I don't know about you, but I'm still in denial that the school year is around the corner. I'd like to believe that I have a lot more time to read and hand out with friend (and clean out my closets!). Buuuut, I've been thinking about school shopping...you all may be doing that soon. So I thought I'd put together some suggestions for you.
1. Loose paper is bad. I hate rumpled, looks like the dog licked it handouts. Using folders makes your work look messy and I've noticed students frantically searching through their backpacks for loose papers.
Solution- use a binder or accordion file with labeled tabs.
2. Not having a writing utensil. While pencil is occasionally OK to write with, final drafts always have to be in ink. And I'm always replenishing my cup of loaner pens because people don't return the ones they borrow.
Solution- have standard blue or black ink and highlighters. Make sure you pick ink that doesn't bleed through the paper.
3. Not having what you need to do work. Forgot your essay that's due today? Forgot your book? There's nothing worse than getting the eyebrow raise from me when you're not prepared for class.
Solution- use a planner system consistently. Whether you use the planner the school provides or the calendar/alarms in your phone, whatever you do, set a habit and use it throughout the year. Evernote is a good free app for your phone if you're interested.
OK, now that I've expressed some of my pet peeves, let me give you a basic list to help keep you organized (highlighted materials are required):
Binder with tabs or Accordion File (get more than 6 slots). Wait to label until after school starts. Get a good one so it doesn't fall apart.
Blue or Black pens (not Sharpie). Bic sticks write nicely but aren't crazy expensive. Pilot G2's cost more, but they write so well.
Mechanical pencil (I have .7 and .5 refills available for you)
Highlighters or light colored markers
White Out tape- works better than the liquid.
Spiral notebook for English only. (get two 70 pagers for each semester)
Lined paper (you're not going to pull paper out of your spiral notebooks).
Accessories bag- you can find cheap ones in the travel toiletries section at Target...make sure it's big enough to fit pens, erasers, white out, charger for your phone, etc.)
You may want more than one- 1 for supplies, 1 for personal stuff, 1 for chargers.
Ziplock bags work, but won't last long.
Backpack or messenger bag. Save your pennies for a good one that you can use for years.
Jansport, Eastpak, Patagonia, and Dakine have amazing warranties. The North Face, Duluth Trading Co, and Timbuk2 also offer a good warranty on their products. I have a Timbuk2 messenger bag that I got on sale at Zappos. It's simple, waterproof, and has lots of pockets. But, they're pricey, so find sales! Here's a link to read about warranties.
If you bring lunch, using plastic food containers keep your food from getting smushed.
Refillable water bottle. There's too much plastic waste destroying our oceans. Get a refillable one with a carabiner clip so you can clip it to your backpack. TJ Maxx has a lot to choose from.
Nice to have for rainy weather- a PVC poncho from the camping section. It's a small square that fits in your backpack and will fit over your backpack/bag, thus keeping your stuff dry when it rains. You can get one for about $2-3.