The School Supplies You Actually Need For College

The School Supplies You Actually Need For College

A list of essentials to succeed in your college classes.
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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:

1. Planner

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.

6. Stapler

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.

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You Don't Need A Significant Other To Have The Perfect College Experience, Trust Me On This One

Make them the best four years of your life and don't let the stereotypes, especially this one, hold you back.
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Everyone dreams of having the so-called, "perfect college experience." Now, what even is that supposed to be? Is it supposed to be the way that college is presented in just about every film and television show out there? I sure hope not because, news flash, college is nothing like that. Of course, it is fun and hopefully will be the best four years of your life, but it is also full of constant ups and downs and is nowhere near "perfect."

There are a countless amount of stereotypes surrounding the "perfect college life" due to how films and television shows present it. A few being that college kids are supposed to look like supermodels all the time, ditch class, eat unhealthily, sleep all the time, are all in a sorority/fraternity, party every night, and find the love of their life.

Now, let's be honest here, you will not be looking your best as you roll into your 8 a.m. class each morning, or honestly your 2 p.m. class either. Not everybody will join a sorority/frat, and if you do, you won't join one that throws banging parties every single night of the week to entertain the campus. And going off of that, you won't get dressed up every night of the week to go party hopping with your friends. College kids don't just sit in their room and eat chips; many work out daily, whether it be hitting up the gym or participating in a sport and hit up the cafeteria after and get a well-balanced meal.

Honestly, college isn't just fun and games, you may find yourself spending some time alone in your dorm room watching Netflix or working on homework, and that's ok!

The majority of people at college do care about their classes and the work that they put into them, as they should since they are paying a crazy amount of money for them. Also, college kids don't just sleep all the time? If anything they hardly sleep! I don't even know how that stereotype began?

Finally, the worst stereotype of them all.

Apparently, to have the "perfect college experience" you need to find the love of your life.

Ok, no. This is entirely not true. If somehow you are lucky and come across somebody who is your perfect match then good for you, I wish I was you, but honestly, you are just one of the lucky ones. If you go to a school with a little over 2,000 people like me, you cannot expect to show up on campus and instantly find the love of your life. Yeah, you might have a better chance at a larger school, but still, you shouldn't expect it.

So, in the meantime why would you have "finding a significant other" be the goal of your college experience?

Why not work on finding a fantastic group of friends instead of that perfect boy/girl? It is ok to be independent and spend your time letting loose, and having fun! It is quite alright to show up at a party with a bunch of your gal/guy pals. Who says you need to be holding hands with somebody to get into a party or sit down and eat in the caf? Get out there and live that college life.

Make it the best four years of your life, and don't let the stereotypes, especially this one, hold you back.

Trust me, you do not need a significant other to have the perfect college experience. Have fun, be yourself, find some awesome friends, and you will have the time of your life. You don't need to be in love with somebody to have all that.

Cover Image Credit: Corbyn Jenkins

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What Don't You Have Time For?

Paying attention to your priorities
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Last week, my article consisted of inspirational quotes for when life gets hectic. As I enter into yet another week that is filled with papers, tests, meetings every night, and other commitments, I find myself pressed for time. A lot of things in my life, I am realizing, I "don't have time" for. But what does this really mean?

What does it mean when we say we "don't have time" for something?

There is a quote from the Wall Street Journal that comes to mind when reflecting on this issue:

"Instead of saying, 'I don't have time', try saying 'it's not a priority,' and see how that feels. Often, that's a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don't want to. But other things are harder. Try it: 'I'm not going to edit your resume, sweetie, because it's not a priority.' 'I don't go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.' If these phrases don't sit well, that's the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don't like how we're spending an hour, we can choose differently."

I have read this quote multiple times before, and it always has the same effect of forcing me to really think about my time and where it is going. Lately, I "haven't had time" to go to the gym or to journal or to pray. When my mom texted me last night to check in, I realized I also "haven't had time" to call home in over a week. I don't say this to judge myself or bring myself down.

I say this to call to attention that when I say "I don't have time" for things, this is revelatory of what my priorities are in the moment.

Right now, my priorities lie in schoolwork and juggling various social activities and clubs. No, there is nothing wrong with these things: a hard work ethic and strong bonds and relationships with those around me can do no harm, they actually strengthen me as a person. Still, it is important to realize what a certain emphasis on these two things can mean for other areas of my life, like self-care and relationships at home, and how these other two areas may be lacking right now.

Maybe I'm not ready to start making the changes for better habits or whatever else, but I have always found awareness to be the first step.

I hope that by even taking the time to reflect on where my time is going, what I am actually "doing" with my life, and what I am not doing at the moment, I will be brought into a new direction of choosing my time more carefully, and shifting my priorities.

Making sure your time is going to the right places takes self sacrifice.

If you want schoolwork to be a greater priority, it may mean giving up that one Netflix episode you've been dying to watch. If getting to the gym is one, it may mean getting to bed earlier so you'll be well rested for when you wake up early the next morning.

But for me, at least, shifting your lifestyle to one where you are happy with where your time is going, happy with your priorities, makes all the difference.

So, I urge you, readers, to think about your time. Think about the language you've used in the past days, weeks, or months: what are you saying you "don't have time" for, and do you really not have time for it or is it just not a priority? Think about whether or not you want to make any of these things a priority in the future, or if you want to change the way you use your time. Maybe you'll find that you are using your time perfectly for you; that could be the case. But do the exercise anyway, it can't hurt to consider what you might want to add or subtract from your life.



Talk to you next time,

Sam






Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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