I definitely bought more than enough stationery to last me for the duration of my degree last year, but I’m not one to pass up an excuse to buy more. Not only does the start of a new academic year call for a new wardrobe, it also calls for a supermarket sweep style run around the likes of Paperchase to pick up the “essentials” for the year ahead. I think I’ve been quite reserved in my stationery shopping this year, having finally figured out what I actually need as I enter my fourth year of further education, but I probably don’t really need half as much as I think I do in the first place. I’m a sucker for a “back to school” marketing campaign, what can I say?!
My classes started back yesterday and as much as I appreciate the return to a routine, the 9 am starts are killing me slowly already. My first semester modules all seem pretty interesting, though, and I have two days off a week which is always a bonus. This is my last year at college, but I’m about to start applying to universities for the second half of my degree, which is a tad scary. No pressure, y’know. I think I know where I want to go so here’s hoping I actually get in. I’m trying to start as I mean to go on, with lots of organisation and keeping on top of my notes, but we’ll just have to see how long that lasts…
The main focus of my stationery shopping has been organisation, and I think I’ve got it nailed with my absolutely beautiful Kate Spade Dahlia Agenda. As soon as I saw this in the newsletter I knew it had to be mine, and it’s kind of sad how excited I was when it arrived. I had a Kate Spade agenda last year, which technically would have lasted me until the end of 2017 as it’s a 17-month agenda, but I wanted to upgrade to the larger size. This year’s planners have stickers too, which is incredibly exciting for stationery addicts like myself. Having a nice planner is hugely motivating for me and really helps me keep on top of my life, so it’s always a must. For extra organisation, I also have my desk planner, which allows me to see my week at a glance when I’m sitting at my computer and my bullet journal which I tend to use for more miscellaneous things like to-do lists, my food diary and random brainstorming sessions.
Last year, I had a selection of A4 multi-subject notebooks for my classes, which were useful for organising my notes, but I found them to be a bit too bulky and it meant I had to carry quite big bags to fit them in. This year, I’ve decided to downsize, instead opting for a range of A5 notebooks which are much easier to fit in my bag. I still like to keep my subjects separated and organised, so this trio of Caroline Gardner notebooks is ideal. Two of the notebooks are lined, which is my preference for note-taking, but what I love is that one of them is blank. I study Advertising and Public Relations, so although my work is mostly written there are a lot of times when blank pages come in handy for sketching down ideas or doodling diagrams.
When it comes to sketching out ideas, pencils are a lifesaver for my inner perfectionist. To match my notebooks I’ve got a set of six pencils from Caroline Gardner which are both cute and functional – basically my requirements for everything I buy these days. I am mostly a pen kind of gal, but I am very fussy about how my notes look so pencils are a must for when I know things are going to need to be tidied up. Yes, I am one of those people. I keep everything in one place in my handy Kate Spade pencil case because I am obsessed with anything and everything Kate Spade, plus it matches my diary. I hate fishing around in the bottom of my bag trying to find a pen when I need it most, which this pencil case solves.
Also stuffed into my pencil case, you’ll find an array of assorted bits and bobs such as paperclips, a sharpener, erasers and some very cute washi tape. Whilst they don’t always see a lot of use, I like to keep them on hand just in case. You never know what sort of situation will call for some sassy washi tape decoration, so it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Maybe not the most essential part of my stationery collection, but something I carry nonetheless. Plus, fun little pieces like pretty clips and pens make excellent blog photo props, as demonstrated in this post.
In an attempt to keep all of those loose bits of paper that float about my bag in some sort of order, I like to have some folders on hand. I have a big concertina file that I keep at my desk to organise all of life’s essential paperwork, but smaller cardboard folders are ideal for popping in my bag when I need them. A small detail, but it saves me so much time as I no longer have to root through my never ending pile of paper on my desk when I’m searching for a specific handout.
Whilst that’s the bulk of my stationery essentials covered, I have a few other things that I can’t be without for college days. The days can feel quite long, especially with three-hour classes, so there are some things that help me make it through the day unscathed. Snacks are top of that list, but I also really struggle with staying hydrated so I aaaaalways need to have a decent water bottle on hand too. I carry my laptop most days, just for ease, so a decent case and a sturdy bag are pivotal, although I haven’t found the perfect bag for this year yet.
My bus pass lives on my phone and as a social media addict, I live in fear of being stranded with no phone battery, which results in me carrying a portable charger in my bag at all times. Luckily, since upgrading to the iPhone 7 Plus, my battery tends to last all day long anyway! For my long commutes with rush hour traffic and unexpected breaks throughout the day, I keep my headphones and a good book handy. Listening to my favourite podcasts in the morning is one of the best ways to pass the time stuck in traffic, and I find that listening to music is great for keeping me focused and drowning out the noise in the library.
All in all, I think I’m pretty well prepared for the year ahead. If it flies in anywhere near as fast as the last year did, then university will be here in no time. Eek.