The Friday Five: School Supply Must-Haves

With the first day of school fast approaching, we find ourselves preparing in every way possible to start the new year off on the right foot. We check and re-check our schedules to make sure we’ve picked out the classes we need. We sort through our closets, pairing together the perfect outfits and heading to the mall to find our missing pieces (yes, even in college we still do this). However, sometimes — especially in high school and college — we don’t know what school supplies to stock up on, because our instructors don’t usually tell us what to bring on the first day. As you hit the stores for your tax-free shopping weekend, keep your eyes peeled for some of these fool-proof school supplies that will be useful no matter what classes you take.

The Friday Five: School Supply Must-Haves

1. Daily planner.
A daily planner is a key ingredient to developing better time management skills, which ultimately benefits students both in and out of the classroom. Using an agenda to record assignments and important dates is a good way to avoid missing assignments, forgetting to study for an exam or overbooking yourself one night next week. I just received my Plan-It daily fashion planner from Student Media Group (pictured above… sorry that the photo is flipped!) and I love that it allows me to see each month at a glance and look at individual days of the week. It is also made from completely recycled materials! Click here to check out some of their gorgeous cover designs.

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2. Writing utensils.
Even if you plan on using your laptop to take notes in class, you never know when a pen or a pencil may come in handy. I know you might just be tempted to ask the cute guy sitting next to you if he has an extra, but don’t rely on his hospitality for too long or else you’ll become one of those dreaded school supply leeches. Besides, you can always find other conversation openers that don’t include, “Can I borrow a pen?”

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3. Three-prong folders.
Yes, I am aware that we are no longer in third grade and that we don’t have to hole-punch every handout we receive in class, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Keeping our papers in prongs instead of letting them hang around loose in the folders allows us to remain organized and to find our papers with greater ease. You can never go wrong with buying at least one of these folders for each class you take; in fact, for a dollar you can usually purchase several of them.

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4. Notebooks.
Like folders, I suggest at least one notebook per class. While folders can get messy if you don’t keep up with them, your notebook pages will never be separated unless you tear them out, which means that everything will be in the right order. Personally, I like to write in spiral notebooks (especially when I can get the cool ones with Batman or pretty designs on the cover), but composition books and even moleskine notebooks work well, too, depending on your preferences.

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5. Index cards.
Studying patterns vary by student, and there is no one technique that works for everyone. However, I have always found that having a generous selection of index cards can be extremely helpful when studying for an upcoming test or practicing a speech. Index cards are great for recording pieces of information and quizzing yourself. My grades have usually been higher in the classes where I made flash cards prior to the exams, and I have often had classmates beg to study with me because of the cards I made. Always have at least two packets of index cards in your desk so that you can be prepared for any upcoming quiz or test.

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What school supplies do you always stock up on?

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4 comments

  1. Index cards are my must-have, and have been since third grade. I have yet to find a better way to study and quiz myself. Last semester I had a day planner, but I never really used it. I cheaped out at the store and bought one that didn’t work for me. But I’ve learned my lesson now, and got one that I really love.

    Three-prong folders are a really good idea, because I ended up losing most of my hand-outs last semester. I was lucky enough to have copies that my teachers sent me, but it’d be nice to avoid the headache this time.

    The one thing I didn’t have last year that I really, really could have used? A watch. I always break or lose my watches, and I lose track of the time so fast that hours can go by without my noticing.

    1. I haven’t had a watch in years, but they really do come in handy! I always use my cell phone to check the time, but I can’t do that in class because it’s disrespectful. A glance at your watch can be the perfect reminder of how much time you have left, or how much time you should devote to a particular activity, without getting too side-tracked.

  2. Instead of going the spiral binder route, I’ve found the 3-ring binder with looseleaf paper works quite well too! Also, I should probably get a planner or something so I can keep track of things a little better

    1. The binder can work just as well! I use binders if I know I’ll be taking a few notes, but not enough for a notebook, and when I know I will be getting a ton of handouts. Planners are great to have — you should definitely invest in one and keep up with it! 🙂 They really help me.

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