Back-to-school shopping used to be an annual cause of celebration for me. My mother and I visited the mall every Saturday anyway, but the prospect of going back to school gave me a license to hoard highlighters and notebooks. Though I know I had purchased countless mechanical pencils and replaced numerous marker-stained pencil cases, I no longer know where all of those things are.
I find that being a university student in the digital age is less demanding of stationery than I’d expected. At the start of my first year, I made a perfunctory trip to the Book Store on College St., running into an old friend who recommended I purchase a $15 multi-tab notebook: ‘You need these, they’re the best’. I bought the notebook, which was useful for AST101. The class required many diagrams to be jotted down. It’s not as easy to represent the rotation of planets sans arrows and circles. But the tabs I reserved for other courses were followed by blank pages. In other words, I found no need, as a social science student, to have countless pages organized by colorful tabs. I prefer to take notes on my laptop.
Most students bring either a laptop or an iPad to class. This enables them to take notes and to research ideas during a tutorial discussion or a lecture. As well, I particularly enjoy using the control f function to search for keywords in an electronic reading, if available. I’d gotten by the first two years of my undergraduate career with only a laptop. It wasn’t until I wanted to start making digital art that I purchased an iPad.
If you are making a large electronic purchase for school, make sure to check out the UTSU’s Book and Academic Supplies Bursary, which ‘reimburses students for some of the costs associated with buying books or other academic supplies such as laptops or notebooks during the academic year. The average disbursement is $100, with applications for larger items such as laptops being assessed at a maximum of $200.’ I had not received this bursary in the past, but I had successfully applied for their Transit Bursary to offset the costs of using Presto for transit.
Aside from electronic devices, you may want to keep a refillable water bottle or coffee mug with you. On campus, Caffeinds—a student-run cafe at Old Vic—offers to fill your coffee mug for only a buck. As well, there are many water bottle refill stations just outside lecture halls.
A pen and pencil are also necessary stationery, for you never know when you might have to mark off an attendance sheet or to fill in a form.
I prefer carrying a tote bag on campus, for it suffices in stashing my laptop, wallet, and stationery away. But it is then important to keep my laptop in a waterproof sleeve in case of rain. You may also opt for a backpack or a satchel—both of which are popular options.
If you are not thrilled about having to carry your brick of a textbook to and back every school day, why not consider renting a locker? Colleges like Victoria and St. Michael’s have lockers for the needs of commuter students. At St. Michaels’ College, ‘students may rent lockers in Brennan Hall for $30/Academic Year from the Office of Student Life‘. Be sure to follow the social media accounts of your college to keep posted on opportunities and resources offered!
I hope this helps you get settled into your school year, let me know if you have any questions! 👋