College Tips and Life-Hacks

By Laura Spitalniak
For Unwind magazine

Every year, new students flood the University of Maryland for the first time, and with even more students returning, the fountain of advice just keeps giving. Learn from other UMD students how to make campus life just a tad bit easier without putting all your faith in Testudo.

Marilyn Kiriyanthan, a sophomore business major, remembered move-in day as a freshman and offered advice based on that experience.

“Don’t pack too much,” Kiriyanthan said, explaining it can make getting to campus more difficult than necessary. “Your parents can always send more later.”

Sarah Denlinger, a sophomore government and politics major, planned to make changes in her work habits after learning the hard way as a freshman which techniques don’t work.

“I want to find a better study space, somewhere that’s quiet,” she said. “I [tried to study] around a lot of my friends last year. I got distracted too easily.”

Many students have found that it’s easy to let academics fall through the cracks. Julia Lerner, a sophomore journalism and philosophy major, adds that responsibility is important.

“Be sure to actually go to class,” she said. Though it may seem obvious, she explained that it is tempting to skip when no one is holding you accountable.

Portrait of tired young business woman with laptop computer

Kiriyanthan recommended planning ahead in order to keep up with your school work.

“Study really hard from the get-go,” she said, “so you don’t play catch-up later.”

Sometimes navigating the campus and meeting people can be harder than any class on your schedule.

Paige Berman, a freshman nursing major, found the ongoing campus construction a major obstacle to time management.  

“The construction is incredibly frustrating,” she said. “All of my routes to class are planned around it. Once it’s gone, it will knock off so much time.”

However, Berman said she was pleased by how quickly she was able to get to know other students.

Taryn Myrick agreed. Her biggest surprise was “making friends right off the bat.”

Both girls already have plans for making improvements in their schedules next year.

“I want to plan [it] better,” Berman said . “I have awkward gaps between classes.”

“I’m going to try not to have 8 a.m. classes,” Myrick, a freshman nursing major,  said . “I don’t mind getting up for one, but four times a week is too much.”

While 8 a.m. classes are definitely a struggle, students across the board seem to prefer sleeping in over going to their morning classes. A well-planned schedule can help with avoiding early classes, but so can a better sleep schedule.

“I got in a bad habit of staying up very late and not going to my classes,” Lerner said.

Overall, it is important to recognize stress can be hard to deal with, and students should consciously address this at its first signs.

Julie Mangano, a sophomore letters and sciences major, emphasized the importance of reaching out.

“Talk to people,” she said. “Talk to everyone. The more people you meet, you have more opportunities to make friends.”

Mangano said this mentality works in all aspects of life.

“Don’t be afraid to say something, in all regards. Whether you need math help, or you need friends, there are a lot of people here that want to help you. Just ask.”


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