Mia Usman/Staff Illustrator

Don’t know how to eat, sleep, study, budget and flourish in college? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a good college starter pack to get you through your first year. Who knows? By this May, you may just have your own list of college hacks. But for now, you can take some of ours. (You’re welcome!)  


1. Get a Kaldi’s punch card

Free coffee? Yes, please! Each Kaldi’s location on campus has a stack of punch cards at the register that anyone can take. Then each time you order a drink, ask them to punch your card when they ring you up. After 10 visits, you get a complimentary drink!

2. Eat at free food trucks!

Almost every Saturday, Emory hosts Food Truck Fest, where local food trucks serve Emory students completely for free! Several trucks catering a variety of cuisines set up around McDonough Field from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The lines can get a bit long, but if you show up a couple of minutes early, you’ll be able to beat the rush! Some common offerings include tacos, donuts, kabobs, churros, cookies and more. Take advantage of these, and let Emory pay for your dinner and dessert!

3. Panera rewards program ($12/month for unlimited coffee)

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, it’s really easy to run out of Dooley Dollars just by going to Starbucks every day. Instead, get your caffeine fix at the Panera Bread in Emory Village. Their “Unlimited Sip Club” membership costs only $12/month for unlimited coffee and charged lemonade, which is especially great for people who opt for more than one coffee per day.

4. Missing boba? Mix sweet tea and milk at the DCT

Cox Hall might have $7 Nom Station boba, but if you’re running low on Dooley Dollars, a small cup of boba just won’t make the cut. Atlanta isn’t exactly known for its boba scene, but a little milk and sweet tea at the DCT will do the trick for a quick (and most importantly, free) midday pick-me-up. We usually go for 40% unsweetened tea, 10% sweet tea, and 50% milk. 

5. Use Eagle Dollars 

Running out of Dooley Dollars? Eagle Dollars might just be the secret cash fund you never knew you had! Contrary to popular belief, Eagle Dollars aren’t just a useless form of Dooley Dollars. Panera, Ali’s Cookies and Jimmy John’s in Emory Village all accept them, allowing you a break from dining hall food without breaking the bank. Emory dining locations also accept Eagle Dollars. 


6. Check CORQ

If you’re looking for ways to get involved on campus, make sure to check the CORQ app. It lists all of the events hosted by each club and organization on campus. These events are a great way to meet new people and often get free food and swag.

7. Get off campus 

Take advantage of College Council-sponsored trips off campus with free buses to check out tourist attractions, like the aquarium or the World of Coca-Cola. Plus, Atlanta is full of great restaurants and fun neighborhoods


8. Check your email

It’s basic, but think of checking email as an extra four credit hours. Seriously, it can be like another class some days! But beware of everyone’s favorite Emory email — the all too frequent phishing scam to test your scammer senses.

9. Diversify your study spaces

You’ll thank us for this one during finals. Finding niche study spots will save you when Woodruff gets crowded and every seat is taken. Plus, switching up your surroundings can help keep you focused and avoid brain drain. Some of our favorites are The Depot by Kaldi’s Coffee, Costa Coffee and the Computing Center on the second floor of Cox Hall.


10. Remember to wash your emotional support water bottle

Seriously. They get really gross if you don’t wash them. A recent study from waterguru.com found that on average, reusable water bottles house about 40 times as much bacteria as a toilet seat. Experts suggest people wash their water bottles with hot soapy water once a day and fully sanitize them at least once a week. 

11. Always carry an umbrella 

We don’t care what your weather app says. In Atlanta, it rains sporadically and without warning during every season. For the Californians out there: yes, it rains in the spring and summer. 

12. Get a white noise machine or app

Let’s be real — quiet hours are pretty much nonexistent in freshman dorms. If you are a light sleeper, white noise (using a machine or app) can help you get your full eight hours at night. 


13. Learn how to use MARTA and Rideshare

MARTA is far from the best public transportation out there, but learning how to use it still comes in handy. To avoid the extra charge for getting an Uber from the airport, jump on the MARTA gold line. Additionally, Emory rideshare websites such as ridesharefinder.net can help connect you to other students looking to split a ride to campus.

14. Befriend people with cars 

They probably have other good qualities too 😉

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Jordyn Libow (she/her) (25C) is from Greenwich, CT, and is majoring in English & creative writing and minoring in business. Outside of the Wheel, she serves as Public Relations Chair of Liberation Through Education at Emory, and is on the Outreach Committee for Emory's Atlanta Pediatric Cancer Outreach Club. In her free time, you can find her going on Lullwater walks, singing karaoke with friends, writing poetry, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

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Chaya Tong (she/her) (25C) is from the San Francisco Bay Area, majoring in English and biology. Outside of The Wheel, she enjoys singing in her acapella group, working with Fair Fight U and serving on the University Senate Campus Life Committee.