So you think you can college: DIY post

Ryan BallweberCollege students are notorious for being savvy and thrifty with their money. If you were to Google “college life hacks,” you would get a lot of interesting results. But are these life hacks affordable and easy to do? I set out to find out if the top college hacks were really all they were cracked up to be.

1) Cake-in-a-mug

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If you have never heard of cake-in-a-mug, you are in for a treat! (Get it? Treat? Like a dessert) Cake-in-a-mug is said to be an easy and quick way to make a mini cake. The directions are simple. You must first buy a box mix of angel food cake (has to be angel food), then a box of any other type of cake mix. Then mix both mixes together into a large plastic bag.

Cake mix.jpg

When cooking the cake, the rules are simple. Follow the 3-2-1 rule. 3 tablespoons of cake mix, 2 tablespoons of water, and microwave for 1 minute.

The result, a delicious one serving cake that is cheap and simple to make.

Verdict? This life hack is 100% worth the effort (little effort).

2) Rice and Veggie dinner without pots or stove

Okay, I do have to admit this one sounds unlikely. But according to, you can make a full meal of rice and veggies with just a coffee maker. According to the website, the instructions are easy.


Fill a coffee filter with six broccoli florets. Load into the coffee maker. Run six cups of water through for tender but still crisp veggies.

Put 1/2 cup of instant rice per person in the coffee maker. Run the appropriate amount of water (check the box for instructions) through the coffee maker, then leave the machine turned on for 5 to 10 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.

Verdict? IT WORKS! It would have been easier to just rent pots from the front desk. In conclusion, this life hack is not worth the struggle.

3) Candy to study

What is better than studying? How about getting rewarded for studying with candy or your favorite snack?

To do this life hack, you just simply place a piece of your favorite snack on every paragraph of the study material. You are only allowed to eat it once you finish reading the paragraph (Time to elicit some self-control).

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Verdict? This life hack worked very well for me. I will be using this in the future for extra motivation. Warning: results may vary.

4) Dryer sheets on the AC/heater/fan

Does your room smell like there is a corner filled with stinky shoes? Then this college life hack could be the one for you! It’s very simple. All you need is dryer sheets and an AC/heater/fan. When your room stinks like leftover cake-in-a-mug and sweaty laundry, apparently all that you have to do is tape a few dryer sheets to your AC, heater, or fan.

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Verdict? This life hack was moderately effective. If you need a cheap way to mask smells, this is your go to. I will just stick with my wax warmer.

5) Coffee without a coffee maker

This life hack requires a little more effort than the rest.

You will need:

  • A coffee filter
  • Coffee grounds
  • To-go cup or plastic cup
  • Coffee mug
  • Microwavable mug
  • A rubber band

Coffee Supplies.jpg

Steps to follow:

1) Cut out the bottom of the To-go cup

2) Place the coffee filter into the cut out bottom

3) Put a rubber band around the filter to secure it in place

4) Pour the coffee grounds into the filter

5) Place the To-go cup on top of the mug you are going to drink out of

6) Microwave the water to the desired temperature

7) Pour the hot water of the grounds so that it can drip into the mug below


Verdict? If you do not have a coffee maker and will DIE if you do not have your morning coffee, this life hack is a good choice for you. It did require more work than just buying a cup of coffee from Brew Devils (Lower level MSC). In the long run, this is a very cheap but effort filled way to get your coffee for the day.

What’s your favorite college life hack?

Let us know in the comments!

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