15 Quick (and Cheap) Fixes for Seemingly Insurmountable Problems

Instructables.com, we owe you big time. 

Of all the physical laws that physicists tell us run our universe, Murphy’s Law—the one that states that if things can go wrong, they will—is one that seems to become more intense on college campuses than anywhere else in the known cosmos. Don’t ask us why: just believe us when we tell you that it does. And when it does, it’ll happen at the worst time possible. It’s at those times when something like a seemingly small wardrobe malfunction can lead to consequences far larger than they would in other situations.

Luckily there are people out there who are geniuses with big hearts who love to help other people.

Even luckier for humanity is that these beautiful folks like to post their ideas, tricks, tips, and hacks to www.instructables.com, possibly one of the greatest web sites in the universe where DIY solutions, incredible projects, nifty hacks, and cool ideas are posted by the thousands every day. Here are some of the best we’ve found for fixing those little things that can drive you crazy.


Fixing a Zipper (Without Replacing It)

Sorry: if you say you’ve never broken a zipper, we’re gonna have to tell you that you’re either full of baloney, an alien or were raised in a cave. It’s happened to everyone, usually at the worst time (and possibly the worst place) it could. Here’s how to fix it in a jiffy without any sewing or complicated equipment.


Removing Stains and Burn Holes in Your Carpet

No matter how careful you are, chances are that you’re going to drop something on the floor of your room that’s going to stain the oh-so-lovely carpet that they college has lovingly provided for you. And chances are that they’ll lovingly send you a bill for the repair once you move out of the room. If you’ve got a small spot, don’t fret: just click the link above to learn how to use simple household items to fix it out quick.


Quick n’ Easy Bike Chain Brush

Cars are noisy, smelly, environmentally unfriendly and, worse yet, expensive. Rather than go the automobile route, more and more folks are turning to bicycles as their transportation method of choice, a move we applaud. But while most bikes are pretty sturdy, the chain can be a weak point, especially if it gets gunked-up. A chain brush can keep your chain clean and your bike running. Click the link above to learn how to make one for under $10 (or even for free if you are going to visit the dentist any time soon).


Microwave Caramel Corn

While some may not consider it an “insurmountable problem” if they can’t get their mitts on some caramel corn, those who crave the sweet and salty crunch of caramel corn know that it can be a major problem if you can’t get some when you need it. Follow the link above to learn how to whip up some hot and fresh caramel corn whenever you want in your microwave for mere pennies.


Upgrade Your Earbuds

Many of us like earbuds because they’re easy to pop in and out, but we often hate them for the same reason: many ‘buds pop out when you least expect them to. If you want to keep the earbuds you have and don’t want to spend the money on pricey “sports” models (the kinds that hook over your ears), click on the link above to learn how to mod your existing earbuds so they stay put.


Cheap Macro Lens for Phone or Tablet

While phone cameras have gotten a lot better over the years, one thing that they haven’t gotten better at is taking macro (or closeup) pictures. Sure, there are snap-on lenses you can buy if you want to take extreme close-ups but they’re not cheap. But there’s an easier way that could cost you next to nothing. Click the link above and find out how.


Phone Cable Protector

Just as its a given that you will lose a charger or two during your college career, it’s also just as likely that your charging cord will break at some point. Don’t let it happen to you. If you’ve got a cheap ballpoint pen with a retractable point (the kind that “clicks”) that you can sacrifice for a good cause, you can have a nearly indestructible phone cord in seconds. Really.


Replacing the Button on Your Jeans

Losing the button that holds on your jeans can be a catastrophe, especially if they’re your last pair. But if you have the most absolutely basic sewing skills in the world, a needle, thread and a soda can, can turn the tide of your bad luck around in mere minutes.


Fixing Frayed Shoelaces

While frayed shoelaces aren’t going to ruin your life, they can be a major pain in the butt, especially if you need to lace ‘em up quickly and can’t force those frayed ends through the holes in your shoe. Fortunately it’s remarkably easy to create new aglets (yes, that’s what those smooth shoelace ends are called…see, you learned something today!) with a few simple and easy-to-find products.


Fixing Broken Headphones

If you’ve broken the headband on your headphones and are now faced with the horrifying prospect of having to toss out something that cost you a couple of hundred bucks, stop. You don’t have to. All you have to do is gather together a few items that you probably already have on hand and follow these amazingly simple instructions.


Fix (or Replace) Hoodie Drawstring

Seriously: what’s more frustrating than having the drawstring on your hoodie (or sweatpants) disappear into one of the holes? Fishing that dang thing out again can take more time than finishing a term paper. But it doesn’t have to.


Repair Peeling Flip-flops or Shoes

We’ve all had shoes we love die on us. But most of the time it’s not the uppers that go, it’s the soles, often peeling off just when we’ve just got the shoes broken in perfectly. Guess what? You don’t have to throw ‘em out as long as you’re able to get to a hardware store and purchase one cheap and easy to find item.


Removing a Dent from Wood

Another item that colleges like to…err…ding you with when you move out of the dorms is furniture damage. While it’s not easy to fix things that are actually broken, dented wood is surprisingly easy to fix. In fact, you probably already own the tools to do it. Read the link above to find out how.


Covering an Exposed Laptop Charger Wire

Not matter how advanced computer technology seems to get, one aspect of the technology hasn’t improved for what feels like decades: laptop chargers, specifically where the power cord attaches to the charger. No matter how careful you might be, at some point it’s going to break and you’re going to have to go out and buy a replacement. Or maybe not…if you’re able to follow these simple directions.


Getting Rid of Ants

You are, of course, scrupulously clean and definitely not the type to get infested with bugs attracted to food crumbs that have somehow found themselves attached to your floor. If you’ve got a pest problem, all you need is these instructions and a couple of household items to rid yourself of pernicious pests.

College Advice Tech Gadgets & Tools

Should I Join a Theatre Group in College?

Take it from a former college theatre geek, your school stage will most likely be the best and last stage you'll ever be on. 

After graduation, it’s all community theater and church ensembles, and who has the time for that? Nobody, that's who. 

Going to the farmers market is one of those things that just feels good.

They're quaint and novel, full of happy people buying hand-grown food, and sometimes, they even have a guy playing an accordian over by the pickle stand. It doesn't get better than that, my friends. 

On-Campus Farmers Markets

The lost art of growing vegitables and selling them directly to the community isn't lost yet at these awesome college, where students and professors alike are able to walk less than the length of the campus to a fresh and fantastic farmers markets.

Disc Golf is Everwhere on a College Campus

What do a statue of a university founder, a liberal arts building and an on-campus coffee shop have in common? They can all be disc golf targets.

That’s right, practically every college campus can and should be used as a disc golf course. It’s done at St. Mary’s University, where students get to throw over streams and historic graveyards. And it’s done at the University of Oregon, where students shoot through skinny, sprawling oak trees.

Why Chess is Such a Great Game

Chess may be one of the most important games in humanity.

It has taken geniuses and robots to master, has lasted through centuries of sporting, permeated across the globe and found its way onto almost every college campus in the country. Yet despite its prodigious back story, it is still one of the most democratic games, funneling down to just two individuals and their wits. 

Who is Wes Anderson?

Wes Anderson is half-average guy half-magician. His fashion, visual style, films and characters are all relatable, genuine, cool and absurdly different. He’s been making amazing cult films since the late 80’s, attracting fans of all ages and backgrounds. But at one point he was nothing more than a dude sitting in the back of a college play-write class, looking to make friends and talk movies. 

Having something you wrote with your name attached to it on a website that you didn’t create is resume gold. I'm not talking about your personal blog (which can still be very impressive), I'm talking about guest blogging. 

Guest blogging shows initiative, skill, and business cunning. And although it seems like everyone’s doing it, trust me, it’ll still make you stand out.

The best thing about SpoonUniversity is that its writers understand students. 

College students go to class. College students study in libraries. College students go on $3 hot dog runs at 2 a.m. What they don’t do—is cook. At least not as much as they could.

SpoonUniversity is fixing that.

Having trouble making friends in college?

Worry not - you're not alone! Making friends at any stage of life is a challenge, especially if you're somewhat shy, introverted, or -- we're just going to come out and say it -- "picky". 

Some think it should be easy to make friends in college since there are so many people around, but that's not true. If anything, the amount of options and directions students are pulled in can make it harder to find someone you can really get along with. 

Alright, if our calculations are correct then between move-in day and graduation day you could meet a Prince, a future American President, a surfer musician, a quarterback, or a genius.

You could also meet some other non-famous cutie hanging out around campus, but that wouldn't be as exciting. 

Competitive people can’t help being competitive just like lazy people can’t help being lazy. It’s simply in the blood. But for obvious (and unfortunate) culturally American reasons, teachers, parents and honest friends will berate you for being lazy, but wont for being overly competitive. That’s because competitive people tend to excel: top percentile grades, multiple extracurricular activities and popularized class rank are among some of the achievements of those who win at school.

Should You Listen to Your Parents College Advice?

For the most part, yes. When it comes to picking a degree or figuring out the finances then your parents can be a huge help.

But there are other things about they don't know a whole lot about, and that's because college has changed so much since they went. 

The basics are the same—find a subject you like and excel at it, enjoy your social life but don’t get carried away, try to get a degree in four years—but some of what they tell you will only get your hopes up or stress you out. Here's what's changed. 

College is Full of Surprises

There are a lot of cliches about college. Even friends, family, and former students can give you false information.

Every school (and people's perceptions of them) are different. And sometimes people just flat out embellish (you know those people). 

They say that Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but they're wrong, it’s called Google.

Everything you need to know to be able to write a good research paper, bring relatable current news to your classroom, back up your arguments and lead a rewarding life you can be found through Google.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information out there that will clutter your search results and force you to miss the good stuff. We don't want you to miss the good stuff. 

The End of Winter Break...

The start of the second semester is a strange time to be a student. For the past several weeks, your lifestyle has been the complete antithesis to educational development—you’ve probably finished a shameful number of Netflix shows, spent some quality time with hometown friends, and haven’t been waking up before 10 or reading from a textbook.

Now, you'll soon be going back to campus where you'll be asked to do the total opposite.

If you don’t start a club in college, chances are you never will. That’s just the truth. I mean it’s the perfect place. It’s full of active, fun-seeking, mostly adventurous students—enough to flock around most obscure/unique/weird interests you may have.

If you’re down with all this and want to continue or start an epic tradition, then listen up, because there are still some things that can go way wrong.