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Back to college essentials

Beginning the fall semester with a clean slate takes a considerable amount of planning and preparation. Unfortunately we’re no longer in elementary school where buying school supplies was as simple following the supply list you got at orientation and finding the cutest new pencil case. With this newfound responsibility, it’s important to find out what your personal tools for succeeding are. It’s time to decide where you stand on what might be the most important debate of your college career: notebooks v. binders, pens v. pencils and notecards v. sticky notes.
Rather than praying your college guardian angel is watching over you, follow this list to make the most out of your first day.

  1. Your backpack

If you’re a few semesters deep into your college career, you’ve probably gotten to the point where shoving a pencil into your purse or pocket is the full extent of your morning routine. Even though you won’t feel like carrying it around everyday, make sure you have a backpack for those days when 20-pound textbooks are an unfortunate necessity.

  1. An agenda

You might think you’re one of those people who doesn’t need to write things down to remember them, but with a full load of classes, various extracurricular activities and social obligations to worry about, do yourself a favor and write down your schedule. Luckily, on-campus groups such as Student Government or Programming Board usually hand out free planners on the library lawn during Week of Welcome.

  1. Pencils and pens

Hint for this one: pens are helpful for your writing intensive classes; pencils are better for the math intensive.

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  1. Highlighters

Studies have shown that color coordinating during note taking is an essential part of committing information to your memory. If highlighting isn’t your thing, studies say writing in cursive may also help you retain information. Plus, you often write faster that way once it’s mastered.

  1. Notecards, notepads and sticky notes

Studying the right way is just as important as studying the right material. Notecards are incredibly helpful for quizzing yourself before big exams. Notepads are great for quickly jotting down notes during a lecture or while reading. Post-it notes or tabs are useful for annotating textbooks and picking out useful material. Find your favorite method or combine the three for optimum study efficiency.

  1. Spiral notebooks and binders

Whether spirals or binders are your preference, make sure you have a way to separate and organize your notes and papers for different classes. You can do this either by purchasing divided tabs or getting a notebook with multiple sections.

  1. Flash drive

We’ve all had the moment of terror when your laptop dies mid-paper. Backing up your work and then backing it up again is an essential tool for keeping your sanity as a college student of the digital age.
There you have it, the seven essential items for shaking off the summer and getting your mind ready for the upcoming semester. Happy studying, Eagles!

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    Laura O'DonnellJul 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    This isn’t necessarily an essential item, but when I went to college I was so homesick, so I decorated my whole dorm room in lots of pictures of my friends and family. It made me feel more at home and helped with the transition. The only downside was that my room looked crazy cluttered, so for those who may get home sick, an essential to help transition could be a digital photo frame. I recently bought one from Nixplay ( and I’m so in love with it!