Years ago, students heading to college really had to stock up on school supplies. Notebooks and paper, pens and pencils, binders, and so much more. A diligent student could expect to go through them all at a very rapid pace! Technology has changed this reality quite a bit. These days, most college students rely heavily on their laptop computers. Laptops are the tools that students use to take notes in class and study notes outside of class. Laptops are what we use to write papers and to send emails to professors.
But laptops do not replace every last school supply— or, at least, they shouldn’t! Laptops are great for a lot of things, but they have their drawbacks, too. The blue light that laptops emit may be bad for us, and experts agree that it probably helps disrupt our sleep patterns. And using laptops to study our notes limits our potential methods for memorizing and understanding information. You’ll get further in school if you combine smart laptop use with the use of a few key school supplies that have never gone out of style.
Pencil and paper
Writing final drafts happens on computers these days. But there’s something beautiful about the freedom of a notebook or a piece of paper and a pencil. You can erase and re-write things on a computer, but a pencil and paper will give you the ability to move your thoughts around in more dimensions, breaking free of straight lines, and creating information webs, sketches, and more.
Sure, you can do some of this with a tablet or a stylus. But having a physical copy of your work and the tactile experience of writing on paper may be a better way to memorize what you’re studying or preserve a copy of your thoughts in a (physical) place that you’ll notice and remember.
One of the joys of using a laptop is that the device can go with you almost anywhere. But so can a notebook or note paper, especially if you have something hard to write on. Enter the humble 11×17 clipboard. This versatile tool is perfect for taking along to the lawn with your papers or notebook.
And this clipboard is useful for other things, too. Want to pass around a club sign-in sheet or a birthday card for a friend? That’s a clipboard situation. Keeping a final draft in a folder but worried the paper will wrinkle? Don’t use your valuable laptop as a way to block impacts. Just stick a clipboard in your bag instead.
Flash cards are a study method classic. There’s a good reason for that, of course. Flash cards are a very effective way to memorize information, and the act of making them can be nearly as valuable as using them.
Of course, making flash cards isn’t quite as much of a memory tool if you use an app to quickly type some up. If you use real index cards and your pencil or pen, on the other hand, you can expect to get some real study time as you create each card yourself.
A bulletin board or whiteboard
You can use post-it like apps on computers, and you can set reminders on your phone. But in an age of distractions and information overload, it’s easy for these sorts of reminders to be lost in the shuffle. So why not bring a bulletin board or magnetic whiteboard to school?
Your board can be your organizational headquarters in your dorm room. It’s a place where sticky-note reminders can coexist with printed photos of friends and family. It may seem old-fashioned, but, like the other items on this list, it’s a school supply that does wonder even in the laptop age.
Navigating through college can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Come prepared with these essential tools to ensure your college days go smooth and are hassle-free.