This is the last week I have before school starts, and I know because I have been getting emails from professors about assignments they want done by the time we arrive to our first class. It makes me laugh a little, because a week ago my sister and my boyfriend were picking on me when I brought up having summer homework in high school. Now here I am, doing more summer work.
Anyway, while every teacher personalizes their own supply list for class, there are some essentials that every student needs to have handy. I thought I would open up my backpack and share mine for today’s blog post before they get packed away.
Looking at the syllabi for my classes, I have noticed that I have a lot of books to carry. When I think of the rest of the things on this list and how I want to continue to take care of myself more, I don’t want to become the Hunchback of Notre Dame. So I think it’s important to consider all the things that you have to carry and pick a proper backpack. I’m not at a place where I can have a locker for use, but I think you’re lucky if you do.
After attending both of my orientations, I have found that the most common advice that people give to grad students is time management. Lucky for me, I have always loved organizing my life in a planner, so of course it is a staple for me. Some people might do better with the calendar on their phone reminding them of all their things, and that’s great for you. But for me, I am trying to disconnect as much as I can, and I am more mindful when I get the opportunity to hand write everything. Which brings me to my next point…
Pens, Pencils, and an Eraser or Two
These days, a lot of people love taking notes on a laptop or an iPad. I know that I also carry around a laptop, but like I previously mentioned, I am more mindful when I get to handwrite things. There’s something about the memory processing that happens when I hear something and then physically interact with it. Plus, it is a great excuse to have to interact with someone if you have it or need one (have you read Beach Read by Emily Henry? Prime example.)
Notebook, or a Binder with Paper, or Folders
For this semester, I have gotten different binders designated for different classes, and I’m excited to decorate them. I came to this decision thinking that I’m going to have a lot of handouts, so I don’t think a folder and notebook was going to cut it for me. But it is important to have a place to put all of your handouts, and a place to keep all your notes, so look at your class syllabi and decide for yourself what you need.
Lip Balm and Sanitizer
For me, I think it’s important to wear a smile in everything that you do, which can be a hard thing to do when your lips are chapped. That’s why I like to keep at least one one in my bag, and sometimes I will throw an extra one in if I feel like I need a specific color to match my outfit. Sometimes, by the end of the semester, my pencil case ends up being more lip products than pens and pencils for this reason.
I think sanitizer is important because there are strains of COVID still going around, there’s monkeypox now, and I think flu season is just around the corner. For that reason, it’s important to make sure that you are staying clean. Masks are currently optional, but it is important to protect yourself and others.
Water Bottle and Snacks
You already knew this if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. For me, snacks are essential to have on hand because I have a tendency to eat small meals. That means that I get hungry sooner too, so I like to have a granola bar or a bag of chips in my backpack just in case. A water bottle is always essential for hydration, but it is also useful to have on hand when you’re giving a presentation and need to clear your throat.
This isn’t a necessity for class, but I like to have a pair on hand in case I need to disconnect. Sometimes life can feel overwhelming, and I need an escape of sorts. That’s when I like to hop on my phone, scroll social media, maybe escape into a TV Show or movie, and of course I love listening to podcasts. So in case I need a temporary escape, I always have headphones on hand. It’s important to be prepared for any situation, which brings me to the last item on my essentials list.
Maybe this is an old fashioned notion, but I appreciate the security of having cash on hand. Whether I need a snack because the one I had wasn’t enough or because I need to buy a new pair of headphones because mine broke, I like to be prepared for any occasion. And of course, you never know when you need to rely on coffee or something else.
Did I cover all of the backpack essentials? What would you include in your backpack that I might have missed? If you aren’t going back to school this semester, what are you looking forward to this fall? I would love to know in the comments below!
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