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- I'm heading back to school for my master's degree and needed to organize my shopping list.
- I divided my college supplies list into different categories to create a grad school starter pack.
- Want more school supplies? Here are the best school notebooks to buy in 2021.
After graduating during a pandemic and working remotely for a year, I'm heading back to school as a graduate student at the Information Management and Systems program at UC Berkeley. After deferring for a year due to the pandemic, I've registered for my classes, signed a lease, and am almost ready for school.
But, along with many other grad students, I'm entering the academic world after a long time away, and all these new changes at once (like moving to a new city) have made my shopping list very chaotic.
After doing a bit of research and looking at my school's requirements, I organized my list into four categories: Academic, Physical Health, Mental Health, and Fun, because part of being successful in a graduate program is also taking care of your mind, body, and soul.
Though this shopping list might look different for you depending on your preferences and your program, I found that assessing my needs based on these categories helped me figure out what I really needed. Think of it as a grad student starter pack, to help provide any inspiration you may need in getting ready for a rigorous (and exciting!) academic year ahead.
15 college and graduate school supplies to buy in 2021:
My laptop has been through my undergraduate research papers, internships, and one major tea spill. Let's just say it's time for an upgrade. My specific graduate program doesn't list any specific laptop or technology requirements, so I opted for a MacBook Pro as a lifelong Mac user. You can check out our list of the best MacBooks here.
Though there is an abundance of different calendar apps, I enjoy physically writing down assignments and events in a planner (which some studies say boosts your memory). This Blue Sky planner has monthly and weekly pages to fill out, perfect for both social and academic purposes. You can also check out our list of the best planners here.
I've been relying on Five Star notebooks since high school, picking a different color for each subject. To this day, I love their sleek feel and all the variations they have. Though I'll be mostly be typing my notes on my new laptop, I love rewriting my notes as a study strategy. You can check out more of the best school notebooks here.
Like I've said before, I love writing things down. Naturally, I need lots of pens — and the more colorful and fun, the better. Papermate InkJoy pens are a favorite of mine — I enjoy using them as an incentive to read the notes and study guides I make.
I've always wanted to meditate (especially with school coming up), but have still felt unsure of where to begin. The Calm app was referred to me by my best friend as a good place to start. You can begin using the app with a seven-day free trial and purchase a year subscription for $69.99.
I've found putting on an audiobook is a great way to unwind from a long day. Though I love revisiting old favorites like "Pride and Prejudice," I recently listened to "Ariadne" and was absolutely hooked. After using Audible Plus via a 30-day free trial, I decided to keep my subscription for $7.95 a month.
Coffee wasn't always my favorite, but I've grown into my taste for it. My go-to — a cup of Dunkin's Original Blend paired with oat milk and cinnamon — is my ideal comfort drink. Though I enjoy the ritual of brewing a pot of coffee, instant coffee is also a great quick option. You can check out our list of the best instant coffee here.
I like to journal when I'm feeling overwhelmed to focus and center my emotions. I've used this Red Co. notebook as a means of coping with stress and anxiety during the pandemic and will continue to write in it as a means to combat potential impostor syndrome or other stressors I might experience during my graduate program. If you like having more guidance via writing prompts, these anxiety journals can be a great option, too.
Since my graduate program is hybrid, I'll be attending some in-person classes. Naturally, I'm stocking up on masks and have been using these from Amazon throughout the pandemic. Though I have reusable ones too, if I'm in a hurry and haven't done my laundry, theses are a great option. You can check out our list of the best masks here.
I do not leave my house without hand sanitizer and love the Trader Joe's Hand Sanitizer Spray. My favorite scent is lavender— it smells so good, I sometimes pretend it's my perfume. You can check out our list of best hand sanitizers here.
This lighthearted, motivational 1-gallon water bottle (which has encouraging messages like "Don't Give Up" and "Feeling Awesome") has become my greatest sidekick. It's helped me stay accountable when it comes to hydration and is great to use around the house. I'll fill it up each morning and add fresh strawberries or mint leaves if I want to kick it up a notch. Though this bottle is heavy, it's perfect to leave on my desk and I won't need to move it around too much in my apartment.
I decided to pick one physical activity to do every day that doesn't involve running. I landed on jump roping as an alternative — like running, the equipment needed is easy to store and use anywhere. Taking a jump rope break during the day has been a great way to really move around during the workweek, and I'll continue to take at least 10 minutes a day to do it during grad school.
I was so excited to buy cooking supplies for my new apartment and fell in love with this mini DASH rice cooker/steamer. Though I've become a much better cook this past year, I might not have time to go full out in the kitchen when school deadlines become overwhelming. I was drawn to its bright millennial pink color and am actually excited to use it in meal prepping throughout the week. This tool will provide me the ease I need to enjoy cooking dinner, rather than the task stressing me out.
In an attempt to fill my space with things that bring me joy, I found myself smiling when I saw this fun floral rug. Since I will be working predominantly from home in my hybrid graduate program, any purchase to brighten up my room is a welcome investment.
I've always been a mug person and found these adorable UC Berkeley Map mugs on Etsy. They're perfect for drinking my daily coffee but also a great way for me to get familiarized with the UC Berkeley campus since I was unable to visit as much as I wanted during the pandemic.