After a nice and rather chilled break, the university holidays are over, which means back to the reality of having no social life (or feeling guilty for having one), minimal income and putting in countless hours of studying and assignment work to maintain the crucial GPA.
It’s no lie that when preparing for the start of the second semester all university students begin week one with the same motivaltional statement – “I’m going to really try this semester. I’m going to attend every lecture and every tutorial, start my assignments as soon as I get them and stay on top of weekly readings.” Once week 2 hits and you’ve already fallen behind, your pep talk flies out the window and you’re stuck once again, doing all in your power to stay afloat. We’ve all been there, heck I’m still there! Priorities are difficult when there’s internships to do, Netflix to watch, customers to serve, assignments to write, textbooks to read, drinks to guzzle and social outings to make an appearance at.
To give you a helping hand this semester, I (as a fellow uni student) have compiled a list of things that are must-haves for this semester. Trust me, all of the feels have been considered and taken into account while compiling this list.
THE UNIVERSITY SURVIVAL GUIDE
Cool stationery – I don’t know about you but I have a heavy stationery addiction, continually falling under the Typo and Kiki K spell, wanting to spend copious amounts of money in their stores on pointless stationary with lavish price tags because it will ‘make me more productive’ or ‘help motivate me.’ No matter how many times your head screams ‘NO’ or ‘I don’t need it’, you will still swipe away your life savings on a notebook that has a pug on the front cover because, pugs. To make my addiction seem more worthwhile, this semester I flipped my habit on its head and went to Words With Heart instead. The Words With Heart notebooks are so chic and are adorned with the cutest prints and patterns and filled with motivational quotes. But you know what else, Words With Heart is not just a stationery brand, its a brand that takes pride in its environmentally responsible production, raises funds for education projects for women and children and provides empowerment through words with a whole lot of hear. Take my money, take all of it!Subject USB’s – These little suckers are as bad as bobby pins; they have certainly mastered the art of invisibility and disappearance. As university students we tend to keep our entire lives (read: a whole semesters worth of work) on one device that can, very easily, disappear. Using multiple USB’s (one per subject) is a pricy investment, but one worth spending your money on because it will stop you from loosing absolutely everything when one is lost, stolen or malfunctions, and it’s also a good way to keep everything in the one place and organised.
Epic playlists – Music plays a big role when it comes to study motivation and lets face it, when in the library, earphones are essential, both to block out noise and procrastinate at the same time (study notes, what study notes). This semester I have gone for a more positive note, using my need to play music as an aid in motivation rather than distraction. Creating multiple playlists for different feelings and assessment stages will mean the right music fills your head when you need it. It’s a personal cheer squad, so make sure you have these three playlists on hand at all times: The Pump up Playlist: Specifically used when brainstorming ideas for group assignments, essay questions and study tactics. The Ballads Playlist: Used for when you are writing and reading, it’s background music to help you power through. The Girl Power Playlist: Think “Fight Song” By Rachel Platten on repeat, this playlist will get you through the final stages of assessment and motivate you on the final stretch.
Good Earphones – While we are on the topic of music, you need good earphones. Earphones are your uni besties because they 1, block out noise, 2, block out noise and 3, they block out noise. Free yourself from distractions (I’m looking at you loud people in the quiet zone) and look super busy when on campus to avoid awkward conversations with good quality earphones.
Portable Phone Charger – The amount of times that I have run out of phone battery whilst at uni is ridiculous. I need to take my own advice and buy a battery pack that will recharge my phone anywhere, anytime. Keep it charged and in your handbag at all times, it will save your life, or at least your sanity, on multiple occasions. Outside of uni, portable phone chargers are also perfect for recharging your devices on the go when travelling and camping, or when you’re running out the door with 16%.
COFFEE!!! – Do I even need to say anything else? If you are like me, you will be a regular at the university coffee shop by week 2, so it’s a definite must have for uni survival. If you are partial to a latte in the morning, check out our post here on 20 of Brisbane’s best lattes.
A versatile wardrobe – Regardless of how many hours you worked over break, as soon as uni starts back up, we all go into survival of the fittest and every man is for themselves as expenses for textbooks, fees, transport and food goes up as bank accounts take a hit. In order to halt the impulse online shopping and retail therapy habits, you need to have a lot of basic items of clothing in your uni wardrobe that can be mixed and matched. This way, you won’t get bored of your everyday clothes and you’ll confuse people into thinking you have a great wardrobe. Less is more, and comfort is the priority.
A Light Jumper and Comfortable Shoes – As we will soon be approaching the warmer months, it is critical that you still bring a light jumper to lectures as those rooms can go from summer in Bali to winter in London in a matter of seconds, regardless of the season. Trust a seasoned pro – you will need it more than you won’t. As for the comfy shoes, that’s a given. University is not the place to break in your new heels, flats, sneakers, sandals, ankle boots or sliders. Stay comfy and remember that uni life is not a fashion statement, and there’s nothing wrong with Nikes and boyfriend jeans.
Diary or Planner – Having a uni planner that can easily display all of your assignments, tasks and due dates is the best way to prioritise assignments. Writing all assignments into the planner at the beginning of the semester also allows you to see exactly what will need to be done and when. When you are filling out your planner at the start of the semester, check which subjects have group assignments and make a note to find a good group of peeps early because there’s nothing worse than having “get into groups for assesment” sprung on you with no plan of attack.
Laptop sleeve – This may not seem like an important essential to you now, and last year I would have totally agreed with you, but I have a horror story that will change your mind. Last semester I watched as a fellow student dropped their laptop whilst walking down the stairs and it shattered into ten different parts. Ever since that day I have carried my laptop in a sleeve and in my bag as I want to avoid that situation at all costs.
So, welcome back to uni guys, I can’t wait to suffer through the next 15 weeks with you all.
If you have a uni essential that is at the top of your survival kit, tell us in the comments below. In the words of High School Musical, we’re all in this together!