66 Things I've Learned After 3 Years at JBU

The following lists are built on some of the wisdom and experience I’ve gained since coming to JBU 3 years ago. If you are a freshman, start reading below and don’t skip anything! If you are anything other than a freshman, I would recommend you start reading at the “Websites/Extensions” section below but also feel free to look at the tips and advice section if you’d like!

Assorted Tips & Advice

  1. Get plugged into a church and any on-campus ministries ASAP. When everything else seems impossible, they will be there for you and will help you through it all, not to mention providing free food, worship, and fellowship!

  2. Ask professors whether or not you NEED the latest edition of a book or not before buying. The older versions are often way cheaper and can sometimes even be viewed as a PDF online for free!

  3. Nurse Rhonda is free for you . . . don't go straight to the ER unless you absolutely have to go, because it can get very expensive very quickly.

  4. If you're struggling or depressed or need to talk to someone: all JBU students get eight FREE hour-long sessions at the counseling center. Counseling isn’t for the weak or the helpless: it’s for everyone. Your mental health is extremely important. Don’t wait to get help or talk to someone.

  5. Join the clubs and activities you think sound even remotely interesting—college is a time to find yourself and figure out what kinds of things you’re actually passionate about. A lot of the time this happens outside of class! Some of my favorite clubs and organizations have been Enactus, Growth Groups, and AEI, but that’s just me!

  6. Don’t skip too many chapels at the beginning of the semester or you will be forced to go at the end when you're super busy and may need that time to work on things. It’s only 21 scans: you can do it. I promise.

  7. See a cute guy or girl across the class but didn’t catch their last name or only know their major? Check the Phone and Photo Directory on Eaglenet. (it’s also good for finding the email address of anyone on campus, including professors)

  8. Go to as many SEA and dorm events as you can freshman year! You will have the most time for them at the moment and can figure out what you’d like to go to in the next couple of years.

  9. Back up your papers on Google Drive after every paragraph you type. It takes literally 5 seconds or less to copy and paste. You never know when your laptop is going to decide to automatically update or shutdown or crash, and it’s great having that security! For more info and a tool click this and this.

  10. The JBU Writing Center will review your papers for free. Better papers = Better grades. Schedule an appointment here.

  11. Put your classes on your calendar using the built-in calendar on Outlook. It will make scheduling so much easier and you will get a notification before any class or meeting you put on there so you don't have to worry about missing anything on accident.

  12. Install the Blackboard App on your phone. It’s free for Android and iPhone and really nice to be able to check a grade or to look up a deadline on the go.

  13. Print to “impression printers” if at all possible. Yes, it’s only a couple of cents cheaper than dorms, but when you’re printing 40 sheets of color, it makes a difference.

  14. The JBU Media Lab is open to all students and is right next to the library. There are workers in there who can help you with all your creative needs. You can buy most materials there, including poster boards and mat boards, but there is also a section of free scrap materials that are often usable in the back of the lab.

  15. It’s usually cold in chapel and some other places on campus. Bring a sweater or hoodie around if you’re the type who gets cold easily.

  16. If you're doing workstudy freshman year and you have a bad attitude about it, you will be miserable. Make the best of it your freshman year, then get the contact info of the supervisor for whom you’d like to work next year. Everyone has to do their time to get to where they want to be.

  17. Essential oil diffusers work wonders if your dorm room is smelly, and they also double as art!

  18. Christmas lights and lamps will completely change the atmosphere of your room. Don’t be complacent with the jail-cell-like fluorescent lighting in your rooms. You’re better than that.

  19. Whenever you’re out at a new place, don’t be afraid to ask if they offer a student discount. You’d be surprised to learn how often they say yes.

  20. Download the Walmart App and use the Savings Catcher feature to automatically store your receipts and earn back cash on things you buy (with almost no effort on your part).

  21. When you're forming a group for a townhouse, do everything you can to stick together: the biggest reason groups don’t get into townhouses is because people drop out.

  22. Take breaks to do crazy things! You have to let go of school stress somehow—one idea is to swim and run around in the rain around finals week! Be happy, thrive, and always remember to put God first!


These are some of the tools I use almost daily to stay productive, organized, and sane. Let me know in the comments if I’m missing any good ones!

  1. Big Words: Textbook search engine that will literally save you hundreds on textbooks over the years!

  2. YNAB: Budgeting software so you don’t have to always be a broke college student. (Free for 1 year for college students)

  3. Google Chrome Browser: Fast and has tons of useful extensions you can add to it.

  4. One Tab: Saves all your opened tabs for you and allows you to organize them into groups for later and even send them all to yourself on a different computer.

  5. Bibme: Creates citations for you so you don’t have to do all the research on formatting and other small details every time.

  6. Honey: Automatically finds and applies coupon codes when you shop online.

  7. LastPass: Stores all your passwords for you so you don’t have to remember them all.

  8. Adblock for YouTube: Need I say more?

  9. Microsoft Office: Download Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and whatever else for free when you enter JBU and your .edu address here.

  10. Grammarly: Makes sure everything you type online is clear, effective, and mistake-free.

  11. Straighterline: Take any core classes you don’t feel like taking at JBU on this site. It’s cheaper than JBU classes, doesn’t take more than a month, and you still get credit for the class as long as you get above a 70% and the registrar pre-approves it before you take the class.

  12. Canva: Free graphic design website for people who don’t normally do graphic design.

  13. Evernote: Free online notebook that syncs across all devices in live time.

  14. UBlock Origin: An efficient ad-blocker. Easy on CPU and memory.

  15. Doodle: Easily schedule meetings with anyone.

Hiking/Outdoor Spots

  • Lake Siloam (City Lake)

  • Swepco

  • Lincoln Lake

  • Lake Fayetteville

  • Lake Sequoyah

  • Lake Wedington

  • Sketchville

  • Hawksbill Crag

  • Buffalo River Area

  • Mt. Judea

  • Natural Falls

  • New Life Ranch

  • Illinois River

  • Kayak Park

  • Tanyard Creek

  • Bella Vista

  • Humpback Bridge


Just a few of the places you should know about around NWA. (I haven’t included coffee shops because I’m not a coffee drinker, but if you are, I’m sure you’ll catch on pretty quickly!)

  • Siloam:

  • La Huerta or Matador (Mexican)

  • Hawg City Grill (BBQ & Burgers)

  • Eureka Pizza ($5 pizzas all day, every day)

  • Thai Cafe (Asian)

  • Chickadee’s (Great, healthy option for lunch)

  • Waffle House (For when it’s 3am and nothing else is open)

  • 28 Springs (Where you go when Mom and Dad are paying)

  • Fayetteville:

  • Hugo’s (Best burgers in NWA, in my opinion)

  • Hammontree’s: (Most of the menu is grilled cheeses)

  • Arsaga’s at the Depot (Great crepes, coffee, and brunch foods)

  • Rogers/Bentonville:

  • Sushi House (Great food, fast service, and tons of free extras)

  • Tavola Trattoria (Italian)

  • Table Mesa (Tex-Mex)

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! Don’t be afraid to like, comment, or share with friends. At the very least, I hope that you found at least one thing I said to be helpful!


Matthias Herman

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