Woman looks frustrated while working on laptop.

#RULifeHack Number One: Microsoft Office

After three peaceful weeks of lectures and catching up with friends, I look to my academic calendar and realize the fun is over; I have two tests and an assignment worth 25 per cent coming up this week. It’s time to open Word and rekindle my love affair with APA format. I’ll also need to say hello to my old friend, Purdue OWL — oh how we’ve missed your sweet orange pages.

Week four came a lot faster than I thought it would.

I remember the first time week four hit me like a bill from the bookstore. My parents had just bought me a new laptop (a present for getting into University) but they decided to cheap out on software. As a result, I was obligated to use Pages, an Apple application for writing documents.

I wrote all of my first assignments on it, navigating through its simple yet complicated format. Since I was used to working with Microsoft in high school, I made a lot of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. My indents were definitely wrong, and it took me an embarrassing amount of time to enter page numbers. Eventually week four ended, the year continued, then finished and a new one began.

I started to get the hang of the program but it was still annoying to export the file as a Word doc, or PDF every time I wanted to send it. I had considered investing in Word software but got discouraged after looking at prices. In the second semester of my second year I discovered — through a friend — that Ryerson University offers Microsoft Office 365 Education for free to all its students.

Queue church bells.

Introducing #RULifeHack Number One:

Don’t buy the Microsoft Office software, and don’t struggle through your first assignment – just download what’s rightfully yours by way of tuition.

The software download is available to all full-time and part-time Ryerson students, faculty and staff, and can be accessed through the Ryerson Computing and Communications Services (CCS) department site.

Branka Halilovic is the academic services manager for CCS and she told RU Student Life that 16,977 Ryerson students have subscribed to the service since it became available in August 2015. The university reported in 2015 that the student population is over 38,000, meaning roughly 21,023 of you have not downloaded it.

CCS made the software known to students by sending out an institution-wide email before the 2015-2016 school year, but it could have easily fallen to the bottom of your email list, so don’t feel bad about missing it until now.

Students can get Office 365 Education on up to five Mac or PC computers and up to five tablets and up to five phones per user (yes that’s all of the above, not one or the other). Once downloaded you can use Word, Excel, Power Point, One Note, Outlook, Publisher, and Access.

Keep in mind that you can only use the plan while you are a student, meaning you will only be able to view past documents, not edit them or create new ones. After that, you’ll need to pay (soak up those student deals while you can!).

Happy typing!