Since everyone is getting ready to go back to school, I’ve gathered a list of supplies that I use every semester (other than the obvious backpack and laptop). This post does contain affiliate links, so if you purchase any of these, at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission (which I think is kinda exciting!).
If you’ve been able to tell anything about me from my posts, one of them should be that I love gel pens. Seriously, if you want to make me super happy, just give me a gel pen. These pens are just fun to write with, and I like that they come in different colors. It makes my whole color coding scheme work a whole lot better. Regular pens are okay to write with, but there’s just something about a gel pen gliding across the surface of the paper (and now you’re starting to think that I’m really weird…and that’s okay, too!).
Highlighters are very important when I am studying. While I’m not one to draw in my textbooks, I will highlight my notes and my study sheets. Remember the whole color coding thing I talked about in my best ways to study? Sometimes I need to write down so many different things (for example, when drawing out a metabolism map) that I run out of gel pen colors. Highlighters are very handy (the best thing about the ones linked above is that you can still read what you highlighted even when using the blue and purple pens!)
I never thought I would need dry erase markers for college. My school is covered in whiteboards, and it turns out that when you’re trying to study, it’s a whole lot easier mapping things out on a whiteboard than it is paper, where it takes a whole lot more work to erase (and when you’ve gotten everything perfect, your paper is kinda ugly). Dry erase markers were scarce to find at my school, so having a pack of them on hand is very useful.
I’ll admit it. These are not nearly as fun as gel pens, but they do come in handy, especially when you have professors who still use scantrons (where you have to fill in the bubble). Maybe one day I’ll be able to use a gel pen for these…
As you know from my post on study tips, planners will literally save your grade. There are so many different planners and so many different styles, so pick one that suits your personality! Just make sure to use it ;).
Spiral bound notebooks are really important. I use these spiral notebooks to take notes on the textbook and lecture. Much like planners, you can get these in almost any color or design that you want.
The spiral notebook almost never goes in my backpack, unless I’m prepping for a test. It stays at home, in the same place (that way I don’t lose it). To take all of my notes for the day, I just put a bunch of loose-leaf paper in a binder. I then come home and copy/rewrite my notes down into the spiral bound notebook. The repetition helps me learn.
There are times when a professor will give you paper, such as the syllabus or print-outs. Sometimes they already punch holes in them for your binder. Other times, they don’t. It’s really useful to have a three-hole punch at your disposal.
Something I wish I had implemented earlier was using a folder for my labs. Having to lug around a notebook that has all of the notes for your other classes and place it on the microbiology bench so you can take your notes isn’t the best thing to do, especially if you’re trying to avoid contamination. Oftentimes, you only need one or two pieces of paper anyways, so having such a large notebook is unnecessary when in a lab. Using a folder to hold the pertinent pieces of paper keeps all your potentially contaminated things together (instead of mixing with your other notes).
These are good to throw in your backpack. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ll be sitting there, taking notes during class, when all of a sudden, I’ll remember that I need to get gas on the way home or email someone. My brain is not good at remembering random things like this, so I grab a sticky note, write it down, and then slap that onto the page of notes I’m currently composing. Then, after class, I’ll remember that I put a sticky note in my notebook, and then I’ll either set an alarm, write it down in my planner, or complete it then, depending on what it was.
Sometimes overlooked, index cards are really helpful. When you’re trying to memorize the different amino acids or make flashcards for your chemistry exam, index cards are important. I have used online flashcards like Quizlet, but, much like reading an actual textbook, I find that I learn the material better with actual flashcards, too.
Many times professors will give you an assignment that you need to print out on your own. Assuming that you’re able to use your campus’ printer, you’ll probably want to make sure your papers stay together and don’t get mixed up. Binder clips can come in handy for more than just keeping papers together, too.
Now, while I did include links to these products on Amazon, you don’t need to buy from there. Sometimes you can find these things cheaper from Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or sometimes even Walmart. We used to buy our back to school items after people had already gone back to school (but that only works if you already have what you need on-hand for this year). We have a school-stash that we bought on clearance last year, and we’ll replace that when things go on sale again this year. Don’t break the bank and don’t buy anything unnecessary (that won’t help you graduate debt-free).
If you are not 100% sure that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, now is the time to repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. If you have any questions or doubts about your salvation, click here to learn how you can be saved!