When August rolls around, it brings with it a bittersweet feeling to college students everywhere. The transition back to school means reuniting with friends and having fun, but it also means returning to classes and hard work. Whether you’re a freshman or grad school student, there’s always tons to shop for at the beginning of a new year. Leaving out vital supplies can happen easily, so before the panic sets in, follow this checklist to ensure you have everything you need for a killer start to the fall semester.
Good notes lead to good study guides, which lead to good grades. To achieve this, however, you need a reliable writing utensil. Whether you are brave enough to sport pens or you are enough of a perfectionist to demand pencils, investing in the right style makes all the difference for your notes. “I typically use colorful pens because they make notetaking so much easier. The different colors really stand out and help you when it’s time to go back to study them. I think my notes are 110 percent better when I take them in pen instead of pencil,” said Troy University freshman Hanna Ashcraft. Just don’t forget to bring them to class.
Organization equals the key to success in college. Who hasn’t taken an important phone call and needed to write something down ASAP but could not find paper to save their life? Keeping these on hand can prevent that ugh moment from happening to you. If you want to step it up a notch, you can designate a color or a pattern to each class you have and leave them on your desk. That way, they stay out in the open and in your line of vision every time you do work. Of course, when you want to forget, you can always slip them into your desk drawer and “poof” your responsibilities away for a while.
While taking notes on loose-leaf paper gets the job done, you might want to keep them together. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing notes, and they provide another opportunity to stay organized. “When I venture to Walmart for back to school shopping, I first look for a three-subject notebook. Typing your notes on a laptop might be faster and more environmentally friendly, but writing it down on paper makes it much easier to remember what you wrote, so I retain the information better. So, it’s really the key to me passing my classes,” said Florida Atlantic University sophomore Digna Rivera. Pro tip: You can find just about anything on the cover of a notebook, but if you can’t find something that works for you, you can always get creative and decorate your own.
We all have those times where we think, "This is it, I’m dropping out." You know, those nights where the assignments and papers have piled enormously high, making you too overwhelmed to even begin working on them? The stress can sometimes seem unmanageable, but all you need to get into your groove is your favorite snack. “When it’s a late-night study session and hunger kicks in or you only have 15 minutes between two 75-minute classes that just so happen to fall within lunch time, a snack can make all the difference,” said Florida State University freshman Mikalia Feagans. Your future self will thank you for staying stocked up on the good stuff.
After pulling one too many all-nighters, college students gain the ability to fall asleep anywhere; it’s like a superpower. Although at times sleep seems to be but a luxury, catching some quality Z’s improves a student’s performance drastically. “The first supply I bought was my comforter set…sleep is very important to me,” said Dartmouth College freshman Rachel Lorfils. Concentrating on homework just won’t happen when you’re freezing to death—welcome something soft and warm as your study buddy and get cracking.
Unfortunately, there is no way around this one. Most colleges connect you to your classes online s via website, where your professors post your homework and readings. Since prices vary so much, do your research before choosing a laptop to find one that meets all your school and entertainment needs. Some majors require certain programs or software to complete work; look ahead and do some extra digging to find out what’s compatible now instead of having to invest in a new laptop later down the line.
The human mind has impressive capabilities, like remembering each line to your favorite episode of Spongebob or still knowing every lyric to your favorite song from middle school. But when it comes to keeping track of the necessities, the brain likes to goof around and forget. Avoid the stress of trying to keep up with your classes, your new internship and that cutie from your chemistry class by maintaining a planner or desk calendar. This will keep you on task and allow you to spend more time flirting and less time trying to recall what’s due in a few hours. “My calendar has my plans for the whole semester in it, I look at it every day. Sometimes I’ll follow it and sometimes I won’t, but it’ll always be there,” said Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University freshman Roshnie Marcellus.
Choosing a new backpack is all fun and games until you start college, where the process becomes an art form. Following trends become less important when making sure your laptop will fit into the bag with the zipper closed is the priority. Comfort and security are also extremely important, since your walks between classes have grown substantially and study sessions sometimes mean leaving bags unattended in the library. Thankfully, you’ll find thousands to pick from, so finding one that works for you should easily lead to a happy ending.
Many things about life remain unpredictable, even with how far we’ve advanced in today’s world. One of those unforeseeable conditions will always be the weather. Try as they might, weather forecasters don’t always hit the hammer on the head. “When you live in Florida, an umbrella is essential. At any moment, the weather can make a turn for the worse and you may need to be prepared,” said Florida State University junior Abdullah Derosier. Even if you don’t live somewhere “rainy,” taking precautions will help keep your day shining even when the sky is pouring.
At the end of the day, when you take a breather from homework to relax, everything that surrounds you influences your attitude. Decorating your room to match your vibes will truly change your day-to-day living, and will begin to seep into your academics. Even something as simple as a tapestry with your favorite quote or animal can boost your mood without you even realizing it. No one expects you to be the next big interior designer; just make your space truly your own with a touch of home, and viola, you just created your own masterpiece.