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  • Writer's pictureCallista

Back to School: University

Wow! This past week was wild! Welcome back :)

I had my birthday on Friday which I went on the Lake Agnes Tea House hike (the shorter one), and it was absolutely amazing! If you have not gone on this hike before, I cannot recommend it enough; the view is gorgeous, even though for the most part there is just tree cover. Once you get to the tea house though, all of the food is simple yet delicious (they carry up items DAILY.... how insane is that?!), but grab the tuna sandwich with pickles and cheese, the tea biscuits, and the Mango Coffee Leaf tea was what we got and it had such amazing flavour! I basically had 3 days of celebrating because Saturday was spent at the No Greater Love festival with a friend, and then Sunday I had a surprise birthday party, which was such a special night!

Anyways! Long story short (yes this was the short version), busy busy week/weekend. Today I am going to be talking about back to school essentials, specifically for a university student.

For elementary school your parents get a specific list which is super helpful, has everything you need from the crayons to specific art books. For junior and high school, again your parents go and just gotta grab a backpack, pencils, pens, notebooks, and hi-lighters. For university though.... what the heck do we need?! This is the first time we as students have to figure it out, plus you actually have to buy books! There's so many things different from high school, and as I am heading into my second year of university, I thought I'd share some things that helped me in my first year.

1. Textbooks

Do not, I REPEAT, do NOT buy your textbooks until you've gone to your first class. I know this may stress some of you out completely, it stressed me out and caused me to buy the books for all of my classes and guess how many I used: literally 2 out of 5! And they aren't cheap; on average a textbook will be around $90-110... on average, that's not counting the random ones that are like $150 and we "need" 3-7 per semester? No thank you. If your teacher does not mention it during the first class, just ask and they will totally tell you.

*If there is a practice test book though... get it!*

2. Backpack

This one sounds silly and obvious, but I never thought I'd need a backpack for university for some reason. Lockers don't come free and sometimes they sell out before you can get one, so do you really want to carry around everything all day? No you don't. I've seen a lot of people (mainly girls sorry) walk around campus with a tiny bag with textbooks and notebooks in their arms while also trying to juggle their coffee, sanity, and GPA in their hands. And who wants to walk all the way back to their car in the dead of winter for something?

3. Pencil case essentials

Everyone knows they need a pen, pencil, notebook, and hi-lighter for school, but how much of each should you bring? I usually have:

-5 pens: 2 black, 1 blue, 1 red, 1 a different colour like pink or green (makes taking notes A LOT more fun, plus it's easier to find things when they are colour coded)

-3 mechanical pencils and 3 regular pencils

-1-2 containers of extra lead

-1 big eraser

-1 pencil sharpener

-1 permanent marker

-3 hi-lighters (pink, green, yellow)

-paper clips

-tiny post it notes

-4 note books (1 per class colour coded. I find the individual notebooks although a little more pricey, you don't have to buy a new one all semester and it is less confusing)

4. Snacks

About half of the weight in my backpack is food, because you will have classes from 11:30-1:30 and waiting to go buy food is horrendous; not to mention the expenses really add up! Like I said, high school is very different from university, just as your hunger levels will be; somehow I got hungrier. Here's a list of the best types of snacks for travelling all day around school:

-granola bars (not nutri-grain because it will get smushed very fast)

-fruit: apple, grapes in a container, berries (these should be eaten in the morning during early classes because they smush/go bad fast, and strawberries especially are great for energy) or a banana

-veggies: a container full of cucumbers, celery, or chopped up bell peppers because they will hydrate you! As well as carrots, and then bring some hummus too if you aren't used to plain veggies

-rice cakes, especially the Tomato & Basil kind. Healthy and delicious!

-Instant noodles: not really a snack per say, but you can find hot water somewhere and its easy and cheap to eat!

5. Blanket

If you drive to school or are lucky enough to have a locker, leave a blanket in there for naps. Listen... I know it's weird, and I too said I would never be the one to nap at school but it happens to the best of us. Even if you have a pretty spacious backpack, slip a thin blanket in there and get ready for those in between study sessions nap's, because the day will come and you need to be prepared. No one is going to make fun of you, if anything they will be jealous of you.

They are also good if you get cold easily.

6. Thermos

Don't drink coffee or caffeinated tea? You will don't worry. It's not just a funny joke everyone says, you will need it at one time or another. And if you are prepared you can not only have cheaper morning coffee, but you can also save waste by bringing it to your favourite coffee station!

7. Large water bottle

You need water to have a functioning brain, so grab one out the door and drink away all day! I was just at Dollarama and they have huge 1.8 L bottles for $4. It's beautiful, and you don't need to spend your life savings for a big enough bottle.

8. Downloaded Netlix shows and headphones

Classes are sometimes tricky to get back to back, I know for one of my days in the fall semester this year I have only 2 classes but they are 4 hours apart. You need study breaks to stay sane, so download some Netflix shows (I will be doing a blog post soon about my favourite shows to watch), put in some headphones, and enjoy!

9. Phone Games

I know, it's a really weird one, and I don't really have an excuse except to say that when I take study breaks and don't feel like just watching something, I'll listen to a podcast and get my brain going with Nonogram (the best), Word Stacks, or Trivia Crack. It really helps pass the time and also keeps your brain stimulated.

10. Toiletries Bag

This one isn't super needed, however it is amazing for long days or if you are meeting up with friends/going to work after. I usually put in:


-hand sanitizer (Y'all..... I have seen some people not wash their hands after the washroom)

-make up (cover up, small blush/bronzer duo, lip balm, lip stick)

-hair elastics, bobby pins, and a small brush/comb

-mini Listerine



Anyways! There's my list of essentials for university! It seems like your backpack will be super heavy with this list, and it sometimes is but trust me when I say these items are needed. When I first started I didn't have half of these and they slowly got added into my backpack throughout the first semester.

If you are going into school for the first time or are going back, have a great year! I have always loved school so I am excited to get back. Thanks for reading, I will see you next time!



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