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20 Hacks To Make Your Life Easier At The University Of Chicago

If you are preparing to begin your college career at the University of Chicago, congratulations! This school has deep and rich academic tradition. You’ll be challenged in your courses, and you will cherish the friendships you form with your housemates. Of course, university life can be challenging as well. To make things a bit easier, here are 20 life hacks at the University of Chicago.

1. If you don’t feel safe, ask for a campus escort.

The University of Chicago campus police has a program in place to provide escorts to any student who feels unsafe walking anywhere on campus. Guys, this program isn’t just for women. Don’t let pride get in the way of protecting your own safety.

2. Be prepared to live on campus as a freshman.

While most colleges and universities have abandoned this tradition, on campus living is mandatory for University of Chicago freshmen. Check out the college’s website for more details about on-campus living.

3. Learn to navigate public transit.

Chicago has a great public transit system. Buy a CTA pass, and learn to get around by bus and train. This is especially true if you are a freshman because the other restriction you will face is that you won’t be allowed to keep a car on campus.

4. Take advantage of free Amazon Prime for students.

The beauty of Amazon Prime is that you can order anything and have it delivered to your doorstep in two days. Even better, as a college student, you can take advantage of this service for free for six months.

5. Don’t expect a hot meal after 8:30.

All dining halls on campus close at or before 8:30. If you miss that deadline, you’ll have to go off campus to eat or get something out of a vending machine. Since purchasing a meal plan is mandatory, missing meals is kind of a bummer.


6. Don’t purchase too many Maroon Dollars.

Maroon dollars are used to purchase on campus meals, ala carte items, and more. If you have more dollars than you use, they will roll over to the next term. Unfortunately, any you have left at the end of the year are simply lost.

7. Bring a bike and a u-shaped lock.

Many students bring bikes to get around campus and around the city. This is great. Just be sure to buy a lock that will actually stop thieves. A u-shaped lock made of all metal will deter thieves. A cheap cable lock can be snipped in a matter of seconds.

8. Friend a few classmates on social media before school starts.

Use social media to get to know a few of your future classmates. It will make the first few days much less awkward. Just don’t go overboard, and become the person who sends friend requests to nearly everybody.

9. Stock up on snacks that can be eaten out of hand.

Housing rules strictly forbid any kind of cooking appliances. This includes hot plates, microwaves, and slow cookers. Keep snacks that don’t require heating to avoid midnight trips to McDonald’s.

10. Use the SpotHero app to find cheap parking.

If you do have access to a car, you will find that parking is prohibitively expensive. In the cases where you absolutely must drive, check out the SpotHero app. You can use it to help yourself find the cheapest parking anywhere in the city.

11. Take advantage of the free core tutoring program.

If you are having academic difficulties, your advisor can be a great source of help. The university also offers a free core tutoring program. There you can get help with any academic subject. Still struggling in spite of getting help, some websites can help you with tough writing assignments.

12. Find under 21 friendly happy hours.

Many happy hours in Chicago are designed for those of drinking age. However, there are a few that will allow those under 21 to buy a soft drink and take advantage of discount appetizers. It can be a nice way to cobble together a cheap meal.

13. Turn gift cards into cash.

Well, meaning friends and family members may have sent you off armed with lots of gift cards. That’s great when you can use them, but sometimes you just need cold hard cash. GameStop and certain Coinstar machines will exchange many of these cards for cash. Just be aware that some of these can pay out for as little as 20 percent of the cards value.

14. Split a Netflix membership with your friend.

A Netflix premium memberships allow you to stream to up to four devices at once, and only costs 11.99. Split this cost with a friend or two and watch television for pennies a day.

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15. Take a picture of your schedule and make it your lock screen.

Don’t fumble through the pictures on your phone to find your schedule during the first week or two of classes. Instead, make it your lock screen until you have it memorized. That way it’s right at your fingertips.


16. Check out the student government’s local business discount page.

The University of Chicago student government maintains a list of retailers who offer discounts to students. Bookmark the page, and check it out before you go shopping or out to eat. The small discounts add up over time.

17. When the weather turns cold, use the pedway system.

Don’t let cold winter weather keep you stuck indoors. The pedway system is a series of underground tunnels that pedestrians can use to get around Chicago out of the way of winds, rain, and snow.

18. Go to the local library for free museum passes.

Sign up for a local library card. You will be able to check out free, general admissions pass to the Field Museum and other popular Chicago attractions. Sometimes, you can even get lawn seats to outdoor concerts.

19. Take along a change of clothing when you go out for the day.

It is not unheard of for Chicago weather to shift 40 degrees in one day. You may start the day shivering in a windbreaker, but you should be prepared to be sweating by late afternoon. Take along something to change into.

20. Compare prices before using Uber instead of a cab.

Don’t assume that Lyft or Uber are always going to be less expensive than calling a cab. During events, they often double or triple their prices. Cab fares, on the other hand, are generally stable. Double check before you get over charged.


What are your favorite life hacks at The University of Chicago? Comment below and share the article!
Featured photo source: and
Luisa Brenton

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