My actions in the following story were immoral and possibly illegal. But hey, I’m in college and I can get away with these sorts of things.Photo courtesy of Flickr user graciepoo

Half way through my first semester I heard grumblings about a way to “hack” the vending machines on campus that sold vitamin water. After swearing on my cat’s life that I wouldn’t tell anyone else, a friend agreed to show me how it’s done.By swiping a meal plan card and holding open the machine’s door for just the right amount of time, the machine would dispense a drink free of charge. I had hit the jackpot. Late at night, armed with a large duffel bag, I would “buy” drinks by the dozen. After a week of repeating this nightly secret-ops mission, I found myself with a closet full of vitamin water. Around residence, the secret was beginning to get out. This didn’t faze me, I was too busy living the high life; imagine all those suckers who paid $3 for vitamin enriched water? Therein lied the flaw of my secret scam. Nobody actually buys vitamin water. The huge fluctuation in sales over that two week time frame surely caught the personnel’s attention. “Machine Out of Order” the sign read, we’d been caught. Shortly after, the card scanners on the machines were replaced. This marked the end of my free vitamin water days.

You may be asking yourself, what exactly did you do with a closet full of vitamin water? Turns out this overpriced beverage is the perfect mixer for alcoholic beverages, the hydrating and vitamin replenishing aspects of vitamin water ensure you wake up feeling refreshed after a long night of drinking.

Although stealing vitamin water didn’t improve my grades or actually save me any money, it taught me an important lesson about college and about life. The way we live our lives is a personal decision. We can choose to follow the norm, do things the way they were meant to be done or we can hack it. Life hacking isn’t intended to be a strange and ridiculous set of instructions intended to be followed regimentally. Rather, it’s the mindset to live life as efficiently as possible, through whatever means you choose to take. Hacking the vending machines reminded me that even at college I didn’t need to follow the rules, I didn’t need to live the same way as my peers. Indeed, I could hack college and do things the way I wanted to, the way I deemed most efficient. This post isn’t to encourage illegal activity, it’s encouraging you to ignore authority, ignore standards and ignore what is perceived to be right. I guarantee you there is a better way to do everything in life, I challenge you to seek and implement more efficient methods in everything you do. I challenge you to hack college. I challenge you to hack life.