This summer I started my first semester of graduate school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. It took three years of hard work to get into the occupational therapy program here. Along the way I've picked up on a few things that I hope will make your college experience a little easier whether you're a freshman or someone starting graduate school.
1. A Big Backpack
It's always frustrating when you're trying to pack up your backpack and all your books don't fit. If you're like me, trying to lug the loose book around campus probably means you'll end up leaving it somewhere. Finally, my first year of grad school, I've found a backpack that can actually accommodate more than one book and binder. I love this backpack! It has two huge main compartments and a couple of little ones for knick-knacks. It's also really durable and comes in fun colors. My pick is the red tape. I managed to snag mine for 50 dollars from Amazon which seems reasonable for the three years I plan to use it.
Our pick: Jansport Big Student Backpack
2. A Tablet and Keyboard
I am very low-tech, but because I have a dinosaur phone that doesn't connect to the internet I finally had to breakdown and get a tablet. It has been one of the best purchases I've made for college. A few of the scholastic things I like to use my tablet for is taking notes, checking email, studying flashcards, and playing study tunes.
There are probably better tablets for school use, but I have a Samsung Galaxy and I have no complaints. Definitely find a tech savvy friend or drop by a BestBuy to talk to someone about what you want in a tablet to figure out which type of tablet you need before you buy one. To help me take notes, I also bought a mini-keyboard. It wasn't the best quality. I often mistype things using it, but it's good for rough notes. Plus I always get compliments on how cute the pink case is!
Our picks: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, Pink Leather Case with Keyboard
3. A Happy Coffee Cup or Water Bottle
I guess I might be a little high maintenance, but everyday I like to fix myself a morning coffee or tea and a bottle of water to bring with me to school. Little stuff like having a cute mug or water bottle makes me happy. Plus, you can save a ton of money fixing your own drinks at home instead of buying them from a coffee shop or vending machine. I try to use minimal plastic products because being a former nutrition major and current aspiring occupational therapist has made me a little paranoid about plastics. So instead, I try to buy mostly ceramic or glass bottles like these.
4. Comfy Cute Shoes
Chances are you're going to be doing a ton of walking to get to and from classes and the parking lot. If you're like me, you want shoes that look cute but aren't going give you blisters or slow you down. My solution is Keds. If you need some inspiration about how to wear them, just google "Taylor Swift Keds."
Our pick: Keds Women's Champion Dot Fashion Sneaker
5. A Fun Planner
Unless you have a fabulous memory, you're never going to remember everything. So you might as well get a cute and fun planner to help you out. I know for me I feel a lot less panicked when I have all my assignments and obligations written out in my planner. There's a reason that about half of the girls at the University of Mississippi have a Lilly Pulitzer planner. They're so bright, colorful, and fun. And as a bonus they come with stickers which lets you relive your childhood of putting Lisa Frank stickers on all your school stuff! If Lilly is too mainstream for you, there are plenty of other unique planners out there. Just make sure you get a planner that has pages for both the months and individual days of the month.
Our pick: Lilly Pulitzer 2014-2015 Agenda
Looking for more college advice? Check out 30 Study Tips for Success in College.