It’s officially school supply season, according to the back to school aisles at Walmart, Target, and Office Max and every other store in the world, it seems.
School supply shopping can be super overwhelming but it can also be exciting. It’s fun to pick out which color notebook you want for which class and stock up on your favorite pencils and choose the cutest folder with the cutest puppy on it. But when you go to college, school supply shopping can be really confusing. Teachers aren’t going to tell you what you need because frankly, they don’t care. Other than your textbooks and your brain, they don’t care what else you bring to class.
School supplying shopping is all about knowing yourself and your study and note-taking habits, but for your first semester, you might need some guidance. That’s why I’m here. I’ve been down the path eight times, eight semesters worth of college school supplies, and I’ve learned a thing or two that I’m going to share to you.
Here are five must-have school supplies for college that you might not have needed back in high school.
1) Note cards
Studying in college is a lot more intense than studying in high school, even if you took AP courses. Note cards can be a saving grace though. They can be used as study materials across disciplines. Luckily, they are super cheap and easy to pack around with you. Stick your note cards in your purse, your backpack or even your pocket when you’re studying for a big test. Having the physical note cards in front of you have also been found to be more effective than digital ones, especially during the process of creating the note cards, which is a study tactic all its own. I also used note cards as quick to do lists in college and to remind myself of the layout of upcoming tests.
2) A flash drive
Because so much of college is digital, a flash drive is the new binder. Not only are flash drives integral to preventing a catastrophe when your computer breaks during finals period, flash drives can also be extremely helpful when doing group projects. For me, flash drives were most useful for big projects like data sets and entire textbooks that I needed to access regularly, but didn’t want taking up space on my desktop. Flash drives are usually pretty cheap, but if you can afford to pay more for a larger one, you’ll reap its rewards for longer. I recommend getting a flash drive that you can attach to your key chain or wallet so you’re less likely to lose it.