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Back to School Checklist...

A photo of MaybeMelody MaybeMelody

I'm a first year student, and I'm possibly a little bit too excited about starting school next month. I took this past year off to work, so going back to school is a welcome change.

Every summer, one of my favourite things to do is my back to school shopping. Thing is, university's obviously new to me, so I'm not sure what I need to buy! I've got my laptop and laptop bag... and I know that I'll find out my required textbooks around the first week of classes... I'm just wondering whether or not I should also be buying binders, notebooks, pens and pencils. Now's not a time to be spending unnecessarily, so I wanted to get some advice before I hit the stores! :)

Thanks for your help!
-Melody, 1st Year Education Student, Brock.
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4 replies
A photo of Businessman Businessman
What works for me might not work for you.

The only thing I buy when I am going back to school is a laptop. Everything else I might need I usually get for free and in the worst case scenario I buy second hand or 1-2 weeks before the school starts

If you know that you will need lots of papers, notebooks, pencils, sticky notes then better buy them 1-2 weeks before the school will start. Thats when the prices are the lowest and you can get items with 30-95% discounts.

You can get things like pens, pencils, rulers, sticky notes, highlighters and erasers for free. All you need to do is just go to a job event, business event or even a public library and everything you need could be found there for free. :cheers:

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A photo of CatRunner CatRunner
I take notes the old fashioned way, by hand, since studies have shown that when you write things down you retain them better, as opposed to when you type them out. In classes that permit recording (not all do, so check with your prof/university), I use a Livescribe pen, which records audio as I write. I love it. I then transfer these notes to whatever resources the prof has provided (lecture outlines, powerpoint slides, etc.)

For classes that don't allow recording, if the prof posts lecture notes, outlines, or powerpoint slides online, I print those out and make notes on them. I have a fast laser printer, so it is really efficient to print out notes four to a page, and take notes on those. These go into a binder afterwards.

Unlike others, I have yet to have a prof who posts all of their lecture notes online. Every prof I have had has either left material out of the notes they post, or only provides an outline. That's because they want people to actually get something out of coming to class. So I have had to take notes in every class.

Now I know plenty of people who take notes on their laptops. That would just never work for me. If it works for you, then you may not need a whole lot of supplies. I know people who take all their notes and study off of their computers. I couldn't do that myself, but it might work for you.

You will get some "freebies" during orientation week, but probably not everything that you need. You will typically get a planner/daytimer, some pens/pencils/highlighters, maybe some sticky notes. You might get a binder or a notebook or two. Probably not enough to have one for every class, if you use binders or notebooks. But it can certainly be a start and every bit helps. :)
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A photo of ktel ktel
It depends on what program, the style of class, your learning style, etc.

I started off using spiral notebooks but I found not having the ability to add/remove pages irritating. I then moved to a three-ring notebook (it was weird) and that was OK. I now just bring paper to class in a clipboard and then organize it into binders once a week or so.
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A photo of scoobygiggles scoobygiggles
Are you in residence, or staying at home?
For just school supplies, definitely pay attention to the flyers and any back to school sales going on. Find out what your textbooks are, and check on kijiji, any school forums or Facebook pages, amazon.ca, etc. and see what the lowest price is. I've never paid full price for a textbook, and I've saved a lot of money by buying second hand.
I guess the most important thing I would say is to have an agenda to bring with you and a large calendar for at home to keep track of deadlines. They sneak up faster than you think!
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