These are a few hacks at University of Miami that will make your life easier, especially if you are a freshman living on campus!
1. Get a ZipCar account
All Canes know the struggle of not being able to have a car during your Freshman year (or at least not being able to buy a parking pass if you don’t meet the 30 college credits and happen to live on campus). Sure; it’s easy to just pick up your phone and request an Uber, but sometimes a car is needed. Luckily, ZipCars are available all around campus and UM even provides a student network discount. ZipCar (in case you don’t know this) is an app that allows you to rent out cars by the hour (insurance and gas included!) at very fair prices.
Here’s the website: http://www.zipcar.com/universities
2. Memorize your C-Number!
Your C-Number is your student ID number. When you first get it you’ll just assume it is not important and will only appear on CaneLink, transcripts and stuff like that, but trust me: the earlier you memorize it, the better. Everything from student organizations to tests will ask for your C#. Don’t be the kid who takes 2 minutes to look it up.
3. Get tutoring
So tutoring is one of those things that I was a little reluctant about. I’ve always liked to study alone or with friends, so the idea of having another student, a stranger, teach me a subject was kind of awkward; however, I gotta say that tutoring did once saved my life for a class that I straight up hated. Appointments are super easy to make and you can cancel anytime. These kids are friendly and use student language to explain the harder stuff.
4. Buy an “on-the-go” blender
Buying a blender was the best decision I made during my Freshman year. These are permitted in the dorms, unlike grills and other appliances, and come in handy when you feel the need to play chef. I got the Oster Blend N’ Go which serves as a bottle and is super easy to clean. Yes, you can find protein shakes and smoothies all around campus (Wellness Center, Jamba, Food Court, etc.) but it has been awesome to be able to make them in the confort of my dorm when I’m in a hurry. Also, you can get creative with it: I love making microwaveable pancake mix and ice-cream when I need my sugar fix!
5. Use Rate My Professors
As if registration day wasn’t terrible enough, there is NOTHING worse than a terrible professor. Use this webpage to figure out what your professors will be like and get leave reviews yourself. Other Canes will appreciate it!
6. Get take-out from the dining halls
Nothing makes your life easier than getting take-out from the dining halls. Not only is this useful when the week is about to end and you have extra swipes (you are paying a lot for your meal plan, so better take advantage of it), but take-out often has very convenient food options (pre-packaged salads, tasty sandwiches, single-portion cereals, etc.) that are often better than the ones you get inside the dhall.
7. Visit Toppel Career Center
Need to write your resumé? Don’t have business attire for your interview? Don’t have any idea how to behave yourself at an interview? Go to Toppel. They will fix these and more, plus they host amazing networking events that will expose you to jobs related to your major. These guys really know how to get you a job. Use them.
8. Set up a laundry time that works with your schedule AND the laundry room’s schedule
Most Canes are night creatures who believe that the best time to do laundry is in the middle of the night or on Sundays. This is actually when the laundry room is at its fullest. I have found that the most convenient times to laundry are from early in the morning to the middle of the day when people are either in class or having lunch. I have managed to fit laundry into my schedule each semester so 1. I don’t slack off and keep dirty clothes in my room forever and 2. I like to make sure that I have no trouble finding available machines (when you don’t, you just have to wait and it sucks).
9. Use laundry pods and color catchers
I have NEVER EVER had to do such thing as divide my clothes by colors, whites and blacks or whatever my mom and my grandma ever told me to do. There are these little things called color catchers that allow you to throw your clothes into the washer all at once. (The only time I wash things separately is when it’s the first time I’m washing them, since you never know if they’ll stain). But hey, doing laundry is already tedious enough… make life easy for yourself and follow a simple rule of “pods and sheets”. I promise this will make laundry seem like a breeze. No heavy containers and no messing up where you have to pour these into the machine.
10. Get UM-Related Apps
Here’s the list for the basics:
Dine On Campus: Allows you to see daily menus and hours of food places on campus.
UMiami: Shuttle schedules, campus map, course guide, library search tool, directory, etc.
Miami Hurricanes: Gives you updates on upcoming games and real-time results for all sports.
Guardian: UMPD-associated app that allows you to call for help when you’re near or on campus.
UHealth: Allows you to schedule appointments within the UM Health system and keep track of these.
11. Make it a habit to double-check your Cane-Card holder
Your Cane Card is your student ID, your entry to the library, your mobile wallet (if you have dining dollars) and your room key… in other words, and extra limb. Many more people than you think lose their cards on the first week of school, and you most likely WILL get locked out of your room at some point. Make yourself a favor and don’t forget it or lose it… Get a card holder for your phone (usually given out during orientation) or a small wrist wallet, but get in the habit of keeping it at all times! (Really. The place to go for replacements is ridiculously hard to find, you have a time limit to get a new one, and of course there’s a fee).
12. Use the Writing Center
Teachers love you to go there and will give you extra credit on your essays for every time you go. Enough said.
13. Download Food Delivery Apps
I’m not gonna lie… the dining halls get old a lot quicker than you think and your schedule will be wild most of the time. There are plenty of options out there (Postmates, Uber Eats, EAT24, etc.) that will provide countless options from all around the city. Also, DeliveryDudes function for internal campus deliveries, free of charge.
14. Know the post office and drop-boxes on campus
USPS inside the bookstore and UPS/FedEx drop-boxes by the Law School. This will save you time and money when you have to return that crappy sweater that you got from Amazon.
15. Get all your check-ups at the Health Center
UM’s health center is a hospital operating on campus… there is nothing that could be more convenient than this, especially when you get sick for the first time during your Freshman year and don’t have your parents around to take you to see the doctor. There is a special area for students which makes things even easier. Appointments are available but not required. There’s also a pharmacy inside, which is allows you to get prescriptions right away.
16. Go to Late Night Dining
Pizza, hot-dogs, burgers, cereal and sandwiches are the best after a night out. Plus late-night swipes are already in your meal-plan so there’s no need to spend an extra 10 bucks at McDonalds. Open til 2:00AM from Thursday to Sunday.
17. Find a “Me-Location”
There is nothing more relaxing than finding a place on campus that you love. Whether it is a special spot by the lake or a specific cubicle at the library, finding a “me” spot is great when you need to get a break from work, your roommate, or just life-stress in general. Trust me on this one… when finals come around or when you need to clear your mind after a long day, you will find closure in this little spot of yours.
P.S: You don’t have to go searching for a place… you’ll just know what place feels right for you.
18. Take advantage of free shuttles
The best free shuttles are definitely those who go from UM to the stadiums during game seasons. Also, if you don’t have a car, UM provides shuttles that go to several popular spots in town. Some of the destinations are: Wynwood, Dadeland and Coconut Groove. If you do have a car, shuttles will save you time since they make stops on parking lots and garage areas around campus and bring you closer to classroom buildings.
19. Stock-up on food from the farmer’s market
Every Wednesday, we have a farmer’s market on campus from 9:00AM-3:00PM. From fresh Acai bowls to Colombian empanadas, a little bit of everything can be found at the market. It is really nice to get food from the market since it allows you to skip the cooking or the dining hall for a few days and also get a few healthier treats (I always buy fresh fruits and a huge bag of kettle corn). Also, I love to try new things every week.
20. Be on the lookout for daily events
Free food!!!! (and shirts and pens and a lot of stuff you don’t need but will be happy to get anyways).