Supplies for the 21st Century College Student

Supplies for the 21st Century College Student

Sep 03, 2021Joey Cipriano

          Let’s just address the thing your teen is probably thinking right now: 

“I don’t need school supplies for college. I can do everything on my computer or my phone!” 

          I can’t count how many times I relied on my computer or phone to have something I needed and it failed me the moment I needed it. I am fairly confident there are many people in college and in the business world who have experienced this more times than they care to admit. Technology fails randomly and sometimes spectacularly when you least expect it. That is why you should always be prepared for your computer or phone to let you down. Because as someone who loves technology, I’m certain even your toaster has ears and knows just when to break.

          Even in the 21st century, I still enjoy doing some of my writing by hand versus typing away at my desktop or laptop. This is especially true when it comes to note taking. Even when taking notes. I’ve tried taking notes on my phone before and not only do I stink at texting on my phone, I simply don’t look at my phone often enough to remember I’ve kept notes on it.

          Call me old fashioned, but to me nothing beats taking a notebook and a pen to take down important notes. Notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, and highlighters are still relevant in the 21st century to keep yourself organized. And while technology has made studying and learning far easier, it’s important to make sure you’re not forgetting the golden rule of technology: Always backup your information somewhere.

The College Supply List

          Most of these extra supplies don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, especially if you order them all from School Supply Boxes. Getting ready for college and moving into the dorms are a stressful time for parents and students. So, to make things simple, School Supply Boxes has a specially crafted box just for college students. But, if you have a bit of time and you prefer to do your own shopping, here are a few of the things we think college students should take with them beyond their computers and phones.

1. Backpacks

          This should probably go without saying, but having a good, reliable backpack is a must if you’re going to be walking around campus all day. Ideally, you’ll want a backpack with plenty of places to keep your books, stationary, technology, and especially a pouch for your laptop or tablet. Traditional backpacks with two straps are the easiest to find and offer plenty of options. There are also satchel type bags, or messenger style bags, that offer just as much storage while using only one strap. No matter your choice, get a backpack that is fairly durable and comfortable. If you’re planning to go with the traditional backpack, be sure not to overload it and hurt your back

2. Writing Tools

          The prepared nerd always has a pen or two on hand. There won’t always be a pretty girl or handsome guy around to ask if they have one they can lend you. Instead, make sure you have plenty of black, blue, and red pens and pencils to last you through the year.

          Even though pencils are more of a grade school item, they’re still useful if you’re working on math problems on paper and need to edit your work. Plus, pencils are just as good at keeping notes as a pen. Of course, if you’re going to use pencils, you’ll want to make sure you’re packing a good pencil sharpener and rubber eraser too.

          If you’re not crazy about having pens and pencils loose in your backpack, you could always pick up a pencil case or pouch to keep them all together and organized. 

3. Highlighters and Markers

          Beyond pens and pencils, highlighters and markers are a great way to point out important parts of documents. It’s not always necessary to jot down a note about something when simply highlighting it will do. Highlighters come in various colors, which can help you color code information and give you a better visual representation of data. 

          Washable markers and even dry erase markers are another great organizational tool. Grab a white board for dry erase markers to jot down quick notes or dates for important events and use markers to make drawings or find other ways to organize notes that highlighters can’t. 

4. Folders and Binders

          Don’t rely on always having good Wi-Fi or a charged battery when you need to access important documents like notes, a class syllabus, or an important email from a professor. It’s always a good idea to print a copy and keep it in a place that makes sense.

          A good 3-ring binder or a pocket folder with metal brads is a good option. Color coordinating folders, binders, and notebooks so they correspond to a certain class is a great way to keep everything organized. This is also a great way to make sure you’re not packing documents for classes you don’t need, adding extra weight to your backpack and getting in the way.

5. Staplers and Paper Clips

          If you know you’re going to have quite a few papers to keep track of, it’s a good idea to have at least paper clips or a good stapler around for organization.

          They don’t need to be fancy or super expensive. But you could buy colored paper clips as another way to keep papers organized. Some also come with small labels on them if you want to be fancy. Just remember to pack some extra staples.

6. Cloud Storage

          While I’m a fan of notebooks and binders, there is a lot to be said about storing your most important data in the cloud. This way you can have access to documents on multiple devices without worrying about having to worry about extra devices such as thumb drives or external hard drives which could randomly fail or break.

          Thankfully, there are many places which offer some free storage options such as Google Drive and Dropbox. If you feel you’ll need more space, purchasing more is always an option through these services, though make sure you consider it as part of your monthly expenses if you’re on a budget.

7. Printer Paper and Ink

          It’s easy to overlook supplies for your printer. Just like your phone and computer, your printer will run out of ink the second you need it the most. 

          Make sure to take a couple of extra ink cartridges with you for your first few months of school and a box of paper. If you can afford it, a laser printer can print far more copies than your basic inkjet printer. The downside is that these printers can be quite a bit more expensive and their toner cartridges as well. But, they’re a smart investment if you intend to print quite a bit during the school year.

          Black ink should be the highest priority, but if you need things in full color, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking color cartridges with you as well. 

8. Earbuds or Headphones

          While not on any traditional lists for school supplies, good quality earbuds or headphones are a great way to help block out the outside world while you’re trying to study. They’re also useful for those sharing a room and don’t want to bother a roommate with loud music or audio from a movie or video game. There’s nothing worse than an inconsiderate roommate who can’t keep the noise down. 

          Wired headphones tend to be cheaper than the wireless versions. Of course, there’s also personal preference when it comes to which style one prefers. If you’re not comfortable with putting things in your ears, headphones that go over the ears are the better option and can be quite comfortable.

9. Water Bottles

          You’re probably not about to go out and buy cases of water every week or so just so you can have water in your dorm. A good quality water bottle is becoming increasingly important for kids who want to stay hydrated and want to be able to carry something to drink with them wherever they go.

          An eco-friendly water bottle, like those made from metal, are good for keeping cold drinks cold and hot drinks warm for extended periods of time. Many campuses now have bottle refilling stations which make filling up your water bottles easy. Pack at least a couple with you so you can have one for on the go and one that never leaves your dorm.

          Many new college students spend their first year of college living on campus. It’s important to remember that if you’re going to be living on your own and will be depending on yourself for a while, to make sure you’re taking everything you need when you first arrive so you’re not struggling in the first few days. That way you can prioritize being social versus trying to get comfortable.

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