How to Survive College

You've made the jump to college -- and it's a big jump. The transition phase can be a quite a bit of hurdle to get over, so we made this guide of tips and hacks to help you out. The advice covers everything from study habits to friendships in college. We hope you enjoy!

Click the links below to find out more:


Letter to Freshman Self


Sleep Strategies
FoMO - Fear of Missing Out
Eating Healthy


Study Tips
Study Spots
Study Hacks - eat, sleep, study


College Friendships
Cool Stuff to Do in Austin
Alcohol Amnesty


Why Extracurriculars?


Using Planners
Scheduling a Semester by Hours


Interview Tips
Professional Dessing Tips

Letter to My Freshman Self

As you prepare to embark on this wild, amazing, crazy journey known as college, there are a few things you should remember before plunging in.

  1. Avoid comparing yourself to your peers. Surprise! That feeling of being top of your class is about to vanish. 
  2. Learn how to study. That thing you called "studying" in high school that involved Facebook shining from your computer next to your textbook and your phone in one hand? That doesn't quite cut it in college. 
  3. Remember why you are here. As a student in Austin you will not only be exposed to an amazing educational world, but an entirely new social world with opportunities to have fun at almost all hours of the day.

Read the full letter here!


Sleep Strategies

Because the expectation to get 7-8 hours of sleep has become all but ubiquitous, it may sound incredibly difficult and unhealthy to sleep for only two or three hours a day but a growing number of individuals are making this possible with the use of "polyphasic" sleep cycles.

Steve Pavlina, an exchange student who studied at Peking University in 2011, successfully functioned on only two hours of sleep a day by adhering to the Dymaxion sleep cycle, which only includes four 30-minute naps, evenly spaced throughout the day.

There are even more variations of the polyphasic sleep cycle, like the Everyman (3.5 hour nap at night, 3 half-hour naps during the day), the Uberman( 6-9 20 minute naps spread throughout the day) or the Dymaxion (four 30-minute naps a day).

You can find out more about different sleep strategies and how to use them here


FoMO - Fear of Missing Out

This feeling is called Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, and it happens on days when all you want to do is sleep, but your friends are hitting up the COOLEST party, it can hit you like a mofo, pardon my French.

When you think about the hoards of girls strutting Sixth Street in their stilettos, or the legions of frat boys holding red solo cups at parties, it's easy to feel lame for wanting to stay in.

There will be other places to go and more people to meet, and your college experience is not measured by this one Friday night.

As you study for your Friday exam on Thursday night, there are at least 10 Project-X-scale parties raging in your area.

Drink hot chocolate, watch a movie, catch up on schoolwork, and catch up on sleep.

Read the full article detailing FoMO here


Eating Healthy

The human body is astoundingly complex, and when I got to college, I frankly found the prospect of being its sole food provider a little daunting. I could, if I so chose, eat nothing but pizza and ice cream, as I had at basketball camp in 6th grade (not a good idea). Or I could go full-on health nut and eat nothing but organic kale and quinoa. What did I end up doing?

Read more about Eva's experience with the Freshman 15, savvy snacking, and more here


Study Tips

A pivotal component to doing well in school is knowing how to study. This is why this month’s “Hook’d on A’s” article is focused on answering the myths and misconceptions surrounding how our brains learn effectively. To help answer what common learning strategies are helpful and which ones should be avoided, we turn to Dr. Michael Mauk, a Professor of Neurobiology at the Center for Learning and Memory here at UT.

Hear more about Dr. Mauk's advice here!


Study Spots

CNS students are bombarded from every direction with advice on the how’s, when’s, and why’s of studying—but there is much less focus on where to study. If you’re like the average undergraduate, you will spend over 80 days studying during your four years of college, so you might as well find a place you like. Finding your personal study niche can be difficult, so here’s a hands-on field guide to a few popular study locations on campus and beyond.

Access the hands-on guide here!


Study Hacks - eat, sleep, study

Everyone already knows all the top places to study on campus the PCL, the FAC and the Union.

Here are a couple top-secret on campus study spots you can try out if you want to mix it up a bit The Fine Arts library is a little bit out of your way, especially if you live in West Campus, but that means that it's less crowded.

In addition to finding surprising places to study, these are some other tidbits I've picked up along the way that have definitely improved my studying! If you struggle in areas that are completely silent or maybe have one person being incredibly loud, ambient background noise can be the solution!

Hear more about Nathalie's study advice here


College Friendships

Whether you were high school homecoming royalty or the John-Bender-from-The-Breakfast-Club of your class, you probably came to UT with some preconceived notions of friends, relationships, and social life in general.  Here’s a brutally honest guide to the ups, downs, and in-betweens of college friendships to help you as you embark on four years at the Forty Acres.

  1. You’ll probably make “fish-out-of-water friends”

  2. The time commitment is different

  3. Friends can change with the semesters

  4. Don’t stress out about making friends—you will find your niche sooner or later!  

  5. Roommates can be your best friends—or worst enemies.

  6. Friends are great, but remember to take time for yourself.

Read more about Eva's friendship advice here


Cool Stuff to Do in Austin

If you’re looking for something to do with your Saturday afternoon, but you’ve fallen out of love with the “i love you so much” wall and have grown fed up with the typical Austin restaurants, don’t fret! This handy guide will show you some ways to be a little weird when you live in Texas’ weirdest city.

  1. Visit the bar where it’s Christmas at any time of the year

  2. Go on a mural mission

  3. Find a funny festival

  4. Zipline over Lake Travis

  5. Try Ethiopian food

  6. Take a ride on a steam train

  7. Go to a quidditch match (or play on the team)

  8. Explore Austin’s vegetarian food scene

  9. Go thrift shopping

  10. Make an appointment at the Cathedral of Junk

Read Eva's full guide here!


Alcohol Amnesty


Why Extracurriculars?

Coming Soon


Using Planners

When Planners Align: Tips for finding and using the perfect pocket calendar Here are some tips that will benefit everyone from the planner veteran to the scheduling newbie.

The first rule of planners is simple: keep your planner up to date.

Most planners have a monthly calendar page, followed by a day-by-day breakdown of your semester.

In order to make the most of your planner experience, keep it with you at all times--don't leave it at home with promises of updating it when you come home from a day of classes.

Read personalized reviews of planners here


Scheduling a Semester by Hours

“How many hours are you taking?” is the college version of “how’s life?” -- too many hours, and you’re swamped in school work. Too few, and you’re floating on large rafts of free time, and you can only take so many naps.

But class hours are only one part of student life. Other commitments take up much more of your time during an average week. The following list will help you plan your schedule for real life, as well as class. Keep a running tally and then look up where you stand on the chart at the bottom.

Find the list of hour counts here!


Interview Tips

Interview Tips

  1. Do your research - know some background info on who is interviewing you, and their company or school. For example, if a professor is interviewing you, it’s a good idea to read up on their current or past research to ask them about it

  2. Prepare - Have answers ready for tricky questions such as “What are your strengths” or “What are your weaknesses.” This doesn’t mean you have to have an entire answer memorized word for word, just have an idea of what you want to say if this question is posed

  3. Dress for success – check out at our dressing guide below!

Thank you notes – a follow-up thank you note or email after the interview is always a good idea. Make sure it’s within the first day or two right after you interview

Find more advice for interviewing here!


Professional Dressing Tips

There are usually two types of “nice” dress that can be worn in an interview: There is Business Casual and Business Professional.

Business Casual

·       Women - Tailored pants or conservative dresses,

·       Men - Button down shirt, tie optional, sports coat, blazer, dress hoes


Business Professional

·       Women – pantsuit

·       Men – Suit, dress shoes, tie necessary

Find visual examples and tips for professional dress here!