For many on campus, this year marks their first year at university, or the start of a post-COVID-19 academic year. As a result, you might not know what to pack in your bag. A notebook, pens, and a water bottle are obvious — but what about those unconventional items that you might not have considered, but could prove useful down the road?
If you struggle with every-day student nightmares like a dying battery, chapped lips, or Central Academic Building (CAB) being too loud to take a nap, look no further! Our authors have compiled a list of all the offbeat and overlooked must-haves to help you tackle whatever hurdles campus throws your way.
As students, sometimes we can’t help the fact that we may only get a few hours of precious sleep before we rush to school. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just nap on campus anywhere you please? If you think that sounds relatable, then the Loop earplugs might be for you! Any earplugs are fine, but I prefer reusable ones that look minimal and come with a handy case. Many of the reusable earplugs on the market come in a variety of colours, so you can get a pair that suits your style (mine are maroon red!)
Personally, I can’t focus on studying if I hear any noise in the background. When I sit down at a desk in the library, as soon as my Loop’s go in, my nose is in the books and it’s time to tackle my problem sets. It’s like an automatic switch to focus mode for me. While my earplugs remove the background noise, the decibel reduction isn’t so much that I’m totally unaware of my surroundings — I’m still able to hear if there is loud traffic approaching, or if someone is trying to talk to me. This item is a must-have for anyone who is noise sensitive like me.
– Hannah Louis
Cocoa butter Vaseline
With the cold Canadian winter coming, many things in our daily life are going to become a lot harder to do. Whether it’s shoveling your sidewalk, defrosting your car, or keeping warm while making your way to campus, everyone can name something tedious that needs to be taken care of. However, chapped lips can be the most annoying thing of them all, making winter that much harder.
Whether you’re in your first year or finishing your last, every student should have something to defeat those flaky lips during the long winter season. In HUB mall, there is Varsity, a small convenience store which most students have probably walked by at least once. There lies the holy grail for the winter semester (and really any other time) — the cocoa butter Vaseline. For only $3.44, you can save yourself and your dry lips. Keep it somewhere easily accessible, like in a backpack, book bag, or anything that comes with you to school every day. Whichever way you choose to bring it to campus, keep it on your person! It may sound like something so simple, but Vaseline is an often forgotten but necessary tool. Maybe a small reminder like this can save some students from the dryness, and make winter that little bit easier.
– Orlah Moore
Multi-outlet extension cord
Not many people bring this to campus, but my multi-outlet extension cord is something I rely on more than my morning tea. I know, it’s basic. You may say “there’s already the fancy work pods with built-in outlets and direct USB connectivity for mobile devices,” but hear me out. You will feel like a godsend to yourself and your friends when that one outlet in the only study space you can find can suddenly transform into a thousand more. It’s also a flex whenever you set up your temporary space in the library. I bet everyone who sees it will be impressed at how smart you look.
When you get one of your own, I would suggest measuring one of those Rutherford South tables and getting one that is triple that length. As a fourth year who has seen too much, you have never felt fear until your very old computer starts shutting down while you work on an essay due in 10 minutes.
– Arthur Macatangay
First aid kit
After a few years of not being on campus, it took a bit of practice when it came to not forgetting things while packing my bag. We all pretty much have the same standard things, but the one thing I absolutely cannot survive the day without is a first aid kit. Yep, you got that right. And I’m not talking about a full scaled first aid kit in a giant plastic case — I’m talking about a mini sized one that slips into my backpack’s front pocket.
Before you brush this off, give it a shot. Ever gotten a papercut on a notebook or anxiously picked your skin a little too much and then have to wander around campus trying to find someone who has a Band-Aid to spare? As the self-proclaimed mom friend, I can safely say I always have a first aid kit on me. It has everything from Band-Aids for that paper cut to Advil for that midterm migraine. I even have blister pads for when you decide that a Monday full of classes is the day to break in your new shoes. I also carry a tiny tube of Polysporin (for that Monday blister), some burn cream (in case a lab goes awry), some nail scissors and file (hey look, it’s handy), and some medical tape (which I’ve honestly used for more than just medical reasons).
A lot of little mishaps can happen over the course of a day on campus, and it’s better to alleviate a fraction of your anxiety just by being prepared for those accidents. Honestly, carrying a first aid kit has been one of my better decisions, and I’m sure my accident-prone friends would agree.
– Anna Bajwa-Zschocke
This may sound bizarre, but I think students should bring a fluffy little pillow to campus. Especially on days when you might be on campus from early in the morning to later in the day.
The pillow can serve to improve your back posture from sitting all day, and even make some hard chairs on campus (emphasis on CCIS) more comfortable to sit on. Additionally, you can take some of the most cozy power naps.
It’s important for students to have a daily source of joy and stress relief. This little pillow will hopefully enhance your mood and university experience overall.
– Chisom Amah