Whether you’re in first year or nearing the finish line, the stress resulting from tight wallets and infinite deadlines go hand in hand with post-secondary life. But lucky for you, your friends here at Glue have got your back and are here to give you some of our best kept dirty little life hacks for navigating student life in Ottawa.
1. The best things in life are freebies
You know those tables scattered around campus with activities set up that you always walk by while avoiding eye contact? Break that habit. For example, you can often find members of the Algonquin Students’ Association hanging out in the hallway hosting games like ‘beer’ pong, giant Jenga or condom competitions. If you have a few minutes to spare, actually take part in what’s going on and you can win tons of free stuff like toiletries, food and even event tickets.
2. Sleep it off
All nighters finally catching up to you? Don’t be ashamed to take a nap in between classes. Let’s be real, we’ve all done it at some point.
“Go upstairs and sleep on the couches of the T-building,” says Algonquin student Michael Vanderven. “The only people that use them are nerds who play WOW & Magic cards anyway so it’s not like you’re severely impacting anything.”
3. Set up a base camp
If you’re not the napping type but are looking for a quiet space and don’t feel like hanging out in the study rooms with a bunch of people sitting in awkward silence, then go on the hunt for an empty classroom and camp out for a while. Just make sure you check the class schedule outside the door and you’ll be golden.
“We would go to empty classrooms to watch Netflix when we didn’t have class or between classes because it was fun and chill and it meant we could do something fun and still be social with our classmates without leaving the premises,” says former Carleton and Algonquin student, Wayne Cherry. “This was especially handy in the winter when it was -40 out and we kinda wanted to go home but couldn’t.”
4. Get more bang for your bus
For Algonquin students, taking the bus to Baseline can be a bitch when you have zero classes in the ACCE building. If you’re running late or are just too lazy to trek across campus every day, put that U-pass to good use and hop on the 118. It stops in front of both C-building and the Student Commons, making getting around campus much easier.
And the same goes for uOttawa – just hop on the 16 and you can get around to various parts of the campus more quickly than walking.
5. Feed that caffeine addiction
Too broke to get your daily Starbucks fix? Head to any cafeteria and fill up with regular or flavoured coffee and discreetly add in a shot or two from the cappuccino machine. It will taste just like your vanilla latte or caramel macchiato but for under $2.
Not a coffee person? You can still save some cash if you’re a tea drinker by re-using your last Starbucks teabag and asking the barista to refill your cup with hot water.
6. Fill your stomach without emptying your wallet
“Don’t get caught up with the cafeteria,” says Algonquin student Chan Charron. “Pizza will take over your life.”
Although pizza is god’s gift to humans, it might be a good idea to try out some healthier options once in a while. Unfortunately, on college and university campuses, healthy typically equals expensive, and sometimes we don’t always have time to pack a decent lunch. Luckily for Algonquin students, Savoir Fare sells meals cooked by the culinary students. Not only can you get a variety of healthy meals, but you typically don’t have to pay more than $5.
7. Be punctual
“Never leave any assignment, project or group work until the last minute,” says former Algonquin student, Sammy Ehianuoka Agboegbulem. “AC Blackboard isn’t reliable and can fail you when you least expect it. Better safe than sorry. Turn it in on time.”
While this is solid advice, I think we can all attest to the fact that life doesn’t always work out in your favour. And sometimes, even the most punctual students have trouble meeting that word count. But if your prof sets a page limit for your paper as opposed to just a word count, then you’re in luck. Although prof’s usually tell you what font and size to use, try increasing the size of your punctuation marks. This one trick alone can give you an extra half to full page.
8. Drink without the money hangover
Let’s face it, for most of us, winding down at the bar with some friends is one of the best ways to combat stress, unless you’re broke and can’t afford to keep pounding them back all night. One way to get around
this is to bring some booze from home in a water bottle or flask and discreetly pour your own drinks under the table. Be sure to avoid trying this one at your campus bar though, unless you have a thing for getting hassled by campus security.
9. Clean up on campus
Rent not include hydro? Carleton and UOttawa students can access their campus gyms for free so try showering there to help reduce your monthly bill. Algonquin students don’t yet have free access to the college’s fitness centre but you don’t need a membership to use the change rooms, so you can still take advantage if you’re not the exercising type.