Half of my student life was cultivating shortcuts from mastering the stacks at the library to figuring out how to cross campus in under five minutes. Shortcuts saved me precious minutes later spent staring at a blank Word doc in a library and screaming internally. Yet feeding myself in the busy season, when being fixed to my desk in the library was paramount, was the toughest shortcut to crack.
Studying is hungry work, but shopping, cooking, even simply leaving the library is time consuming. So we stupidly sit, chained to our desks by the anxiety of a looming deadline, unable to focus for the nagging hunger pangs. But take heart, all ye who dwell in this grim reality. I have struggled and studied and come to the other side to bring you these three shortcuts.
How I learned to stop worrying and love the leftovers
Making a large batch of stir fry on Sunday and eating it throughout the week is boring to the point of soul-destroying. Instead, take a page out of an Italian grandma’s recipe collection and use a one-pot dish of beans, tomato, and kale called ribollita as inspiration. Through transformation, it lasts an entire week. On Monday, it’s a hearty soup. On Tuesday, the leftovers cooked down, it’s a thick pasta sauce. On Wednesday, cooked down more with some chucks of capocollo, it’s a stew. On Thursday, cooked down even more, it tops rice. On Friday your leftovers should be so thick that you can fry them like a pancake. Dishes like ribollita are designed for busy people who like to eat. One afternoon of actual cooking and about fifteen minutes per day after provides delicious, varied food throughout the week. Italian nonnas are the original culinary life hackers. Learn their ways.
Toe the line twixt patron and malingerer
Warning: the folks who abuse this hack are the reason many restaurateurs hate students. Studying at your favourite sushi joint is not an all-day activity. However, an hour or two at nearby restaurant (before, between or after their prime services) could prove both satiating and productive. A change of scenery can jump start productivity. Add to that a filling bento box and the relative anonymity of a campus restaurant and you might just crack your thesis over lunch. Check in with your server at the top of the meal, leave after a maximum of two hours, and drop a generous tip.
Tech yourself full
So class ends at 11:30 am and you’ve got a long day’s study ahead. You’re hungry, you’re cranky, and you’re too busy to cook at home or sit in a restaurant. You want caffeine, food, and a desk at the library, now. Right now. Luckily, there’s an app for that, Boost. Order, pick-up and study. It’s that easy.