To lessen the pain of icy snow being blown into your face, try and cut through buildings for relief from the cold! For example, if you’re going to The Connection, cut through Kirkhof! It’ll save you time and frozen fingers!
7. Go to the gym in the early morning/afternoon when everyone else is in class
Being a university gym, it’s almost always bound to be at least a little busy. This is especially aggravating when you have to wait for the machines you want to use. The best times to go? Either early in the morning around 9 or 10, or in the afternoon. Most students will be in class, leaving you with plenty of open machines to choose from!
8. Know the bus schedule really well, especially their limited schedule on the weekends
The buses can be very confusing for anyone, which is understandable because their schedule is somewhat wacky. Between deciding whether or not you need to take Eastbound or Westbound, or the 37 or 48, the buses can become very intimidating. So take some time to get to know the routes! Also, make sure you remember that they run on a very limited schedule on the weekends, about every 50 minutes. This is something you won’t want to forget so you don’t get stuck in downtown GR for much longer than you expected.
9. Take advantage of free food around campus
Almost every event around campus offers free food as an incentive for students to attend. Use this to your advantage! It can save you meals so you have extra to use at the C-Store or late night, and the food is typically catered, so it’s always good! There is almost always free pizza somewhere and free meals served at cultural festivals on campus! Eat up!!
10. Take part in the paid psychology experiments on campus- it’s easy, quick money!
A lot of psychology professors as well as students will conduct experiments as part of their research, and often ask students to participate in them. And sometimes there’s even cash involved! For about an hour of your time, they will pay $10-$20 to any student willing to participate. It’s easy, quick cash without doing much work!
11. Have a TV in your dorm room
This doesn’t really seem like a hack, but I promise you won’t regret bringing it! Cable is free on campus, and you won’t have to miss your favorite show. Also, having a TV brings tons of friends to your room since most people don’t bring one! It’s a great way to meet new people and an excuse to invite them in!
12. Find a quiet study space somewhere on campus that won’t be busy
Most students’ first instinct is to rush right to the library to cram a study session in, but in reality there are plenty better, more quiet places that you won’t have to fight for a spot in! Yes, the Mary Idema Pew library is amazing and gigantic, plus an all-around good place to study in, but better places exist on campus. For example, Fuel before open hours or after closing is empty and quiet, as well as the study rooms in Kindschi! There are plenty of perfect study spots around campus if you look!
13. Feeling bored on a Friday night? Go to Kirkhof for movies, video games, pool, and other activities!
If Friday night rolls around and you still don’t have any plans, take some friends with you to the Kirkhof center! There’s a movie theater with recent releases playing with comfy chairs, pool tables, video game consoles with games rented out for free, and usually some programs happening! It is the perfect way to spend a fun night on campus for completely free!
14. Get to the sports events early for free GVSU merchandise
Finding that your wardrobe is lacking in Laker apparel? Go to the sports events early to get free merchandise! At almost every football and basketball game, there are either free tee shirts, socks, or hats being handed out. Take advantage of it by getting to the games early to stock up on some Grand Valley gear without hurting your wallet!
15. Bring/rent a bike, skateboard, or longboard
Even though Grand Valley is smaller than most campuses, even for being such a big school, walking to class can be a hassle. So rent a bike! The bike shop on campus in Laker Village rents them out to students and repairs them for you too. Or bring your own longboard. This way, you won’t have to speed walk to class and instead leave a little later for it!
16. Don’t let extra meals go to waste! Get them ahead and store them in your fridge for later
If you find yourself with some extra meals laying around for the week after too much dining out at Main Street Grill, you can still use them! Go to Kleiner or any of the on campus places to get meals ahead then store them in your room! Trust me, having a meal or two in your fridge extra is so convenient, especially when you’re too lazy to actually go out and get one!
17. Do your laundry in the middle of the day to avoid waiting for an empty washer
Everyone knows the struggle of suddenly having no clean clothes to wear and all the washers being used by other people. To avoid this, try going at a time when most people aren’t using the washers! The middle of a weekday is usually your best bet, considering most people will be in class. Also, the early morning works since no one is awake! It might sound like a bit of a hassle, but it’s worth the clean clothes.
18. Bring a coffee maker in your room to save money and buy a reusable coffee mug
Ok, kind of obvious, but it really will save you a lot time and money! Avoid the long lines at Starbucks on campus and high prices by just making your own. But if you’re really not into brewing your own cup every morning, do yourself a favor and buy a reusable travel coffee mug! The refills around campus when you have your own mug are usually only $1, and almost all C-stores offer that, just like Einsteins and Argo Tea!
19. Use the Tapingo app to avoid lines in your favorite restaurants on campus!
This is a slightly newer thing on campus, but it’s also an amazing app to have! Most dining places here tend to have long lines, especially the brands such as Starbucks, Einsteins, Papa John’s, and Qdoba. The way to avoid the wait? Tapingo! Just place your order through this app that links to your Laker I.D. debit dollars/meals, or a debit card. It even sends you a text when your food is ready. Can it really get that much easier
20. Have a car on campus or a friend with a car
While the bus system is super convenient and takes you to pretty much everywhere you would need to go, sometimes the idea of taking the bus just makes you groan. This is when having a car available to you comes in handy! Either bring your own or find a friend that has one, and you’re all set! Take it to the nearby Rivertown Mall or one of the beach towns without having to worry about having to worry about bus schedules.