Navigating college life can be tough, you gotta look for resources and balance different aspects of your life, but fear not! Here are some life hacks/tips and some really useful apps/webs that are going to make your college life a lot easier and fun!
1. Tapingo – few taps away from your food/drink order
You can order for pick up/delivery from many GMU food places (Starbucks, Panera…etc) on Tapingo. It’s super convenient! Imagine this: You get out of a super draining 3-hour class in the afternoon, order your favorite Starbucks drink on Tapingo, walk down to JC Starbucks, and by the time you arrive there, your order is already ready for pick up and you can immediately enjoy your delicious drink!
Another great thing about it: After you order with the app, you’re able to track it, from the order being prepared to having it ready for pick up!
2. “What’s Open” Web
Snowing outside? On Thanksgiving/Spring break? Don’t know what’s open on campus? Go to GMU’s What’s Open web! You can see what’s open at the moment and the opening hours of different stores all in one place! A lifesaver when the dining halls are all close!
3. Laundry room app/web
Ever head to the laundry room with loads of dirty clothes only to find zero available washers/dryers? SAME. It’s the worse situation you can be in when you planned this 2-hour laundry session in your busy schedule or when you are out of clean clothes. The Wash Alert web/app will make your life so much easier! Go to https://housing.gmu.edu/laundry and click on your designated laundry room. It’ll bring you to the Wash alert web showing all the available machines and the remaining time before the washing/drying cycle ends for each machine.
4. When is the shuttle coming…..
Want to know when the next shuttle is coming? Go check on the Ride System shuttle app! It shows you what shuttles are running that day and their schedule. The timing might not be 100% accurate but it’s still very helpful in giving you a general idea!
5. Looking for events/clubs on campus? Go to Get Connected
It’s very easy to miss clubs and events that interest you when you just rely on promotions and word of mouth. Go on Get Connected, and you won’t miss a thing! Get Connected provides a list of organizations on campus as well as events going on in the near future!
6. Looking to sell/buy a textbook? Want to find a roommate? An apartment? Want to know if a professor is any good?
There are numerous Facebook groups/pages out there for GMU students to buy and sell textbooks, furniture, look for roommates, find out which course is worth taking, look for people who wanna start a club with you….all that jazz. Make sure to check those out (Never go straight to Barnes and noble for textbooks, more on textbooks later) and even ask your questions there if you have any concerns!
7. GMU Map app
Don’t wanna use google map or hold a physical copy of a huge map in your hands? Get the GMU Map app and you’ll be good to go!
8. Looking for jobs?
If you’re looking for an on-campus job or just any job/internships, go to Handshake for GMU! You can find thousands of job postings and apply via the platform. Many on-campus jobs, especially office positions, post openings on Handshake. It’s very easy to navigate! (The previous job search platform GMU used – HireMason – was not as great, tbh I hated it. Handshake is soooo much better and actually motivates me to look for jobs haha)
9. Rate my professor.com is your friend
In my opinion, the professor is the most important thing when it comes to a class. Not the schedule. (Although, there are some people out there who values the class’ schedule than the prof). So, it is extremely important to look up ratings and reviews of potential professors for classes you want to take on Ratemyprofessor . You can even rate and comment on professors you’ve taken to help out fellow students!
Sometimes you hear people say “I’ve never really had a bad professor before, it’s fine, I don’t have to check ratemyprofessor.”……. Dude, you’re just lucky…so far…..
If you couldn’t be bothered to look up your professor and ended up with a not so great one….. you’re gonna suffer for the entire semester…..just saying…… your choice…..
10. Want to see what classes you still have to take?
It can be really tedious to look up classes your major requires, look up Mason core classes GMU students have to take and try to remember the classes you’ve taken and the ones who haven’t. With Degree Works, it’s so much easier!
Just log into Patriot Web , go to Student Services, Student Records, Degree Evaluation Menu, then click Degree Works.
The website has all the requirements for your major and the college. It’s a great way to see what classes you’ve already taken, and what classes you still have to take for your major, Mason core, for your degree (B.S./B.A.) and for your specific college department. It also shows you all your information such as class status, GPA, credits…etc.
If you haven’t check Degree Works out yet, definitely do so!
11. Coursicle – Plan your classes
It can be really annoying and messy when you’re planning for classes for the upcoming semester. With Coursicle, you can plan possible schedules easily! The website has information of classes at many colleges/universities, GMU included, so yay! Coursicle is very visual so it’d be great for visualizing your potential schedules for your next semester and see if you could improve your schedule before you actually register for your classes and see your actual weekly schedule on Patriot Web.
12. So you think you can Grammar?
Everybody makes mistakes, especially when you’re writing a 20-page research paper at 3 in the morning. Make sure to check your grammar on Grammarly before you turn in your paper. It catches your grammar mistakes and tells you how to correct them.
The best thing about is that it’s FREE! If you want some extra features and have it catch more advanced grammar errors, you can pay and get the premium version, but it’s not necessary.
Fewer grammar mistakes can make a huge difference in your grade!
13. TEXTBOOKS. BE SMART WHEN GETTING THEM!
First things first, NEEEEVERRRRR get your textbooks from Barnes and Noble unless they’re the only one selling that textbook!!! Their textbooks are way overpriced, you can definitely get better deals on other websites like Chegg, Amazon, AbeBooks…..etc.
Best way to decide where to buy your textbooks is checking TextSurf. You can view the cheapest deals on their website. Just type in the ISBN code (or just the title and/or author) and you’ll be able to see the websites you can buy/rent your textbook for the cheapest price! You’ll save a load of money by checking on TextSurf!
14. Study rooms!
Want to study in peace? Want to do your online test without your roommate disturbing in the room? Want to record a presentation video or have a Skype interview without having to kick your roommate out of your room? Want to study with your study group with whiteboards and all fancy? Want to use study rooms without having people walking in and say they booked the room? Yeah, I’m showing you how to book a study room haha.
Go to GMU library’s study room website and pick which kind of study room you would like (2/4/6/8 seats, presentation practice rooms…etc) and book it with your masonlive email/gmu account. You’ll get an email shortly.
MAKE SURE to CONFIRM the booking through the first email you receive. Only after you confirm it and receive a second email will the study room truly belong to you. Many people make this mistake and had to be kicked out of the room by people who actually confirmed the booking. Sad.
15. Go look at JC posts
I have the habit of looking through posters on JC walls religiously throughout the school year and it has exposed me to so many opportunities. There are always posters about paid research opportunities which are great ways for college students to earn some extra money. There are also flyers promoting various events, job openings, apartments and so much more!
16. Hungry but no time to run to dining halls? Simply-to-go got your back!
Back to back classes all day with only 15-minute breaks? No worries, you won’t have to starve yourself. Simply-to-go is on the bottom floor of SUB1, right across Chick-fil-a, with various sandwiches, salads, fruit, cookies, snacks and drinks for those of you on the go! Got out of your first class, head to Simply-to-go, eat on your way to your second class, won’t take longer than 5 minutes!
(It’s only open Monday – Friday though.)
17. Student discount at Giant
When you’re going grocery shopping at Giant, don’t forget to show your student ID to the staff during check out to get a student discount! It’s not much, but when you’re in college, every penny counts!
18. Patriot Web shopping cart
Most of you might already know this, but if you don’t, listen up! After you planned the classes you’re going to take next semester, add them to your shopping cart, so when your registration time slot opens up, you’re only one click away to register for all your classes!
19. Bring your laptop & headphones (you prob already bring it with you everywhere) every time you head out for classes and things
You never know when you decide to binge Netflix while eating at the dining halls or have an impromptu study session in the library right after class! Always have those in hand so you can be as productive or as entertained as you can be and not let any time go to waste!
20. Exchange schedules with your roommate(s)!
Most of you probably know this is an important thing to do, but if you’ve never thought about exchanging schedules with your roommate, make sure you do it! It’ll definitely make life a lot easier for you. You’ll know when your roommate’s gonna be out of the room so you’ll know when to do certain things that require zero disturbance, for instance, film a presentation video, have a Skype interview, deep clean your room, have a friend come over, all that jazz.
Bonus #21. Stack up on bananas!
I love bananas. They are nutritious, they taste amazing, and most importantly, super convenient to eat. Trust me, there’s going to be one of those days when you woke up late and had to run to class, or when you have absolutely no time to eat (not even time for simply-to-go). It’ll be super nice if you always pick out 1-2 bananas every time you go to the dining hall to put in your room, so you can grab them on your way out while rushing to class with an empty stomach.