25 Must-Haves in College (Traditional)

Schools have opened and started conducting classes. They cannot be stopped amidst the pandemic and we have adapted to a new learning system. But before we fully adapt into the new normal, i just want to archive the traditional things a college student must have before this pandemic hit the world and affected our lifestyle.

Just recently, K-12 curriculum was implemented in all schools in the Philippines and students who just graduated highschool must proceed to another 2 years which is junior and senior highschool before proceeding to college.  But back in my time, when I was just about to enter college and k-12 has not yet been implemented, I have no clue of what I should have or what I must do after I graduated highscool. Now that I finished college, based on my personal experiences through the whole duration of my college years, I’ve pretty summed up everything and made quite a long list of what every college student must have.

It’s this time of the year again and another school year just started  so I thought, this post would be helpful for all those newbies in college or maybe, not a newbie at all. This might not be as relevant to the new learning system we have adopted in the world caused by the pandemic but i just want to include traditional must-haves even before we switched into pure online learning. To start off, here’s the list:

1. Laptop

Yes! This is the most important aside from having a pen and notebook. I started without a laptop and never would have thought that this item would be really needed. At first, laptops won’t be a biggie but when you approach half of the school year, you’ll realize that you really need this bad boy and must not have taken this thing for granted because this will be your companion and savior from assignments, to projects, from reports to print outs, from video editings to thesis, etc. I never had my own laptop, an old laptop was given to me when I was at the middle of my college years which unfortunately got broken after almost 10 years in service. I was so devastated by it since all of my documents were stored there and I didn’t have a back-up. It became my dooms day after realizing that I’ll never recover all of my corrupted files and unfinished projects and assignments.

2. Printer

2nd on the list is a printer. I didn’t realize this until I graduated college that having your own printer is one of the most important because I only had my own printer when I was at 4th year college (that only lasted a couple months because we didn’t know we bought a cheap printer but it carries a cartridge ink and this ink is much expensive than the usual) and imagine all of the things, assignments, reports, projects that needs to be printed in ink and the hassle I’ve been through just to print all of those for 4 years. I’ve realized that I’ve spent a lot, almost like 80% of my daily allowance just to print school related papers and I kid you not that having it printed at print shops are hella expensive so I really want to stretch this out, go find a cheap printer that is not cartridge, of course, and print those school papers in just a click of your finger.

3. Bond Papers

No wonder, if you have printer, you must also have your own bond papers. To save you from a lot of hassle, always stock up a rim of good bond papers, both long and short, since they would really come in handy and I promise you, having your own bond papers will lessen all the stress.

4. Flash Drive

Of course, you will certainly encounter “techy” professors who prefer submitting your assignments and projects in a flash drive. Another thing too, is that this will be really handy when you’re up for a class report and you have visual aids but you don’t have a laptop with you. Always bring your flashdrive because you’ll never know those crazy professors that give surprise, on-the-spot, reportings.

5. Umbrella

I was known for being the person that can’t live without my umbrella but really, when I was just starting out, I don’t bring one and I took this for granted that when I’m running out of time or when I’m chasing a deadline, I don’t use an umbrella, instead I just walk or run under the sun not realizing that it’s really not healthy for my skin. I started to use it again when I realized that I entered college to learn, and not to look sick or ugly or burnt. Also, having an umbrella with you will save you from unexpected rain showers and being stranded at school.

6. Tumbler

I’m guilty of this because I never did this in the whole duration of my college years  haha but now, that I’m working, I realized that water and staying hydrated would really help you a lot. I remember being at school and only drinks half a glass or even small quantity for the whole day and I didn’t realize that my health was deteriorating. Thank heavens, that I never had dehydration or any kidney problems (yet) even if I really don’t drink a lot of water during my college days. Now, I’m making up to all those mistakes and I make sure that I drink at least 10 full glasses of water a day and I’m doing it since May 2019.

7. All-in-one Notebook and good pen

We’re in college now, binders and different notebooks for every class is not what I would really recommend. Instead, I suggest that you get one spiral notebook or any notebook you like and divide it into all of your classes for the semester because I really believe that you won’t even finish the whole notebook since we millennials and centenials can’t write perfectly that fast so we take out our smart phones and take a photo of the lesson or powerpoint presentation instead. Or if not smartphones, we take out our flashdrives and ask for their powerpoint presentations or even borrow their copies and have it photocopied. Right? I always believe that having a good pen gives you good penmanship and grades specially during quizzes and exams. My favorite was gtech pen in 0.3. I swear whenever I use this pen, I get good grades or I remember what I’ve studied unlike using ordinary pens. Plus, this pen gives me power whenever I have oral demos, recitations, reports or whenever I’m about to face a crowd.

8. Smart Phone

Speaking of smart phones, yes, it’s really a necessity now because being in a generation where technology is rising isn’t easy. I only had my smartphone when I was at 2nd year college. A lot of students right now have their own smartphones and take photos of the lesson instead of jotting it down because it’s easier and less hassle. Also, having smartphones are a must have now because you will really encounter group projects and even have to meet up to finish that project and from my personal experience, both the members and the leader prefer having a group chat in messenger to vote, communicate, brainstorm and the like.

9. Social media and E-mail

As to what I’ve said earlier, I’ve experienced unexpected and devastating file corrupts or accidental deletion of files so I would really suggest to have a working e-mail and send all of your on-going projects, assignments, ESPECIALLY THESIS on your own e-mail address because you’ll never know time. Also, some professors send assignments and exams to e-mail so make sure to read your e-mail from time to time. For social media, aside from updating your account, uploading photos, and liking posts, I only had one reason that it’s a must have for school, there are instances too that your professor will make a group on Facebook and will upload all of their lessons, practice worksheets, and everything related to the subject and if you miss out, you might fail.

10. Accordion Envelope

For me, you’re not necessarily obliged to bring an envelope to school because I never did too and come on, we’re not highschool anymore. The purpose of accordion envelope in my life is to store all of the quizzes, assignments, exam papers, receipts, stubs, attendance slips and any school related stuff that you can use as evidence when it’s needed.

11. Highlighters

This is badly needed for lesson printouts and books. I am a very lazy person when it comes to studying. I am not the type of student that studies each subject a week before the exam or waking up very early to study, instead I study, an hour or 15 minutes before the exam and I usually just read a portion of the lesson, highlight a keyword that would be remarkable for me on that topic, and viola, I’m done.

12. Frixion Pens

I discovered frixion pens when I was at 3rd year college and it really made a great impact in my college life. I’ve had a lot of professors that doesn’t allow impositions and erasures during quizzes and exams and frixion pens are really the true life-saver because it can erase your mistakes that are supposed to be not changed and your professor won’t even notice! Thank you so much to the person who invented this pen.

13. Pre-cut yellowpad papers

I remember the moments when my professors would give out quizzes and immediately state the question while I’m still cutting yellowpad papers. Lol. I always miss the first or first two questions because I’m always behind when it comes to yellow paper. So for the newbies, always have a pre-cut ¼ and ½ length and crosswise yellow papers behind your notebook because you really can’t avoid professors like that.

14. Memo Pads and Sticky notes

I never used memo pads or sticky notes in the whole duration of my college years that’s why I always forget that I’m up for a report or today’s the deadline of this assignment or project. Yes, I’m really not a good student haha so I just wanna advise you to have a memo pad, jot down events or things you must do just so you could cope up with the deadlines and never become like me who always chase deadlines and cram.

15. Cartolina Papers

Even if we’re already in the “techy” era, there are still some professors who prefer lesson reportings and demonstrations that uses cartolina papers as visual aids instead of just pure powerpoint presentations. I want to emphasize this that making visual aids out of cartolina papers really helps you a lot in terms of grading system because there are some professors (especially, education professors) look out on how creative you can be and it also conveys your effort to pass his/her subject. For traditional professors, it’s really a plus for them if you make creative visual aids plus fun activities in their class.

16. Transparent Folders

After all these projects and assignments, you don’t want it to just staple it and pass it, I really suggest you also stock up on white transparent folders to file your narrative projects, assignments and thesis drafts before you submit them because some professors also add points on how neat and organized you can be in terms of handling bring-home projects and assignments.

17. Headset and a Playlist

Of course, having irregular schedules with hours-long vacant, are one of the challenges you have to deal in college. For me, I always have my headset with me in times that I’m alone and I have to wait for my next subject because when I was at college, I really felt uncomfortable being alone but as I’m approaching 3rd year college, I started to enjoy being alone until time came that I prefer to be totally alone. Good thing, I was a premium subscriber of spotify and they were my companion on moments that I have no one to talk to.

18. Wired internet subscription or prepaid load with internet data

It’s the first day of school and your major subject professor immediately proceeds to class instead of just introduction and class expectations, asking you what is universalism in ethics and you still don’t have any idea what really is the meaning of that because duh, it’s the first day of class! So here enters the power of mobile data. From my personal experiences, I had experienced lots of on-the-spot oral quizzes and I didn’t even study a thing so what I usually do is research the question and if I’m called, at least I could answer even if I don’t really hit the point. It will really be helpful in these kinds of situation and it could also help your friends and classmates in the same class that are in the same situation.

19. Merriam Dictionary app

We really don’t have enough strength and storage for our bags to bring bulk and heavy dictionaries so having an application of a dictionary is what I really suggest. It’s really handy in times of exams and quizzes and I know for sure, even highschool or grade school students already have this app in their smart phones. So make sure to install it before the semester starts.

20. Milk Tea

Yes, you, sleep-deprived and stressed college student also need a break from all of those commotions. Have a milktea, enjoy the heavenly cup of real tea mixed with milk and other flavorings and chew the pearls carefully while dealing with your math subject.

21. Wet Wipes

You’ll never know when will nature call you out and you can’t really avoid it. So make sure to bring a pack of good wet wipes and dry tissues unless you’re super good in holding it up until you come home. Lol.

22. Utensils Set

If you’re a reader of my blog, especially my tea talks, you’ll know that I acquired diseases because of careless eating. I don’t bring my own utensils when I eat out my lunch either on the school canteen or carenderias.We never know how they prepare the foods we eat so to save you from hassle and extra cost for medications, please bring your own utensils.

23. Wrist Watch

Time is gold as what old folks would say and we need a good, water-resistent wrist watch that would last us more than 5 years. As a college student, time is really important and you need to keep track of it so I would really suggest to get yourself a good quality, water-resistant watch that will be your companion for the whole duration of your college years.

24. Foot Socks w/ Pad

College is really different. It’s not highschool anymore that you stay in one room and all of the subjects of the day will be discussed by different teachers. In college, you are the one who will adjust. Every subject has its different classroom assignments and you can’t complain if your next subject is at the back-part of the building or it’s at the other location. You can avoid all the hassle if you either drop it or your professor requests for a room transfer. And yes, investing in high-quality foot socks with gel pads is a must because leg cramps and blistered feet are common for college students.

25. Confidence & Determination

Lastly, confidence and determination are the traits that should not be separated. Having confidence when you enter college is a must and to be honest, when I was still just a college student like you, I lack confidence. That’s the thing that I regret the most on my college days because I could have been a better student if only I had the confidence to break the shell and get out of my comfort zones but I was a coward for criticisims and judgments. I never participated in school events, I never showcased my talents, I never aced my reports and demos and I really let go lots of great opportunities because I was lacking confidence. For determination, I had no regrets because I know I have one. I almost gave up but my determination on finishing the course kept me going no matter how hard it had been. So to you, who might be reading this and just about to enter college, don’t give up even if you think there’s no way out, don’t let fear consume you, always think that either ways, people will still have something to say so don’t let that bother you and lessen your confidence. You’ll definitely reach the hard turn or a pitstop in your college journey. You’ll get tired and burnt out. You can rest but don’t ever give up.

But all of these are really just my thoughts that a general college student must have. It still varies from the situations or what kind of course or what kind of school curriculum you are in right now. For example, medical students have different “environment” and every detail in a book or lesson must be remembered so medical students usually have lots of notebooks, pens and highlighters because everything matters to them and should be jotted down. So please note, as a disclaimer, I’m just writing this out of my experiences as a general college student so please disregard some suggestions I have in the list if you think that doesn’t work out for your course.

Note: I’ve had this draft even before the pandemic and it’s just that i was vacant today that i get to review it and wanted it to post. This traditional list might be forgotten for a long time until we’re vaccinated but i just want to archive this and look up this post from the future that might help incoming college students after the covid 19 pandemic. Some items on the list are not really relevant for the new adapted system but i will make a digital version of this list. Stay tuned!

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