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2019 Hawai‘i College Guide

(Sponsored) Your guide to navigating the admissions process, financial aid applications, preparing for college, avoiding the Freshman 15, building a network and more. Plus, get an insider perspective on studying abroad.


(page 5 of 17)

A Local Kid’s Guide to Surviving College

Tips to stay on top of money, shopping and more.

by cassidy keola


Avoiding the Freshman 15

  1. Burger

    Watch the cafeteria food. Many college dining plans are buffet style, sometimes even having a dessert bar. Instead of heading straight for the burgers and fries, do a lap around the cafeteria to see what healthy options are offered that day.

  2. Many universities have an on-campus fitness center filled with weight machines, treadmills and other exercise equipment. Your school may even offer fitness classes such as yoga or kickboxing.

  3. Join intramurals. Playing a pickup game of basketball or soccer is not only a great way to burn some calories but also meet new people.

  4. Stock up on healthy snacks. Mac-and-cheese and ramen cups may be quick to prepare but are definitely high in calories and sodium. Instead, pack an extra banana from the cafeteria or buy some granola bars.

  5. JournalSet a structure. When you’re sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that signals your brain that it’s time to eat). When it comes to diet and sleep, our bodies function at an optimal level when we are consistent with our daily eating and sleep schedule.


Getting Around

  • Research public transportation in your area. Some places may offer student discounts for the bus, metro, etc.

  • Split rides with friends. Riding by yourself in an Uber or Lyft can be expensive and sometimes sketchy, so ask a friend to come with you.

  • Find the nearest Zipcar. The minimum age for most car rentals is 25, but Zipcar members can rent a car at 18 with a valid driver’s license.

  • Depending on the size of your school, you may want to invest in a bike or skateboard to shave off minutes when switching from class to class.   


Buying Books

  • Books

    Check Amazon for textbook rentals. Anyone with a school email address can start an Amazon Prime Student account for half the usual membership price, which comes with free two-day shipping and access to free movies and music. (Amazon also offers a six-month free trial.)

  • Does your school have a Facebook page where students sell old textbooks? What about a used section at the bookstore? Buying used textbooks is cheaper; plus they may contain useful notes to help you ace the test. (Think of it as a free personal tutor.)


Building a Network


photo: courtesy of university of hawai‘i / jose magno


  • Attend your college’s club fair to see what extracurriculars are available. Joining clubs will help you meet people who share the same interests/hobbies.

  • Although Greek life isn’t for everyone, it can help you find a sense of community at your school. Consider professional fraternities and sororities that are specific to a major—those can help you land an internship and build job skills as well.

  • Talk with a professor about becoming a teacher’s assistant or taking part in a student-faculty research project. The connections can lead to internships and job opportunities.


All Thing$ Money

  • Piggy bank

    Earn some cash by picking up an on-campus job such as a library or admissions office assistant. Start applying either on the school’s online portal or in person as early as possible, for they do go quickly.

  • Take part in a college experiment to make some easy money. Professors are often recruiting students to be a part of their subject pools.

  • Download apps Mint and Venmo. The Mint app is a free way for students to manage and track all their spending. Don’t have cash to pay back a friend? Venmo lets students send and request money from their bank accounts with a click of a button.


Gearing Up

College grad

photo: odeelo dayondon


  1. Check with your school about downloading software for your laptop. Some universities offer student discounts for programs such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud.

  2. If you’re heading someplace cold, it’s best to buy your winter jackets on the Mainland. Winter clothes can be expensive in Hawai‘i; plus buying them when you get to college saves space in your suitcase.

  3. Rice is a staple for many Hawai‘i kids. Check which appliances are allowed in the dorms before buying a rice cooker.

  4. Be the cool kid from Hawai‘i with all the ‘ono Hawai‘i snacks—Spam, furikake popcorn, li hing mui sour belts. Spread da aloha.

  5. Talk with your roommates about splitting the cost of cleaning supplies such as a Swiffer or vacuum. Don’t be that kid who has to be reminded to keep his/her dorm clean.


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