Whether you’re actually heading to university this year or just feel compelled to do some “back to school” window shopping, this is the list for you! This is not an invitation to just throw money at things, but rather some personal recommendations to make your studies more productive and joyful.
(Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. I only recommend products that I like and either currently use or would use. If you make a purchase, you support this blog: I earn a commission at no cost to you.)
Universities now have an extensive range of digitised material (books and scientific papers) that are only a click away. Also I suspect that most unis expect students to submit assignments online. You can always use a desktop / a library computer, but I do very much appreciate the freedom my laptop gives me!
I personally have a Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 – which is really cool as I can fold it and use it as a screen connected to my Portuguese keyboard while I stand at my desk. Toshiba doesn’t seem to still be making that model, but there are plenty of options out there for most budgets!
You don’t really need these – but hey if they make re-reading your notes more enjoyable they’re definitely a good buy!
As a side-note: I highly recommend hand-writing your notes. In my experience it somehow works much better and some people say it helps with memorising and creativity. A big thing is that you can’t seamlessly switch to social media / blogs while writing with pen and paper.
3 – Brush-tip pens
I like double-ended pens because I can use them to add colour to my notes as well as more creative endeavours.
I have a system when going through my notes: I’ll go back over titles and key words in red felt-tip and the subtitles in green, then the level below that (if any) in blue, then purple. And I’ll highlight (see above) people’s names in blue, dates in green, names of books or other works in yellow, countries or regions in orange, cities / specific places in pink and quotes in purple. Just me or are you crazy too?
I do find having something to do keeps my mind from drifting when I’m reviewing notes. Another benefit is that I can see what a page is broadly about at a glance.
4 – A nice notebook
I like to write my lecture / conference / meeting notes on A4 perforated sheets of paper that I then go over and put in a folder. That isn’t what this recommendation is for. What I really recommend you do is buy a notebook that you like of the look of and start journaling. You could write lists of what you’re grateful for, do some morning pages or try goal-related affirmations.
My way of using journaling for personal growth keeps evolving. What I am doing now is inspired by a ModernHealthMonk video. As part of my morning routine, I read a personal development book (right now it’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying). I either highlight important bits on a Kindle book or fold corners as I go along. When I reach the end of a chapter, I go back over those important bits and write some notes to myself. Then I go over those notes and write in block letters what the main applicable lessons are. For example a simple one from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying would be “Tidy by category and subcategory”.
If you’re not currently reading that much, you could also do this with podcasts or YouTube channels on a subject you want to learn about or a skill you want to master. Check out my resources page for book and podcast recommendations!
5 – Nail polishes
We’re now venturing into the very optional items here! However nail polish is a great little purchase for three reasons:
- It’s nice to change up your style with the new season, whether that’s a literal season or a new season of life (going back to uni, starting a PhD…).
- Having painted nails might make you feel a bit more confident, happy and put together.
- Painting your nails is a good thing to do on a study break: it focuses your mind on something that isn’t your screen or notes for a few minutes, and you don’t disappear into the wormhole of the internet.
I’ve fallen in love with the ORLY brand of nail polishes. They’re vegan, cruelty-free and high quality! The three colours I have are: Morning Mantra, Just Breathe and Rage. I’m so happy with them that I’m planning on staying loyal to the ORLY brand and slowly collecting other colours (… if Father Christmas is reading this, you know what to do!).
6 – A new jacket
I recently bought a very scholarly-looking jacket at New Look and it makes me happy! I feel like Diane from A Discovery of Witches when I stride out in it. (Anyone else reading / watching A Discovery of Witches?)
Anyhoo, a new jacket could be just the right thing to keep you warm and give your style a nice boost. Whether you’re a trench coat or moto jacket kind of person, check your local charity shops for unique finds!
I would quite like to write and photograph more “style” related things – please tell me in the comments below if that is something you would be interested in!
Share your thoughts
Are you starting a new course? Or do you just feel like you want to go shopping for new study supplies when the seasons start to change? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!