Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to School Shopping

Like it or not, August is right around the corner.  The stores already have their "Back to School" sections stocked with notebooks, pencils, pens, folders, binders, and everything else students need.  Before all of you college freshmen venture out to the stores to blow your parents' money, let me give you some words of wisdom.

First of all, go for it.  Buy the most expensive supplies you can find.  Buy your textbooks brand new from the college bookstore.  In fact, buy all of your school supplies from the college bookstore, too.  That way you can kick yourself when you finally figure out that used textbooks online can save you hundreds of dollars.

You can never have enough Easy Mac, Chef Boyardee, and Top Ramen.  You have that Freshman 15 to tackle, so get a head start on that.

Remember all that cash you received from your high school graduation party?  STASH IT!!  Put it in a safe and secure place that is locked and hidden.  That way, when you are issued your first underage ticket, you can pay the fine and not have to ask your parents for the money.

As tempting as all the Best Buy, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular ads are, you DO NOT need a brand new top-of-the-line cell phone, laptop, iPad, iPod, or any other gadget.  In fact, most professors frown upon having laptops in lecture because, let's face it, you're not diligently adding notes to the Power Points.  You're on Facebook.  Cell phones in class are about as cool as walking into the class with a fully loaded shotgun and coonskin cap.  Yes, the dumbasses before you tried texting exam answers and that put the ban on cell phones.  In addition, I have been on MANY college campuses and happen to know that there are computers there for you to use.  Printers, too.

Here's a list of things I considered must-haves for my backpack when in college:
  • Small stapler 
  • Highlighters - at least 3 different colors
  • 2-3 mechanical pencils 
  • 3 pens
  • Post-it notes
  • 2 Flash drives  (Why 2, you ask?  BACK UP EVERYTHING!  Well, the important stuff.  With technology these days, there's no excuse for having something "not working" or "not saved")
As a side note, buy 1 good backpack and take care of it.  I have had the same backpack through two years of high school, three years of an associate's degree, four years of work in education, and four years of my bachelor's degree.

Now, I have never lived in the dorms.  I have been in one and they are tiny.  Pack wisely. 

Other considerations for shopping:
  • One subject notebooks will not get you far in college  Go for the three-subject notebooks
  • Be prepared to print quite a bit.  Most professors use Power Point lectures.  If you plan to print these, have three-ring binders on hand and your own 3-hole punch.
  • Most, if not all, colleges/universities will have free planners, but they are not always very big.  I always wanted one with lots of space to keep myself organized!  Office Max have the best ones that I have found.
Whether you're living on or off campus, just remember that at some point, some of the crap you bring with you will probably end up on a curb with a "FREE" sign attached to it.    

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