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Let’s face it, some of us simply enjooooooooy back to school slash office supplies. I know I do! However, when I started university a few years back, I forgot to get some of the most basic back to school essentials. I, then, found myself scrambling to get these supplies before a project was due or even between classes.
Thing is, these supplies are just simple staples to academic success and student life organization! It doesn’t matter if you’re a physical or digital note-taker in university. I was both! Some professors didn’t even allowed us to type notes on our laptops, can you believe it? So either way, this list is truly the essential for all university students heading into 2021!
These are my 30 back to school essentials for university students. They serve the purpose for note-taking, studying, and being all around organized and ready to tackle the semester!
I broke the list down to four categories:
- Safety First
- The Basics
- For Organizing
- For Studying
Let’s get started!
1 – Safety First
- Hand Sanitizers
In the world that we live in as of 2020, it is no doubt that hand sanitizers have been an essential for everyone on the go. I love my good old Purell!
2. Face Mask
Another everyday essential in a pandemic world is the still mandatory use of face masks. (In Canada we still have to wear them everywhere; universities included.) I would recommend having a reusable mask and some disposable masks just in case you lose your mask or get it dirty while you’re out.
3. On-the-Go Wipes
Another sanitizing essential comes in the form of on-the-go wipes. These are good to wipe any surfaces and seats you encounter in your day of commuting and changing classes!
4. Flash Drive
I’m putting a flash drive in the safety category because you do not want to lose your school work! Chances are you put a lot of work into them. I know I have. 15+ pages of academic essays? All lost? Unfathomable to me! No, thank you. I made sure to back up to a flash drive daily!
5. Laptop Pouch
Another safety item is a laptop pouch… Honestly, if you’re carrying your laptop sleeveless… you have a lot of faith in yourself and your backpack… I don’t. A laptop pouch is an absolute must or else my laptop would have suffered water damages, a cracked screen, scratches, etc., you get the gist.
2 – The Basics
When commuting, studying, or walking on campus, you might be like me and many others and in great need for headphones in order to listen to music, audiobooks, lectures, etc.
7. Reusable Water Bottle
A reusable water bottle is another essential basic that everyone needs to add to their back to school shopping list. It’s so important to keep hydrated throughout your day. Water helps your brain function and you need your brain! Right…? Plus, you don’t want to be wasting $$$ on water bottles.
8. Reusable Utensils
Similarly, reusable utensils are also a good idea to have on your person. Nowadays, I find that a lot of takeout places have stopped giving out cutlery to minimize the amount of items that are transmitted between people. Anyway, reusable utensils are also better for the environment and you’ll always have them handy when you bring your lunch to school.
9. Lunch Bag
A lunch bag is also a must have if you spend long days at school. (I once had 12-hours day at university and lived 2 hours away from home so I made sure to pack a lunch!) Lunch bags don’t have to be clunky or ugly. You can get one that pleases you aesthetically but is still convenient for you to carry!
Or, instead, you can carry an extra tote bag, I like doing that because if I purchase books I have somewhere to put them. They’re all good for carrying food or gym clothes/shoes.
11. Pencil Sharpener
12. Mechanical Pencils
If you don’t like pencils, mechanical pencils are definitely the way to go! (Although I still recommend having some pencils at your disposal, just in case.)
13. Mechanical Pencil Lead
If you’re using mechanical pencils, you’ll also need mechanical pencil lead! Don’t forget!
You’ll also need pens of many different colours for writing notes, studying, and even for exam taking. You’ll especially need black and blue pens for exams, tests, and in-class essays!
- Gel pens if you feel fancy during revision time.
PS: Pens of different colours can be work in your benefit if you’re a visual learner!
Obviously, you’ll also need whiteout to correct any mistakes you make by pen. This is super important especially during exam time. You don’t want to be that person panicking or having your copy littered with pen-like scratch marks. Your examiner definitely won’t enjoy that!
Similarly, you’ll also need highlighters of varying colours in order to highlight important passages, analyze texts, key dates and ideas, etc.
They’re one of the best tools for studying and to help you analyze any text. I probably went through hundreds of highlighters just in my undergrad alone!
17. Pencil Case
Evidently, you’ll need a cute pencil case to carry all of the above!
Staplers are another essential. The amount of times I finished writing and printing an essay just to scramble for a stapler on campus… too many! I mostly wrote and printed my essays at home precisely for that reason. You can also have mini stapler on the go! They come in handy and will save you the trouble if you’re printing outside from your home.
I just love buying notebooks in general but in case you forgot you needed a place to jot down your notes, I gotchu!
3- For Organizing
21. Planner or Agenda
Having a planner or an agenda will greatly help you keep organized in your every day student life. They can help you keep on track with readings, meetings, due dates, and etc. I highly recommend purchasing one for maximum academic success!
22. Folders and/or Binders
Believe it or not, a lot of professors still give out a lot of handouts and even require you to print out certain handouts for lectures and class discussions.
4 – For Studying
A lot of students have gone digital when it comes to studying and even note-taking. A tablet can be very convenient because it’s more versatile and lighter than lugging a laptop around. That’s why I loved reviewing lecture slides on my iPad!
24. Sticky Tabs
Sticky tabs are a must when you’re studying or doing lots of readings and research. As an English and French literature graduate, sticky tabs were a part of my every day necessity!
My wall is littered with post-its even while I am no longer a student. Why? Because I just slap them on my wall to really make sure not to forget a certain task. Then, it’s so rewarding to rip it off, crumple it, and send it to the trash. Not my most eco-friendly moment, but it’s needed sometimes. They’re also great for when you annotate longer passages in books and textbooks.
Bookmarks are also very practical especially when you’re deep in research, you want to be able to save your spot in multiple research books. At one point, I was bouncing between 15+ novels and library books during essay writing seasons.
27. Book Holder
I got a wooden book holder in my first year of uni and it absolutely changed my studying life. I propped the heaviest textbooks on one of these bad boys and voilà! It was super easy and efficient for me to take notes without always holding, looking down or losing my place inside of my textbooks.
28. Index Cards
Index cards are literally the old school way of studying and I love them. I find it much more beneficial to write and revise on index cards as opposed to online sites such as Quizlet (no hate on Quizlet though!)
30. Printing Paper
With a printer, you also absolutely need printing paper! Good news is that printing paper can be super cheap at the beginning of every semester so take advantage of the deals and get your stack of printing paper!
I hope you enjoyed this list of 30 back to school essentials for university students! Let me know if I missed anything on the list! Also let me know if you’re feeling ready for the upcoming year? Is there any specific back to school blog post that you would like for me to write? 💻
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