Being a student is a lifestyle that differs from any other. It can be incredibly hectic a lot of the time, which is why I have a list of essentials I swear by to survive my endless days on campus and nights in the library.
Hydration is something that is often overlooked in the path to productivity. I always carry a bottle of water with me and aim to drink it by the end of the day. It may not be close to the recommended two litres a day, but it is progress and helps me keep a clear head and feel energised for longer.
Students are renowned for walking everywhere, and nothing makes a trip go by quicker than listening to your favourite tunes. I like to switch between a headphone set and some EarPods (AirPods on a student budget? I think not!) depending on where I am and what I’m doing. Having earphones on hand means I can drown out the hustle and bustle sounds of the world and concentrate on what I need to get done. I like to utilise my time while walking to catch up on voice notes from friends, listen to podcasts and even call my family.
Water is great, but it can only fuel my brain so much, and this is where coffee comes in. I’m definitely not an addict, I average about 5 cups a week, but this intake means that when I do have that caffeine fix, it works wonders. I’m alert, I’m awake and I’m able to function in maximum productivity mode.
Us students can’t always afford the latest technology, which means plodding along with poor battery life on multiple devices 24/7. I always carry a spare charger and plug for my phone and headphones in my bag for when they inevitably die. My laptop battery life claims to be 8 hours but rarely makes it past 2 without having separation anxiety from the plug so that’s another charger that gets carried to every lecture and library session. I’d also recommend investing in a portable charger, for times when you have no opportunity to plug in, but your phone is hanging on to that 1% for not much longer.
All these essentials are great and useful but trying to fit them in a handbag is definitely a struggle. Backpacks, while a bit cliché, are so useful for student life. Carrying everything on my back makes it not feel as heavy, plus it means you can always skip on the plastic bag when doing some last-minute Tesco shopping for milk and bread.
When starting university, so many people stress about what to wear. I’ve observed many students in the past few months while sat on campus and I can confidently say “Where whatever you want, as long as you’re comfortable.” For me, I have two go-to comfort looks -a trackies and hoodie kind of vibe, for when I’m either hungover, stressed or simply attempting to replicate the feeling of being wrapped in my duvet. The second is where I take time in the morning to do a simple makeup look, pick out a cute top and my fave jeans and rock up to campus feeling confident and prepped for anything life tries to throw at me. I feel comfortable in both outfits, and this helps to remove any doubts in my mind of what others would be thinking about me or if I look okay and leave 100% of my focus to my priorities.
Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, even Hay fever tablets since about last week (hello spring!) – I’ve always got a pack in my bag regardless of what time of the month I’m at. As someone who suffers from migraine attacks, it helps me to be able to catch the headache early to prevent it developing and affecting my whole day. But they also come in handy for all sort of issues,such as that inevitable back pain from being keeled over your laptop in the library for one hour too man. They’re also handy to have for when a friend is in need. A pack is so small but can have a big impact on keeping you going for a long afternoon lecture.
This is the top tier essential in my life as a student. My laptop broke a few months ago and it made me realise just how much I rely on it to survive all aspects of my study. While it may be missing one or two unimportant keys due to extensive use, it carries me through every day. Whether I’m writing assignments, submitting work, doing emails, research, notetaking, ordering last minute outfits for BOP on Amazon Prime, or chilling out with Netflix after a long hard day, my laptop is the most essential thing to help me succeed.
Food fuels us, in similar ways to water and coffee. I know sometimes when I’m stressed I find it hard to make time to cook full meals, or I’m too anxious to eat due to the stress of deadlines. This is why snacks are so important because not eating is a terrible idea and will just leave you feeling more tired and zoned out. I always aim to bring a good combination of snacks with me when I head to the library – think one or two fruits, a yoghurt, and then something indulgent like chocolate or some crisps. It’s all about balance but bringing snacks will also save you money from spending a fortune at the café on campus.
Back up your work. Trust me, I learned this the hard way and it is not fun to have to rewrite a 3,5000-word essay two hours before its due. Most University emails are set up through Microsoft, so you should automatically have a OneDrive account where you can save all your work and content to the cloud so that it doesn’t delete itself by accident. Its essential in my life to avoid making the same mistakes.
One of the newest additions to my student essentials list, Jamworks is a free note-taking study app for students. It records the important and relevant parts of my lecture which I can then clip up into sections and transcribe into written notes. Jamworks is essential for my lectures as I can focus more clearly on the lecture content, knowing the app is doing the work for me.
So, these are all my student essentials! I hope you find some or all of these useful and make
sure to try some new ones out!