Back To School: The Survival Checklist

Books? Check. Notebooks? Check. Pens and pencils? Check and check. As the school year draws closer and back to school sales show up in every store, it’s become that time of year to start making sure you have everything you need to start the school year off the right way.


    Of course there’s the regular checklist of items you’re most likely going to need, but there are also some things not on that list that are definite must-haves when it comes to going back to school. Now, here’s your real back to school survival checklist.




    Once school starts, I find myself always surrounded by music. From getting ready in the morning to my commute to and from school, I always have something playing. This past year, I finally caved and purchased Spotify Premium, which is only $4.99 if you’re a student (you can learn more about that here). No ads and an offline mode make it easy for me to play the music I like while on the go. When school starts, make yourself a go-to playlist. When it’s finals week or I have a presentation that I’m nervous about, my go-to playlist is filled with Disney music. No matter what kind of music you’re into, find one that will ease your nerves and get you into the frame of mind that you can handle anything. 



    We’ve all reached a point sometime during the school year where we’ve forgotten to charge our phones overnight and have no time to charge it before we have to run out of the house. Or maybe you’ve used it all day and now that you have a break, you’re down to 5%. Portable chargers will literally be your life (and phone) saver. Depending on your preference, you could go with something small and easy to carry around or something cute and stylish. Whatever your style, they are the simplest way to get power on the go.



    This may be on a list and never purchased, purchased and never used, or given out by your school and used the first week and never again. However, getting into the habit of writing down assignments and due dates is the best way to survive the school year. Nothing is worse than getting to class and realizing everyone did an assignment that you clearly forgot about until that very second. Having one spot where you can keep track of things due and how much time you’ll need to do them is the only way to make sure that situation never happens. Whether you go for something sleek and small or large and motivational, the choices are unlimited. Get one that will make you enjoy writing in it and even purchase some pens in pretty colors to make it more appealing.



    Okay, you might think I’m a little odd for putting this on the checklist, but just hear me out. Once you reach a school year beyond elementary school, crayons and markers seem to disappear from the supplies list. But there is nothing better than sitting down and just coloring when you’ve reached your maximum stress level. By spending a part of your day just coloring, you’re able to take your mind off of everything that’s overwhelming you. All you have to focus on is staying inside the lines … or not, whatever floats your boat. Spending some time absentmindedly coloring or doodling will help you de-stress and bring you back to the good old days of kindergarten, even if you’re a senior in college.



    One of the worst parts of no longer having all of your classes in one room or connected hallways is the fact that you have to deal with whatever kind of weather is going on outside. Walking across campus in the rain or snow usually has me dreading having to go to class. Then you get to sit in class soaking wet and cold, and let’s be real, you’re not focusing on the lecture if you’re one or both of those things. That’s why an umbrella is a must, especially for those days with unexpected showers that seem to start right as you leave your classroom. It’s also important to invest in a good pair of rain boots and a rain jacket if you know there’s a large distance between your classes.



    Anyone who knows me could probably describe me as a “snack queen.” There is probably a 95% chance that you could find me with some kind of snack in my hands. I’m even having one while I write this post. But this goes up to about a 99% chance when the school year starts. With class and work, there is only a short period of time where you’re free to eat lunch. For me, this usually falls between noon and 1, so by the time 5:00 rolls around and I’m done with classes, I’m starving. I’ll usually go for the salty snacks, like Chex Mix or Cheez-its, but anything easy to grab usually satisfies the hunger too. So if you’re like me, keep small grab-and-go sized snacks in your bag for those days where lunch is just not enough to keep you going.



    So this one doesn’t really qualify as a “school supply,” but believe me, it’s just as necessary. “Nap queen” seems to go hand in hand with my “snack queen” title and I gladly accept it. Whether you’re up early for an 8 am class or you’re up all night studying, there’s a high chance that you don’t get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep during the school year. Thus, naps have become essential. Along with the coloring books, naps are a great way to de-stress and focus your attention on something other than tests and homework. Twenty minute naps are the perfect break to reenergize and give your mind the rest it desperately needs. To be honest, my naps may go longer than 20 minutes, but you get the point. Set aside enough time to still get all of your work done, but also give yourself a break. 


So there you have it. The perfect “unofficial” school supplies list. Sure notebooks and folders are important, but add these to your list and you’ll be more than ready to tackle this school year. To all those in school already and those heading back soon, have fun and enjoy it. It'll be over before you know it.

Mika Matias