The start of a new semester is a great time to take stock of your school supplies and make sure that you have what you need to be successful. Making the extra effort to prepare for your first few weeks of school will help set the tone for a productive year and put you on the right track toward achieving your goals.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of essentials that can play a vital role in helping you prepare for and stay organized throughout the semester. All of these items may not apply to everyone’s lifestyle, but they’re a good place to begin. Start this semester off on the right foot with these 11 work and school must-haves:
- Backpack or bag: Consider investing in a backpack or bag that can hold your computer, your textbooks and other necessities. Choose a spacious bag that is also durable to help store everything you need for work, class, and in-between.
- Planner: A planner is essential to staying organized both in and out of school. It allows you to keep track of your assignments and personal commitments all in one place. Make a habit of taking out your planner at the beginning and end of each day to make any modifications to your schedule or add assignments to your to-do list.
- Headphones: A pair of earbuds or headphones can help block out external distractions so you can focus on your studies. If you find it difficult to listen to music while studying, consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones to give yourself the gift of a completely silent work environment, no matter where you are.
- Laptop or tablet: A personal device — whether it’s a laptop or a tablet — gives you the ability to complete online assignments from wherever you are. Take it to work to study on your lunch break, or put your tablet in your bag to check classwork when you’re out and about.
- Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated offers a variety of benefits, including increased energy and mental clarity. Plus, drinking water is especially beneficial during the winter months to ward off sickness. Instead of drinking your H2O from a plastic water bottle, consider a reusable water bottle, which is better for the environment. You can fill it up multiple times throughout the day and reap all the benefits of staying hydrated.
- Notecards: Keeping a pack of notecards on hand is a smart idea, especially if you’re taking a course that requires a lot of memorization. Notecards make it easy to organize course material and can be a great study tool before exam time. They’re easy to take with you when you’re on the go, so you can study whenever you have some extra downtime.
- Snacks/gum: Having snacks or gum with you can help alleviate those late-morning or late-afternoon hunger pangs. Granola bars or dried fruit are a healthy snack choice to hold you over until your next meal.
- Colored pens: Some students like to color-code their planners, or use highlighters to distinguish important terms or information. Highlighters and pens are helpful tools to have on hand if you like to keep your notes organized.
- Emergency kit: Build yourself a small emergency kit so you are prepared for any sort of inconvenience you might encounter throughout the day. Fill a small zipper bag with any of the below travel-sized items:
- Hair ties/scrunchies/bobby pins
- Cough drops
- Nail clippers/file
- Over-the-counter medicines (for headaches, stomach issues, etc.)
- Plus anything else you think you may need!
- Membership with Amazon.com: Amazon is a great place to rent textbooks and order supplies at discounted rates. The site makes it easy to search for books by their ISBN number and offers rental rates that are cheaper than buying books new. A membership with Amazon Prime Student also offers college students free shipping and access to special sales.
- Reliable study space: A dedicated study space is essential for any college student. This could be a room at the local library or your desk at home — wherever you’re the most productive. If you don’t have a dedicated study space, look for a spot that has good lighting and a low noise level so you can focus without interruptions.
These are just a few of the items that I’ve found to be most helpful in my student life. Having these essentials will help you stay organized and on track for a successful semester!