I swear, I’m going to scream at the next person who asks me to borrow a pencil in my accounting class! Okay, maybe not because I’m not that kind of person- and that’s an overreaction. But I distinctly remember the teacher telling us on the second day of class that we were not allowed to use pens in accounting, as we need to be able to erase our mistakes. In fact, she takes marks off our tests and quizzes if we use pens! Yet, every single day, someone who knows that I’m obsessively prepared for class asks me to borrow a pencil, or a pencil sharpener, or o.7mm pencil lead, or (most annoying request of all) my textbook. How do you not bring your textbook to class, really? But airing my grievances is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is to give you a checklist of all the physical school supplies you’ll need each and every single day to help you get through your classes and get through them well. Each night bfore bed, or in the morning before leaving, you can give this checklist and your pencil case a quick glance to make sure you’ve got everything you need.
At first, I thought a list like this would be common sense. But then I realized that if it was common sense, why would so many of my classmates be asking me to borrow these things? So here’s what you need. Every. Single. Day!
- Pencils. I think I made myself clear that people get pretty annoyed with you if you’re constantly borrowing theirs. Have multiple pencils. At least four, I’d say.
- Erasers. The little nubby ones on the end of your pencils are useless. Get yourself the pack of 2 big ones (the white ones, not the pink) from Staples for a dollar, and write your name on them in case you ever lose them. As an extra, you might want to get the small, round erasers for quick mistakes that don’t require a big block of rubber.
- Pens. For the classes you’re actually allowed to use them. You’ll need blue, black and red at minimum. Have multiples of the colours you use most.
- Highlighters. One pink and one yellow. (I’m also going to give you little Lifehack for those of you GTDers who use a paper calendar system. Buy a different highlighter colour for each of your commitment categories, and then when you write something down, highlight it with the designated colour. That way, you can glance at your calendar each day and know instantly how much of each activity you’re doing. What I do is that I have 4 different highlighters- pink, blue, yellow, orange. Pink is for extra curricular activities (ex. student council meetings), blue if for personal commitments (ex. my orthodontist appointments each month), yellow if for school due dates, tests and quizzes (ex. the creative letter due for English tomorrow about a book I’m reading) and orange is for work and volunteer commitments (ex. the workshop I have this weekend on “becoming a leader with character” for which I get volunteer hours towards my diploma). Actual nightly homework is written in pencil so I can erase it as I get it done. This is just another way to help you know the “hardscape” of your day even more.)
- White out. If you’ve got a pen, you’ll need this. Get liquid (quick dry!) and the kind in tape form. Liquid is for those moments when you’re about to hand in an essay worth 10% of your final mark, and you see a spelling mistake and an improperly used comma that will surely cost you valuable marks. Liquid whiteout eventually looks better than tape whiteout when you fix the mistake with a black pen. Tape whiteout is for when you’ve got a history lecture and are too busy writing down important names and dates to wait for liquid whiteout to dry when you accidentally write that Columbus discovered the new world in 1694 using the Mina, Tina and Santa Gina. (Yep, this happened to me! Crossing things out gets really messy, really fast was what I learned during that lecture.)
- A ruler. They come in handy when you lease expect them. Going back to my accounting class, proper straight lines are crucial for doing an A+ balance sheet by hand. They’re also great for tearing sheets of paper with a neat edge.
- A pencil sharpener, or extra lead if you use a mechanical pencil. Make sure you’re got the right size lead for all your pencils.
- A calculator. Not just for math class- you can also calculate your mark for those times you get a test that 32 our of 40 and can’t figure that percentage out in your head. (It’s 80% by the way.)
- Extra: dental floss and mints for après-lunch breath freshening, a sample of perfume/cologne for those days your deodorant give up on you, colouring pencils for those impromptu diagrams of a paramecium you make make in biology and lip blam. Chapped lips hurt.
What other pencil-case essentials have you discovered come in handy?
- Colour-coded highlighting
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