I had everything planned before I headed off to university for the first time. I planned too much actually. I bought many items, which it turns out, I did not need.
I wanted to write a list of essential items I actually used during my first year, things I didn’t use, and things that I will be switching to for the upcoming school year.
Laptop – This is probably an obvious one, since most people use their laptops pretty much everyday. I use mine everyday as well, but rarely to take notes for class, since I’m more of the “write notes on paper type”. After the first week or so, you get to know what type of lecture your prof will be giving and therefore know if you’ll be needing your laptop to take notes or not.
Even though I don’t use my laptop to take immediate notes, I do use it for research, social media (obviously), for keeping track of my classes and emails and to type my study notes for my various classes.
Printer – Pretty essential if you ask me. The one I have is the 4-in-1. It prints, scans, photocopies and faxes documents, pictures, you name it. The one thing that I don’t like about it is that it uses ink and not toner, meaning that it’s pretty slow at printing. The plus side is that it does double-sided printing automatically.
Mobile apps – To be honest, the only apps that I use on my phone that are school related are my university’s blackboard app (where all the profs handouts are located) and the Gmail app, which holds my school email.
Recorder – This has helped me when it came to my law classes or any class that didn’t have any powerpoint presentation made by the teacher. It was useful cause when the time came to review my notes, I could without a fuss and knew I was getting the correct information straight from the source I needed. Just make sure that you ask your prof before using your device because you may not be allowed.
Notebooks – I write my notes by hand so I remember them better, so for me notebooks are essential. Although, I will be changing the amount of notebooks I’ll be using from 5 to 1, which will be explained in the Note Taking post.
Highlighters – They are a magnificent invention. I’m really picky in the type of highlighters I use though because I don’t like when they bleed right through and I can’t read what’s on the other side. (It’s happened with the Dollarama brand) so I usually stick to Sharpie or Papermate. I recently (like 2 months ago) bought the BIC grip highlighters and they’re already starting to run out of ink. And I’m pretty sure I don’t use them more than the average student, so I’ll stick to the Sharpie and Papermate from now on.
Pens – Some people have their favourite brand of shoes, I have my preference with the type of pens I use. I love the papermate pens and have recently been introduced to the Pentel RSVP fine-point pens and I fell in love.
Markers – This may sound weird to some of you who are thinking “Why on earth is a university student using markers?” But they are great for colour coding flash cards, notes and my agenda. The Papermates felt tip pens are my current favorite.
Pencils – I don’t use mechanical pencils too often, but I’ll use them to write down some notes, and to write my exams should my profs let me use them since I can erase the mistakes I made and not have a page filled with white lines or scribbles.
Backpack – Depending on what kind of schedule I have that day, I’ll usually stick with a backpack just because it can hold a lot more than my purse. On a daily basis, I usually have at least 2 classes, which means 2 notebooks, plus books, plus possibly my laptop, a lunch and my work outfit if I’m working that day. In other words, my backpack is a life saver.