10 Things Every College Student Needs To Know
School is creeping up and it got me thinking on how I prepared myself to go back each semester. I didn’t live on campus, so I won’t be able to offer up advice on how to decorate your dorm (but lookie), or how to handle awkward situations with roommates (check Teen Vogue, Forbes and dis). I’m strictly going to talk about the tools you’ll need before school starts and how to continue to prepare yourself each semester.
- Get yourself at least one notebook. Typically, if I was taking 5 classes, I would buy at least 3 notebooks. Don’t get the cheap ones. The cover and back will be folded and wrinkled by mid semester. I preferred the Five Star College Ruled notebooks.
- An expanding file folder = organized chaos. You can get really nice supplies at Target. It’s one of my favorite places to shop for office supplies.
- A folder for each class. Keep your syllabus in a folder along with any other important papers your professor will give you. If that isn’t your preferred method of being organized, I would also suggest getting folders. The first half of my time in college I used an expanding file folder. The latte part, however, I switched to just using folders.
- #2 Pencils. You know every professor will require these for your tests when filling out a scantron sheet.
- Find the local college bookstore/supply shop. It’s great to know where to go when you forget to bring your scantron on exam day, or your blue book. The one at UNT, Voertman’s, was awesome. They carried art supplies, school supplies, used and new textbooks, and school apparel. Go Mean Green!
- A laptop. 90% of the class will carry a Mac laptop. As long as you can access the internet, it doesn’t matter what computer you purchase. Budgeting will be important and splurging on a $1,000+ laptop isn’t the smartest choice for people who are about to be acquainted with the college struggle.
- Buy used textbooks online. Buy your textbooks in advance. Half-priced books, Kindle, Amazon, and a quick google search are great starting points. I typically waited until the first day of class to confirm we would be using the book. However, I’m sure if you purchase it beforehand and then find out you won’t need it, the return policy should still apply. I would also suggest trying to find a free PDF version online. Using 5 mile, or craigslist is also a way to purchase and sell your books. I rented books through Chegg and Amazon when I couldn’t find a cheap used version as well.
- Pack tons of snacks. Please make sure your snacks don’t have to be refrigerated. I spent a lot of time on campus since I didn’t have the luxury of going back to my dorm after class. Especially if there was an hour break in between classes. Yep, commuting definitely had it’s downsides. I didn’t always pack lunch but I would also pick up snacks. Either at the grocery store or in between classes. When you hear someone’s stomach grumbling during class, you’ll be thankful you ate your snack beforehand. Plus, sometimes you’ll have back to back classes with no time to stop for lunch. This will, kinda, hold you over until you have time to eat.
- Chargers. Carry a phone and laptop charger.
- A quality backpack is necessary. Your Michael Kors backpack doesn’t count. My first semester, I carried a gray Roxy cross body. Besides being extremely heavy, it got dirty really fast, and it ended up hurting my shoulders. You can still get a quality backpack under $100. It’s better to invest now then to get all of your papers and laptop smooshed, or drenched when it rains (and it will, trust me — it’ll pour). I have had my SWISSGEAR backpack for the last 6 years and it’s still as good as new.
Each class is different, every college and university is different, and each city and the climate there demand various supplies. I still hope this list helps. If you have any questions about college, or anything in general — feel free to shoot me an email or comment below. I’ll sit down and write the second part of supplies and tips in general I suggest. Until then though, I want to hear from you. What are your top 5 tips/school supplies that were 100% necessary?