If you’re like me, you enjoy shopping for school supplies a little too much. The notebook aisle in Wal-Mart was always a must when your mom dragged you along on her grocery shopping trips. There’s just something about blank pages and full ink pens that says potential and new beginnings. Also, if you’re like me, getting a school supply list was one of your favorite parts of the summer. You couldn’t wait to go to the store and pick out the fanciest binders, pencils and folders.
But now that you’re in college and there is no school supply list, what do you do?
Most people go overboard buying school supplies freshman year of college because they’re accustomed to high school necessities, but in college, you actually need way less. Here are the essentials:
Everyone needs a planner. College gets really busy really quickly, and keeping a written agenda of all the assignments you have to do, events you have to go to, and dates you have to remember lets you stay on top of everything, rather than letting it overwhelm you. Some of the best student planners are the Plum Paper Student Planner, the Lilly Pulitzer Agenda, or the classic Mead Student Planner. These planners are more detailed and tailored to students, but a simple monthly planner works, too.
2. A single notebook
You may be tempted to buy a five-subject notebook for each class because that was necessary in high school, but if you do, you'll be wasting a lot of paper. One option is to buy one giant notebook to take to all your classes. Another option is a small notebook for each class so you can keep them separated, but if you're like me, you might take the wrong one to class once or twice (or several times). I like to take all my notes in one place--a five-subject notebook--and label them by class so that I can organize them later.
3. A binder for each class
In my opinion, binders are the best way to organize your notes. You can rip your in-class notes out of your notebook and arrange them in an order that makes the most sense to you. It also makes it easier to insert handouts, readings, and other notes, and they'll all be in the right order, rather than separated and mixed up like in a notebook.
4. Erasable pens
Erasable pens are the greatest things ever invented. OK,
that might be pushing it, but they are a must-have for college. Life is so much
easier when you can color-code your notes and dates in your planner, but plans
change and you make mistakes, and scribbles just make everything confusing. I
recommend these. I use them in my planner and for
taking notes in class.
5. Sticky notes & highlighters
You might forget to buy sticky notes, but they are a must-have, especially for studying in textbooks you plan on returning. College consists of a lot more studying the textbook than in high school, and taking notes on a separate piece of paper can be tedious and unhelpful. Sticky notes and highlighters let you study faster and easier, and they make you look and feel super studious, too.
You might not think to buy the basic office supplies you could find around your house, but you'll be surprised how often you need something you don't have in your dorm. So, save yourself some time and trips to the library and get yourself your very own stapler. And while you're at it, you'll probably need a three-hole-punch, too. Congratulations, you're an adult.
In addition to these essentials, you might need to buy a few other things depending on what your professors ask of you, but these are the basics that will get you through most classes with ease. As you can see, you probably need less than you did in high school. Now you can save the money you would've spent on too many school supplies and use it for your textbooks, which, unfortunately, are not way less than you think.