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Yes, TikTok Life Hacks Can Actually Help You Get Through College

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine opening TikTok and not seeing some sort of “life hack” video within the first ten minutes on the app. TikTok life hacks can cover anything from food prep to daily routines, and many students are flocking to the app this semester to learn tips for getting through their college experience. Given the popularity of these life hacks, I decided to test some out and see if they could actually make a difference in my organization and study skills. Based on my experimentation, here are the five TikTok hacks that actually helped me get ahead of the semester.

Track Deadlines Using Excel 

Personally, using a daily or weekly planner just isn’t my thing (I can never manage to finish my homework in the exact way I plan it). Although the planner method isn’t for me, I still need a way to stay on top of deadlines in college without relying solely on my Canvas course calendars. Cue this TikTok hack from Kamri Noel, who describes how, exactly, to use a spreadsheet to keep track of homework deadlines. I absolutely adore this TikTok hack and have been using Kamri’s system since I saw the video (which you can also find on YouTube here).

The spreadsheet hack is simple: First, list your class assignments in one column with their respective due dates in the column next to it. Then, highlight your entries to “color-code” each class, then organize your spreadsheet in chronological order of due date (pro tip: you can use Excel’s sorting tool). That’s all there is to it! If it helps to break things down further by week, you can also organize assignments by week by creating a border around it like Kamri does here.

With each of my deadlines clearly listed and divided by class and week, I have one streamlined document that I can consistently refer to. Another great aspect of this spreadsheet is that I can see exactly how busy my workload is going to be per week. This system works wonders for me, plus, I can be creative with my spreadsheet since it’s totally customizable (mine may or may not be “Mamma Mia”-inspired this semester). Admittedly, the spreadsheet can be a little tedious to make — for example, once all of my syllabi are posted, one “semester spreadsheet” takes me about 3-5 hours to create and organize. Personally, though, I consider it to be a pretty good tradeoff since the hack practically saves my life, organization, and my grades.

Use The Kami Chrome Extension For PDFs 

I had never heard of the Kami Chrome extension until I began looking for college tips on TikTok, and I’m so glad I know it now. Every semester, I deal with at least two or three professors who, in my opinion, make life harder than it needs to be by scanning documents and readings and uploading them for us — only the documents are usually “view only” or aren’t edit-friendly at all. If a reading assignment is a scanned PDF, it’s impossible to add to notes on the document — so, I end up having to retype long sentences or paragraphs, which can take forever. Not to sound like an infomercial, but the Kami Chrome extension is an easy way to solve the problem! 

The extension helps you turn any scanned document into a normal PDF file where you can highlight, copy, paste, and edit within your document. The extension is especially handy when you’re writing papers or taking notes that require long citations from scanned documents. While the amount of time I save using this extension may not seem like much, the TikTok hack is a big help when it comes to maintaining my sanity as I take notes throughout the semester.

Study In Five Minute Increments 

This TikTok study hack originally piqued my interest because of the seemingly small time commitment. Taking five minutes out of your day to study doesn’t even feel like studying. With this particular hack, the idea is to study in five-minute increments to help aid memorization for tests, quizzes, or otherwise. Begin by studying how you normally would, whether that be an hour-long study session or a thirty-minute cram. Then, to ensure that you remember the material you just learned, do a five-minute review of the material immediately afterward. You’ll then repeat the five-minute practice the next morning, the following week, and again every couple of weeks to make sure the material really sticks.

So far, I’ve only been able to test out this study hack for one exam, but I’ve already noticed a difference in my recognition of key topics and my recall for both big concepts and small details. Don’t get me wrong: a steady, ongoing study regimen is still needed in order for this concept to work. The difference is in how you review the information. Pro tip: this hack isn’t to be confused with only studying for five minutes — which you’ll likely find less than helpful.

Take Advantage Of Student Discounts

I have to admit: I’m somewhat of a “stress shopper,” especially when I’m away at school. Whether I’m actually buying something or just “window shopping” online, I am one hard test away from buying a cute laptop accessory or new clothes. That’s why I was thrilled when my For You Page pointed me in the direction of student discounts, which are apparently available at way more stores than I thought! This specific TikTok pointed me in the direction of Unidays, and I have to say, I just might be in love with this website. There are so many different shopping options from fashion to technology to food delivery and more. As a student, there are many opportunities to avoid paying full price, and Unidays does all of the work for you when it comes to finding great discounts. This hack definitely has me hooked, and it’s also my bank account’s all-time favorite.

Reinvent Your Morning Routine

Thanks to this life hack, I’ve been inspired to revamp my morning routine for my 9 a.m. classes — and I am seriously not a morning person! This TikTok provides a few different tips for how to reinvent your morning routine, the first of which being: prep your outfits before the morning. While I normally try to do this, there are times when I struggle sticking to the clothes I originally picked out, especially if I feel different in the morning than when I originally chose them. To combat this, you can do what the video suggests and set out two or three options to choose from, that way you have options.

Another way to reinvent your morning routine is to put your phone across the room, that way you won’t hit “snooze” repeatedly when your alarm goes off. Although I’m not great at actually putting my phone across the room as this TikTok life hack suggests (like I said, not a morning person), I love the next piece of advice in the video, which is to give yourself a “treat” in the morning. Essentially, this means setting aside 30 minutes or so every morning to watch a TV episode, read a book chapter, scroll through social media — or any relaxing thing you enjoy — instead of getting swept up in the normal rush. I’m not able to do this every morning, but I try to do it at least once a week. And whenever I get the chance for this little break, my day starts off on a calmer note, and I feel much more awake than normal when I get to my classes!

These are just a few of the many TikTok life hacks for college that can help you get ahead this semester. No matter what, I highly recommend diving into hacks that actually meet your needs in college, since everyone is different. Try out as many hacks as you want in order to figure out your unique style and needs. Whether you want to find a way to reorganize your schedule or revamp your morning routine to have more energy throughout the day, a little TikTok life hack can actually make a huge difference.

Sarah is a National Writer for Her Campus. She's a sophomore at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis double majoring in English and Global Studies. When she's not writing or studying, she can be found exploring downtown, reading, binging Netflix, or stalking travel Instagram accounts.
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