an Oh Myyy Property

It takes a serious survival instinct to make it through school. It's one of the hardest environments in which to thrive, but these students have come together to share their secrets and make the school experience a little easier.

u/MisterHomerJSimpson asked:

Students of Reddit: What is your best school life-hack?

Here were some of the answers.



Find time to get some exercise in.

All of that grab n go/fast food catches up to you fast

I got fat as f*ck in college and have since lost all that weight. I wish I made time to at least squeeze in a 30 min workout every other day.


Food Practice

For all my fellow commuters out there: Meal Prep!

You will save so much money by making some rice and chicken at home instead of buying some food every day. I used to buy subway twice a week as i was at school for a long time of those days. I just started to do meal prep and i feel so much better about not spending that much money anymore.


I Know Nothing, Jon Snow


If you need to participate in group discussion but aren't sure about the material, ask intelligent questions instead of trying to answer what you don't get - it'll buy you time and you'll still be participating.

See the professor/ta during their office hours if you need extra help understanding something. No one comes to office hours and they're usually really happy to help.



My classmate took up a strict 9-5 school schedule, right from the first semester. Every day, he'd work 9-5. He was either in class, working on homework, or studying if he got everything done. At 5pm, he'd pack up his stuff and was done for the day.

He had all his homework done way ahead of schedule and never had to pull all nighters or waste weekends on homework. He was never stressed out or anything like that because he'd spent time studying when he wasn't slammed with homework.

I could never manage it because I'd rather procrastinate and start 3 hours before it was due, but it seemed like the best way to do it.


Money Savin'

You can google by file type. Using the syntax

filetype:pdf Name of the Textbook I Need

will often give you downloadable versions and save you hundreds of dollars. Plus being able to ctrl+f a textbook is a lifesaver.

This of course can be applied to any other file extension


Tricking Your Brain


If you don't know how to study, or have a hard time getting yourself to do homework: Get a friend to buddy with.

My ADHD a** can't study to save my life, but if my friend is in the room concentrating on that sh*t, I feel like I don't want to be left out, and I'll buckle down so we're on the same page.

If you can't manufacture executive function, peer pressure is fine too.


Please, Please, Please

As someone who just graduated college, do yourself a favor and actually go to class. You're paying for the chair (if you're in the US) and there is research on a correlation between greater absences= greater likelihood to fail a course. I know you hate the class, but go. I might literally be begging.


Sacred Space

Your goal is to find the bathroom on campus that's used infrequently and find out when they clean it. When you find the perfect time and location, don't tell anyone until you graduate.




You've got to play the meta-game. If your lazy and unorganized like me, you won't have time to properly study for everything and complete every assignment. That's when you look at the grade distribution and start with the items that are worth the most.


Reminders For My Sanity

All my college student friends out there:

Make sure to give yourself enough time to sleep every day.

Get a little exercise when you can. It helps relieve stress and works to counter all the cup-o-noodles you're likely chowing down on.

Personal hygiene is huge. Shower every day, brush your teeth, wash your hands. It'll make you happier and believe me when I say that people can ABSOLUTELY tell when you don't do these things, regardless of how well you try to mask it with deodorant/gum.

It may be tempting to relax first and wait to do projects/papers later before they are due, but if you do the opposite you will find that there is WAY less stress involved.

Meal prep is a great way to make sure you are eating well while saving as much time as possible during the week.

Talk to your instructors. Get to know them. Their advice can be invaluable in knowing what they expect in the classwork and homework, and after you graduate you will want to ask them for letters of recommendation for jobs. If you don't have a relationship with them they are less likely to give you one.

Likewise, talk with your classmates. Lifelong friends are made in college, sometimes in the most unlikely circumstances/classes. I was a history major and met one of my best friends in a seminar class about genocide, we went out for ice cream and watched cartoons after each class to cheer ourselves up. And now nine years later we still meet up once a week for ice cream.

Remember that no matter how stressed you get, how hopeless things may seem when the world seems to be putting you under as much pressure as possible: There are always people out there who care and who want to help you. Most colleges have student counselors who you can talk with for free and get things off your chest. The college where I work also has a "Zen Den" where you can go to relax, sit quietly in a bean bag chair or hammock, and just get away from things for a minute. Chances are yours may have similar resources for students.

And finally, always remember: You are loved. You are enough. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are irreplaceable.



If you want to use Wikipedia when writing an academic essay, just cite the sources that Wikipedia cites. Not only does it reduce your workload a lot, but it makes it look like you've done a ton of reading during your research which your professor will be really impressed by.


Become Who You Are


Throw yourself into the course. Network like a maniac. Help out on projects that are tied to professional businesses. Volunteer. Long gone are the days of being paid to start the best band in the world. You are paying for a service so get the most out of it.

Or don't go and get a job instead. Master that, make cash money, train and get qualifications.

Or f*ck about with a minimum wage job, do the festivals, travel, hike up mountains and camp under the stars, join the greatest band in the world or learn to paint. Do something while you learn what you really want to do.

Mostly? Wear sunscreen.


Teachers Gonna Teach

Teacher here, but I work with hundreds of students every day.

Here's the 100% best school hack ever. ASK QUESTIONS! If you're confused about something, ask. If you forgot something, ask. If you need something explained again or in a different way, ask. Ask, ask, ask.

Teachers choose the job they are in because they want to educate. We aren't doing it for the hours, the pay, the prestige, the summers off, or the joy of working with apathetic children and their angry parents. We stay in the career because we want to make the future generations better than those that came before.

Most of the time, we can't help you if you don't let us know you need help. Ask, ask, ask, and ask some more. If the teacher doesn't want to help you, keep asking around until you find someone who will.

Also, learn to ask good questions. Don't just say "I don't get it," because that's not a question and the teacher (or whomever you are asking) has nothing specific to go on. Instead, say, "What do you mean by these directions?" or "What am I supposed to do here?" That helps narrow down where your struggles are and lets the teacher zero in on how best to help you.


Good Tips

College instructor here. Here are my best tips for getting good grades in my classes:

  1. Read your syllabus. It'll tell you what the assignments are and how much they're worth for your total grade, so if you're in a situation where you're in a time crunch and have to choose between doing two assignments, you can do the one that's worth a larger percentage of your grade. Not that I advise skipping homework, but if you have to, you have to.
  2. Get a calendar and plan ahead. At the beginning of the term, you should write down when the tests are, but also the due dates of the large projects. Then, working backward, set milestones about how far you should be on the project so you don't procrastinate and try to cram it all in at the end. Once you have a plan set up, follow it.
  3. Do the work with the intent of the question in mind, not the literal wording. Instructors aren't always perfect in their wording, so if a question says something like "Do an internet search for software to help you in [whatever discipline] and explain what you find, do what you know the professor is asking, don't just write "I did a Google search and a bunch of links came up." You won't get points for being clever.
  4. Use correct grammar and spelling. You'll get a bad grade if I have to decode your answers.
  5. DON'T use services like Quillbot or Chegg. If your answer comes too close to the textbook company's answer on a short-answer question, you're going to get flagged as a potential plagiarist, and I'm going to watch your answers like a hawk for the rest of the term. Just do the work as assigned. It's not that hard (unless you're going into medicine or physics or something like that, in which case it is that hard, but you need to actually learn it, so you should do the work anyway).
  6. Do projects outside of school that are related to your field of study. This stuff stands out in a big way when it's time to get a job. When an interviewer asks "What did you do outside of class" and you can say that you worked on a project related to your field, you'll see the interviewer's eyes light up.
  7. Learn how to eat like an adult. A lot of people never learn how to do this. Good nutrition will not only keep your weight in check, but you'll have more energy during the day (and for study sessions at night). And Coffee =/= energy.
  8. Learn to drink like an adult. Binge drinking will make you feel awful, and will take you days to recover. Have a good time, but know your limits and be safe.
  9. Don't come to class high. I will know, and you'll be branded as "that kid who comes to class high."
  10. Use the opportunity to meet people that aren't like you. Sounds corny, but we all live in our own bubbles, and school is a great place to learn about cultures unlike your own.

Good luck, students!


Nu-Nutrition! Nu-Nu-Nutrition!


Buy a Crock-Pot and find some cheap recipes online. Saves time, money, and you get more nutrients than cheap ramen soup. Also, depending on how big it is, you might be set for at least a week's worth of food.


An Essay On An Essay

How about how to actually write a decent essay?

There's all sorts of college "hacks" out there, but what about the one that makes everybody squirm? Once you learn how to write a college paper, you'll want to die a little less. Read below.

First fundamental rule: Schmooze the professor by agreeing with his logic. Come on. Easiest trick in the fucking book. Don't be a total kiss ass though. Also, avoid big ticket issues if you get some freedom with topics. Do you really think your professor wants to read ANOTHER paper on abortion or gun rights? You need to be a hipster here to get some attention.

(Though i have to admit, writing an essay explaining the benefits of slavery to my black African Studies professor was just...awkward. I choose the economics route. There's a reason the Confederacy couldn't produce jack shit for firearms during the Civil War and it has a lot to do with lack of mechanization.)

Every essay of any given length starts with a general set of rules that must be known and applied. Failure to do so will result in suffering and poor grades.

  • Avoid unnecessary bullshit. Does that sentence need to go there? No? Get rid of it, or move it. Students tend to write stupid, irrelevant shit in a futile attempt to pad their essays. If you follow the instructions below, you won't need to pad your essays, because there will already be enough padding in them! If it is truly relevant but only has one sentence, consider exploring it further. It may fan itself out into an entire paragraph.
  • No I or me statements unless requested by the professor. Third person only. Need a feel for this? Read a few academic articles on the subject of your choosing. Notice how things are written. It's rather dry, unfortunately, but it gets A's.
  • Correct formatting is a must. Thankfully, templates are available on-line for all major academic formatting styles, meaning you can focus on typing and then slapping it into the template document at the end. Again, as mentioned in the prior post, Citation Machine is a must. Cite your works as you go. Keep a copy of cited works for yourself if you can. The Purdue Owl is a must. Your professor is going to make you buy the APA/MLA/Chicago Tribune book. You'll likely never read it, because all the information in that book is concisely written on the Internet, and more specifically, on the Purdue Owl, with nicely formatted sample text so you can figure out how to cite a page in your essay text and move on with your life.
  • Run your shit by your teacher at least once, preferably twice, when 1/2 to 3/4 of the work is done. They can prevent catastrophic fuckups. Nothing is worse than having to rewrite a paper in three days.
  • Understand that this process takes time. You will still fail horribly if you try this in one night. Pace it out over two weeks, though three is best if you can afford the time. That way you can muse on the work and get some nice, solid ideas for analysis. Half my decent ideas came at the bus stop or while walking home from class. You can't squeeze out really good ideas like that if it's 3AM and you're in the library.
  • A correctly written academic paragraph can run at least ten to twenty sentences. it gets worse if you can actually can explain it in detail.
  • Understand that at the end of it all, you really are just polishing a turd. And since Mythbusters proved you can do such a thing, you can too.
  • Ideally, you'll want to have some ideas listed out. Since drawing diagrams and storyboards and all that seemed like stupid, pointless bullshit to me, I simply wrote down a shopping list of ideas that would form each paragraph. Not a lot of detail, usually one or two core sentences. It's a start....
  • Unless your University's Writing Workshop is in cahoots with your professor and their associated assignments, don't expect them to help you actually think of what ideas to write. Not only that, but most of the time, they are SWAMPED before a big essay is due, and wait times are long. They will not have time to help you write your essay in any meaningful way, and even if you do set up an appointment, it is usually not at an optimal time.
  • This is not a catch all formula. This generally works for most humanities classes where it is expected that you read some stuff, analyze it, and write a paper. In more technical areas, it still works, but you'll have to tweak it a bit.

So your first piece is going to be the introduction. This section is of importance, not in terms of your content, but with how you set the stage for your reader (e.g the professor). Psychologists have noted that people are able to remember only the first and last parts of anything, including lists, books, movies (who remembers the end of a move in detail, but are kind of fuzzy on the rest of the details?). So make sure the first and last parts are decently written. As Judge Judy says, you only get one first impression...don't screw it up!

Luckily, you actually have some flexibility here, which is a luxury. You have to introduce the topic, and you can usually do this in a variety of ways. Personally, I start by rattling off some statistics, numbers, or facts in a clever (yet academically professional) way, or maybe tossing in some tangentially related anecdote. A good first sentence sets the stage though, so pay attention to that, be creative. After that, there's the introduction of the topic, the issues to be covered, and thesis sentence. It's what you're going to be trying to prove (or disprove). This should be the last sentence in your paragraph. No analysis here though. Then it's just a chain. A long, stupid chain of the same crap over and over and over and over until you reach your conclusion. You'll transition cleverly into the subject of your next paragraph, and don't skip this crap. transitions take the clunkiness out of your essay. "One of the first things that can be noticed about bullshit XYZ is that...", while your intermediary paragraphs will have a transition that references the last paragraph, and somehow ties it into the last one. "While XYS was interesting, Characters Jerry and Gazorpazorp are important as well for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is blah blah blah im too lazy to keep up the example."

Once you get your transitions out of the way, you just start rattling off your supporting pieces. This includes quotes, citations, and an explanation of evidence. Just keep barraging them until the next piece. There may be some mild explanation here, but don't get too analytical. That's the next part. Each piece of evidence should be transitioned with "additionally", "secondly" "finally" "even further" and "furthermore" before you you discuss each piece of evidence. Use them tastefully, and hit the thesaurus once in a while to prevent word fatigue (this is a common problem, where students use the exact same word or phrase multiple times because they are being unoriginal. This is a problem because it tires the reader and sounds terrible. Don't do that). If you learn nothing else from reading this, understand how powerful these little words can be in getting a decent sentence in your paragraph. I have noticed, in my college years, that the crappiest essays I have read from my peers DID NOT include these phrases. While including them doesn't guarantee an A per se, it certainly adds that pizazz that good essays have. Again, we must focus on polishing the turd...

Last section of the paragraph is the analysis. You'll circle back around to your supporting pieces and then somehow tie them back to your thesis in some fashion. But you actually have to analyze them and come to some deeper conclusion than anything superficial, otherwise you are just wasting your time, and honestly, you are most likely completely missing the point of the entire assignment. You are not writing a book report, remember that. That's for elementary school. We're talking about discussing the underlying social themes of a book, the significance of someone's actions on a political movement, etc. This is where you actually look at something and realize that there is more than meets the eye.

Rinse and repeat. Eventually you'll hit the limit. Don't go to the minimum. Ever. That's for lazy students, mostly. Finish it when you are finished, unless you have a maximum (I struggled with these, honestly, and usually begged the professor for an extension limit, and they would usually oblige to see what you would spit out).

The conclusion is merely a recap of your essay, in which you will reiterate briefly over your analysis/evidence and how it pertains to your thesis. It is not a very important piece, but needs to be written well nonetheless.

As for grading, it comes down to a few things. Your professor may have a template for grading your paper, or they may just go off of instinct. Most times, they both play in, especially when they have to grade a hundred or more. If nothing else, if you've been a decent, respectful student who came to office hours besides the days before the paper was due and at least made some effort to show interest, it will help a lot. I've even heard from professors that a student who busts their ass can get a bump of at least a letter grade. That makes a C- paper a B-, even if their paper was piss poor and barely grasped anything the professor gave lecture on.
This is the formula. There is still quite a bit of subtlety to writing a decent paper, and I think a lot of students struggle with it even into the formative years of college. I think one of the worst things people do is write what they are thinking. This is actually quite easy to spot, especially from someone who writes a LOT in their free time. People tend to write run on sentences a lot, so it comes off as mixed garbage.
Parse back through your polished turd once in a while and edit as you read. It kind of helps. Freinds also add a nice perspective.


We're all self-conscious about something, and it doesn't help when our faults get thrown in our faces. You don't want doctors hinting that something is "weird down there," nor do you want someone to tell you you're balding. WE KNOW.

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel


Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.


We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.


A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest


Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.


Damn! That's smart. Wow.


Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.


The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.


Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.


I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed


Sleeping Beauty


I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.


Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.


I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.


A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.


This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.


Put This To The Taste


My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.


So what was the candy?


Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."


This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.


The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"


"Does it go on my head?"


"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"


"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"


[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.


Some Foot For Thought.


My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.


That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.


Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.


I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.


This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.


The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.


The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'


I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.


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