White Out Tape
This one is a must for me. When you’re on your umpteenth hour of studying your mind can start to mix up letters, compromising your precious study notes. With white out tape, you can easily remove these mistakes and continue on writing as if your mind had not been signalling you of some kind of malfunction. White out tape is also much better than the old school liquid white out because it’s more accurate, you don’t have to wait 20 minutes for it to dry before writing again (or risk ruining your pens), and your pages won’t stick together if you happen to forget that you had applied it.
When you are shopping for school supplies this year, make sure that you go for pens that feel comfortable in your hands and don’t leave you aching within the first two minutes of note writing. You will be able to get a lot more done if your hands are not callused and aching, and this usually just means that you have the avoid buying the cheapest varieties. It may cost you a few more cents (or dollars, depending on how many pens you get at once), but the pay-off is definitely worth it. Buy the BIC pens, just buy the BIC pens that won’t give you arthritis before you’re 30.
These are a valuable asset to have when studying, especially if you can’t find a seat on the quiet floors of your library, study in public, or live in a house with a lot of hustle and bustle. Plugging in can help you block out what’s going on around you and help you focus directly on what you need to be focused on.
If you are very easily distracted by noise, springing for noise cancelling headphones can be an amazing investment. However, everybody studies better in different environments. Some need no noise to study, while others need a little but of white noise or murmur to stay focused. SONY has great over-the-ear headphones that are super cheap, stylish, and can cut out quite a bit of noise if you can’t afford a fancy-shmancy pair, and are available pretty much world-wide at the same low price.
Backpack with Comfortable Straps
When you are carrying around 5 massive textbooks to-and-from school on the daily, along with your laptop, lunch and other necessary school supplies, a backpack that is sturdy, comfortable and ergonomic is a must (if you don’t want to end up looking like Quasimodo). DaKine has amazing backpacks for this purpose. They are extremely comfortable, have centre straps for the heaviest days, include laptop pockets, built in cooler pockets, and are actually fashionable too. Having all of these benefits and being fashionable is rare to find, plus, if you’re not careless with your personal items, the backpack could last you through 6+ years of university like mine did.
Another note of advice when buying backpacks is to get one in a neutral colour. Getting a trendy colour or pattern may seem like a good idea for a week, but then it becomes impossible to make an outfit without clashing with it and you get sick of your investment really quick. Instead, pick a colour that goes with most of your closet (ex. black, grey, brown) and that doesn’t show stains easily (ex. NOT white).
Dry Erase Calendar
Dry erase calendars have become my saviour during school. It’s a great way to visualize and plan my entire month of assignments, appointments, meetings and exams. Being able to visualize the month ahead helps to make sure that 1) you don’t forget about any important assignments or exams and 2) you can plan out when you can and cannot actually work on your assignments or study for your exams. This is especially important for students who have to work during school. The calendar is a great way to make sure that you don’t overbook or double-book yourself. I like to keep my calendar right above my desk so if I start to stare into space while studying, my eye catches how many days I don’t have left to study and that helps me get back to focusing really quickly.
Many schools provide planners for their students for free or for a relatively cheap price (compared to Moleskine or other day planners available at places like Chapters and Indigo). These are used similarly to the dry erase calendars, but for more specific day-to-day goals and tasks. The key to using a day planner effectively is to get one (or make one) that suits your style of planning.
There are planners that fit three days into one page, and others that allow you to plan your day day out hour-by-hour. Others have space for goal setting, and some have inspirational quotes on every new page. You can also make your own planner by creating a bullet journal, or by customizing your own on one of the many websites that will mail you your personalized planner (such as www.erincondren.com). In high school, I would use the school’s provided planner, but customize the provided blocks to plan for each class, as opposed to each day, by Sharpie-ing over the basic design.
This tip goes for any kind of stationary that you get for the school year; notebooks, sticky notes, laptop cases, pens, pencil cases, binders or dividers. If you get stationary that has designs, pictures or cover art that is appealing to you, then you are much more likely to use those supplies. This is a great trick to get yourself to study more. If you like your notebooks, you’re much more likely to open them up and start using them.
If you can’t afford or find any stationary that you like, personalizing them on your own can be an affordable and fun way to reap the same benefits. The dollar store has tons of cheap stationary and art supplies for you to do this, and it can also be a fun end of summer/back to school activity for you and your friends.
For example, if you want to have a girly pink theme, choose different sized pink sticky notes, bejewel your pen and pencil case, and paint cute pink and white patterns on a binder and notebook. If you’re into fashion, sew some patterns into a pencil case and use magazine cut-outs to collage your notebooks and binders. If you’re into sports, paint your team’s logo (or print and glue it) onto you pencil case, notebooks and binders, and choose sticky notes in your team colours. Many agendas that schools provide have covers that can become clear if you use nail polish remover on the back of them, so you can collage your school’s free planners too!