The summer is slowly coming to an end and, for many of us, the new academic year is about to start, so,as usual, I’m super excited! For me, not only do weeks start on Sundays (what better way to start a week than with a well-deserved rest?) but my year starts every September. I think I couldn’t be more excited for the promise of meeting new people, having a new schedule and learning new things, just allowing the change to come and embrace it. But, one of the things that I loved the most was buying the books for the new year… and some school supplies! I’m crazy for colored paper, folders, pencil cases, weekly planners, clips, pens. Just everything!!
So, now that many of us as returning to school, looking for new jobs or experiencing a post-studies change in our lives, I’ve decided to share some of my favourite things with you. I hope these little whims (for we do not really need these cute things, right?) help you make a better start.
I love the old-school Bic pens. There must be a reason why they are still around: they are cheap, write perfectly and their ink lasts a reasonable amount of time. Did you know the first Bic pen dates from 1950?
But, this year, the company has given their classic pen a twist with their Bic Fashion: a pack of four Bic pens in four new vibrant colors: green, pink, violet and blue. As usual, they are not expensive and the different colors can help us categorize our notes, create diagrams or simply make our writing more cheerful.
If you still want some touch of color but are not a fan of Bic or prefer something more sophisticated, I highly recommend Pilot. They have all kinds of pens, inks and models to choose from. They can be a little more expensive but they are completely worth it.
My favourites are the classic pink and violet cap models, but recently they have launched a more extended range of colors, at least in their basic and more popular design (as shown in the picture).
But, the problem with highlighters is that they are usually big and if you want to carry a few of them you will need a huge pencil-case. Recently, many brands, probably noticing that students carry more and more weight on their backpacks have launched mini-highlighters. Usually they are sold in packs of five colors (as in the picture) and, despite not being really cheap and obviously not as lasting as the big ones, they can fit into normal pencil-cases.
Notebooks are also key. You’ll use them every day and they can highly affect your studying. Over the years, I have given up classic notebooks for ring paper. As with the highlighters, weight and space was key: I could not carry six notebooks every day to class, so I decided to carry only the notes from the two or three last lessons. Ringer paper was key to help me carry less weight and, I must admit, even helpful when you forget your notes at home because it allows you to insert new paper wherever you want into your ring-binders.
But, what I have discovered is that I love Oxford paper. It is more expensive than common paper but it is also stronger so you can use highlighters and different types of ink without ruin the notes on the other side of the sheet.
I always use planners for the academic year: they run from August to June and I’ve found them to be successful at organizing your life, in general. When the chaos of lessons, studying, reading and exams make other activities in your life impossible, a planner can really help. By planning, you organize your life and make time for other activities: when something is put down seems more doable and more obligatory than just thinking about it.
This year Moleskine has launched a Peanuts weekly planner. Could any planner get more adorable? They have different sizes (in very different prices) and they cover 18 months: July 2012 – December 2013.
Going back to organization, when buying a planner I have found a weekly one to be more helpful than a daily one. The main reason is that we cannot always make time for other activities on a daily basis (meeting friends, reading, going shopping etc), but we can surely do it weekly. For example, I always wrote all my homework on the Friday space and would get it cross as I made my way through it. By doing this, I had my weekends for myself and, at the same time, a sense of achievement made me feel better: you can see all you had to do, done.
If this year you are a looking for an original, new pencil-case I recommend you ro visit Etsy before your local store. Probably, you all know that Etsy is an online shop where almost everything is handmade or vintage. I recently bought a pencil-case there and everyone loves it, plus, I know it is like an artistic production and that it is not likely that a classmate has the same one as you do.
These are the little things that make my academic year even better. Some of them are more expensive than others, but some research can really help to improve our daily routine. I love buying pens, no matter their price, they do make me happy and help me study, as naïve as it may sound. It is within us to find what makes it easier to get through and enjoy our life!
Also, I would like remind everyone that due to the current economic crisis, there are NGOs that would gladly accept any donation, either monetary or material, of school supplies. Over the years, I have seen the local Red Cross provide the less favored groups with school supplies and books. If you have some extra-money that you wish to donate or, if doing the fall-cleaning you find extra-supplies or old books don’t hesitate to visit your favourite NGO, charity shop or church to contribute. I’m sure they’ll be super grateful for your help and desire to help others. After all, back to school means going back to a community and, it is our duty to contribute to and improve that community.