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What to Bring to Your First Day of Class In College (Hint, Not Your Textbook)

first day of class

About 19.9 million American students will attend college in 2019.

If you’re one of these students and your first day of class is yet to come, you’re likely a little bit nervous. It’s normal, this is a big, exciting step!

Now, while you wonder and fantasize about how this new phase of your life is going to go, you might forget about other things that are just as important… like your school supplies.

The good news is that we’ve compiled a list of all the essentials you’ll need to pack for a successful first day in college.

Read our list, make sure you have everything and you won’t have to worry about it anymore!

1. Notebooks

If there’s one thing you should do during your college classes is take notes of all the most important things the professor says – especially those that aren’t in the books or Powerpoints!

Get a notebook for each subject you’re taking and do your best to keep them updated and organized. 

Trust us, when exam season comes, you’ll be thankful you did this!

2. Textbooks

Either before or on your first day of college, you’ll get a list of recommended textbooks for each of the subjects you’ll take on.

The thing about textbooks is that they can be quite pricey and many students end up not getting all the ones they actually need.

But there are ways of getting around that problem. One of them is by purchasing these books online, either new or used. Find the right websites and you can save up to 95%. Crazy, isn’t it?

Another option is renting textbooks, instead of buying them. After all, how bad will you really need those books once the school year is over? Choose this route and you can save up to 70%.

Finally, you can sell your books once you don’t need them anymore. This way, you get at least a part of your money back and you’ll be able to afford next year’s books.

3. Calendar

Doing good in college is very much about staying organized.

Class schedules, exam dates, presentation dates, group meetings… college is a lot of work and trusting in your memory alone might not be the most reliable strategy.

Besides all this, having a calendar allows you to write down a study plan for each week or month. This way, you ensure you have time to go over all the topics you need to that’ll show in your grades.

If you don’t want to carry around a physical calendar, you can always install an app like Asana on your phone. As long as you stay on top of things, the method you go for really doesn’t matter!

4. Writing Material

This one should come without saying. But let’s be honest, who has never arrived at school only to realize they didn’t bring any pens or pencils?

Buy a case and keep all the essentials in there: pens, pencils, a rubber, a few highlighters, and a pencil sharpener.

This way, not only will you not have to interrupt the class to ask for a pen, but you can borrow some material to someone who forgot and maybe even make friends like that!

And if you tend to forget your material, keep an extra pen in one of the smaller pouches in your bag. This way even if your regular case stays at home, you have a backup writing supply.

5. Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important for everyone.

But as a college student, water is definitely a must-have and must-drink every single day. Why? Well, it improves your brain function, as well as short-time and long-term memory.

Plus, if you always have a water bottle in your bag, you won’t have to interrupt any classes when you get thirsty!

6. Breakfast

Breakfast isn’t a school supply, we know. But it’s very important nonetheless!

Now, we know that every single extra second you get to spend in bed during college is precious. So if you find it hard to prepare your breakfast in the morning, just change tactics and start preparing it the night before.

A sandwich, a bowl of overnight oats or a smoothie full of fruits and veggies are three awesome options. You can get as creative as you want with them, use up all the leftovers you have in the kitchen and you’ll definitely get full and ready for the day.

And since we’re on the topic of food… you might want to stock up on coffee and buy a reusable cup.

Coffee will increase your mental focus and improve your mood. So yes, we’d say coffee is another essential for your first day of college (and all the ones that follow).

8. College Map

Asking for directions on your first day of class can make you feel a bit anxious, especially if you’re a shy person.

So get a map of your college and try to figure out where everything is.

This will prevent you from being late to class and will give you time to start talking to people when you feel ready for it, and not when you’re in desperate need of help figuring out where you need to go.

7. Laptop

This one isn’t exactly essential. So if you don’t own a laptop, don’t worry, you’ll still do just as good as your colleagues.

If you do own one, keep in mind that you should check with the professor of each class if they’re okay with students using their laptop.

Some of them will likely prefer the old school way and ask you to bring a notebook. But you’ll see that others will encourage you to use a laptop or tablet. 

Just remember: no Facebook during classes!

First Day of Class: You Got This!

These seven items will be pretty useful during your college classes, but there are two extra things you should have with you on your first day of college and all the other days: confidence and a positive attitude!

The first day is nerve-racking but you’re about to start what many people call the best time of their lives.

So don’t let your nerves stop you from enjoying this time any less!

If there’s anything you’d like to ask us about textbooks or other college-related topics, don’t hesitate to send us a message. Good luck!

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.