College Survival Guide: Backpack Edition

Everyone talks about what you need to pack for college, especially for those who are moving out to live on campus.


You hear about dorm transformations and tips for living on campus. What about people who don't? What should freshmen pack in their backpacks as they prepare for their classes?

Here are some tips on what to bring to class, with some additional study tips I've learned so far my freshman year. Thank me later.

1. Notebooks. LOTS of notebooks.

Fancycrave (Minimography.com)

I know in middle and high school, you were used to bringing a binder for all of your classes. College is different; you don't have to stay on campus all day long since you can plan your classes on your own. This means packing less.

I would recommend getting a small 75 page notebook for each class or subject. They are pretty cheap, and there are always back to school sales at places like Walmart and Target. You can also get a 5 subject notebook if you don't like the idea of keeping separate notebooks. I recommend the Five Star brand!

2. Two folders. Why two?

Pixabay (Auricam)

Folders are one of the best ways to keep your worksheets, extra notebook paper, and essays together. It is a lot better to keep your papers neat and accessible in a paper or plastic folder than to shove all of it in your backpack. That's a no go. Keep one folder for graded assignments (if you keep them) and extra loose-leaf notebook paper. Use the other for homework, worksheets, and important documents.

Lots of people have their own ways of keeping their classwork in a safe place, but I have found that folders are an inexpensive but effective way to do this!

3. Sticky notes. What a classic.

Pixabay (jessica45)

If you need to annotate an article, book, or poem, sticky notes are a great way to do that! Sticky notes make it easy to take notes and comment on your reading without the need to pull out a big notebook. This way, the annotations are already on the text itself! Sticky notes are also great for jotting down quick reminders. You can get them in all sorts of colors, from basic light yellow to hot pink. I'm also a fan of Post-it's Page Marking Flags -- they are awesome for marking important pages in readings.

4. A calendar/planner. 

Kaboompics (Karolina Grabowska)

This is one of the most important things you can invest in! Make sure to add in all of the important dates in your college schedule as you get the syllabi for your classes. This will keep you organized, and you will be able to think ahead and finish work early as a result. Always write things down, especially important due dates and events. Your brain just isn't able to retain so much information on its own. Target always has great yearly planners!

5. Extra pens and pencils.

Kaboompics (Karolina Grabowska)

Some college students pack just one pen or pencil in their bag, and they almost always lose it and are forced to ask the professor or a fellow student for one. Don't be that student. Always come prepared! Keep a few wooden #2 pencils handy for machine-graded exams and to give to students who need one to write with. Ticonderoga #2 pencils are the best wooden pencils money can buy.

6. A light jacket or cardigan.

Unsplash (Jazmin Quaynor)

This is for all of my cold-natured people! If you're sensitive to the cold like me, bring a light jacket to throw on in those cold classrooms. This will save you so many times!

7. Highlighters.

Pixabay (BookBabe)

I recommend always looks over your notes after class! This will help your brain retain the information you recently learned, and this makes for less study time and less stress. Highlighting vocabulary, formulas items, or quotes will allow the most important information be a priority to remember. Highlighters come in so many colors now, and they are inexpensive. I recommend the Sharpie Clear View Stick Highlighters; they don't dry out as fast as the others do, and the ink doesn't smudge!

8. Mini stapler -- tiny ​but ​functional!

Pixabay (Gadini)

Chances are, most of your professors won't staple papers for you. They might not have a stapler in the classroom. Get a mini stapler! Not only is it a cuter compact version of the classroom staple, but it's very useful! A ton of my classmates have asked to borrow it when stapling essays or classwork, so it's an essential that a lot of people forget about! Depending on the brand and size, these can range from $2 to $5.

And those are all of your school essentials! You will not only go to class prepared, but you will go to your classes knowing that you have everything you need! Of course, this list doesn't include college textbooks and other class-required texts, but just know that those are also very important to bring.

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21 Things You Say To Your Roommate If You Two Are Practically A Married Couple

Until I made this list, I didn't realize how absurdly close my roommate and I were. #sorrynotsorry

Let's be real: you and your roommate have said these things at least one to each other.

1. "Can you turn the light off?"

2. "We probably shouldn't go out for dinner again...right?"

*Complains about not having money* *Spends $8 on Chipotle three times a week*

3. "I always pick where we go"

This is a fight you have with your roommate almost every day when you're roommate is as indecisive as mine.

4. "Do you have my keys?"

5. "Can you pick me up?"

6. "Is it hot in here?"

7. "Does this outfit look stupid?"

The answer is usually yes. No offense.

8. "Can you throw this out for me?"

9. "Can we get ice cream?"

10. "I need coffee."

This text is usually sent when you know your roomie is out running errands... errands you know are near a Starbucks.

11. "Can you tell me what happened?"

12. "Are you asleep?"

There have been times where I couldn't tell if you were asleep or dead... and I had to say this out loud to check if you were alive.

13. "Check your DM's."

*Cracks up in the middle of nowhere* *Catches a weird stare from your roomie across the room*

14. "Can you plug this in for me?"

15. "Can you pick a movie?"

Another instance where "I always pick" happens.

16. "Look at this girl's Instagram."

*Chucks phone across the room at roommate*

17. "Can you call me?"

18. "Can we meet up?"

19. "Can you help me find my phone?"

*Tries to leave the house to do something* *Loses phone* Every. Time.

20. "What should we do tonight?"

*Tries to get ready to do something fun* *Ends up staying in for another girls' night*

21. "Why isn't everyone as great as us?"


Cover Image Credit: Juliarose Genuardi

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10 Tips To Prepare For Your Freshman Year Of College

Tips and tricks for college freshman year.


Obviously, I am not an expert on college life yet, being that I am only a high school senior. Barely hanging on these last couple weeks of school. I have been preparing for my freshman year of college since the start of my senior year. It is an overwhelming, stressful process and it takes a lot of preparation and time to get it all done. I wanted to give some tips and advice on how I started my process and how I have gotten through it. Starting a new chapter can be really scary, especially if you have no idea what you are doing, I am the oldest sibling in my family, and I am the first to go through this crazy process called college. Though I was uncertain exactly what I needed to do and how to do it, I figured it out and here's how I did it.

1. Have a planner

This is going to be your best friend. It helps you keep your life organized (or at least it makes you feel like you do) and assures you that you meet deadlines. Since I can remember I have always used a planner and it helps me so much. I wouldn't know what to do without it. I have all the dates for when things need to be turned in- like housing and such, and also I have up to when classes start next fall. A planner is so helpful and would recommend getting one if you don't have one already.

2. Talk to friends about their experience

This has honestly been one of the top life savors. I have gotten so much advice from my friends that are in college and they give me the inside scoop and what to do and what not to do.

3. Do your research

Research the school, research clubs and activities that you may be interested in. Get familiar with what is on and off campus.

4. Visit the campus

Photo by Olivia Holler

I am lucky enough that I am only an hour and a half away from campus and it doesn't take long to get there so I just go when I feel like it. But visiting and being on campus several times defiantly has made me feel more comfortable and more at ease than I would be if I had not visited at all.

5. Embrace times with friends and family

Photo By Olivia Holler

This is the last summer with you In your house as a full time member. Embrace it! Be with your friends and family as much as you can. You are going to miss them just as much as you are going to miss them.

6. Start doing things on your own

I am already pretty independent but I struggled like starting to make my own dinners because I have been fortunate enough where my parent always took care of dinner. But now they are making me responsible for making my own dinner. Which was a really tough life altering thing for me. It may not seem like it but it was for me. But start doing your own laundry. making your own dinner, getting things yourself etc.

7. Make list

This and my planner have been my saving grace. If I didn't have it there was going to be no progress on the thing called college.

8. Manage your time

This is pretty self explanatory, there is a lot to do during the college process. Be sure not to procrastinate and know when things are due so you can get everything on time.

9. Take summer classes if needed

If you know you are going to be behind in a class, take some summer classes. For example, I am a little behind in math, and I have to take all the way up to college algebra in order to graduate college. Well, I knew I didn't want to take math all four years of college and I knew I was behind. So I am taking some summer courses to not only finish with math earlier but just to be ahead of the game.

10.  Gather everything you need for college!

Make sure you have everything you need for the big day. Set apart some days before move in day to take time and pack whatever you may need so you don't forget anything.

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