By Jose Castillo, The Campus Cowboy

I remember the first time I walked onto campus. It was overwhelming. No website description, no college ranking list, no pamphlet picture could ever encapsulate the sense of awe that I felt. The Green Line emerged from underneath Huntington Avenue, adding to the buzz of students and city residents walking, talking and laughing, all in front of the beautiful grey buildings that sit at the front of the campus. Even Boston’s smell was somewhat sentimental to me, a young Texas boy heading to the city for the first time. This was nearly two years ago.

Several all nighters, broke weekends and GPA letter drops later, I’ve become somewhat of a bitter man. The Green Line trolley is too loud, the people on Huntington drive too fast and the students cross the street way too slowly. My dreams have gone from attaining accomplishments and recognition from my peers, to simply getting to sleep in on the weekends.

Two years may not seem like a lot of time, but it’s enough time to know the do’s and don’ts of campus life. Here are a couple life hacks that will make your time at Northeastern a bit easier. 

1. Escape awkward bump-ins by avoiding eye contact.

We’ve all been there. You’re rushing across campus already late for class when across from the commons you see that kid who you kind of met during orientation, but for some reason, they always approach you and talk for way too long. No worries, all you need to do is avoid eye contact. Still having trouble? Try pulling out your phone and pretending something interesting just popped up on the screen. If all else fails, always wear earbuds. If they start calling your name, pretend not to hear them and just walk away! Works every time.

2. TRACE is your friend use it.

You dedicated yourself to your classes this semester by turning in every assignment, reading every chapter and showing up to every class, even if still a bit hungover from the night before. You didn’t even have to drop a quiz. That A was yours for the taking. That final you started studying for almost a week in advance? You walk into that lecture hall confident about the ability to crush it. Yet, as soon as you open the test packet you realize that the final is nothing like the study guide the professor posted on Blackboard. Now, you’re flipping through the test hoping for the answers to come to you soon, but any effort is futile. Back home, you’re explaining to parents why you need to retake a course you were doing so well in. Don’t worry, TRACE is there for you. Let the hate flow. It won’t change anything administratively, but it sure helps the healing process.

3. Don’t eat food at the computers in Snell

If there is anything more disgusting than the restrooms at Snell, it’s the computers. It seems convenient (yes, even I am guilty of this), but it’s not too appetizing having to clean off remains of a Rebecca Roll from the underside of a textbook. If you’re out of meal swipes for the week, just check the keyboards of the computers at Snell you’re bound to collect enough crumbs to make a Popeye’s three-piece, biscuit and all. Need sauce too? Easy smear your food on a monitor, there’s always ketchup or barbeque sauce on them for some reason.

4. Avoid Housing Costs by Living at Marino.

Marino is great place to get fit. A small piece of advice is to bring your homework assignments to Marino. When waiting for a machine to open up, crack open a book and work on your assignments. I once got about three hours of homework done before a squat rack opened up! An even bigger “life hack” that I would suggest is to avoid paying for housing by living at Marino. Northeastern is only committed to provide first and second-year students with housing, and with apartment rent prices ridiculously high, it’s tough for today’s students to find nice housing for a reasonable price. Might I suggest living in Marino? All you need is your Husky card! Free showers, three full-sized basketball courts, and a pretty nice TV in the lobby; who would want to live anywhere else? Just don’t sleep in third floor restroom that’s where I sleep.

I hope these life hacks have been helpful. If you still need some advice you can always find me on campus, but if I don’t acknowledge you refer to tip No. 1.