Summer has pretty much come to a close, which means it’s time to put down the after-sun and get the schoolbag back out; it’s back to college! While shops love to remind us of the wee babas going back to school as soon as it hits July, us third level students are somewhat neglected. There isn’t a “Back to College” section in shops, like there is for secondary and primary school, but there are some crucial things I would advise carrying around with you.
Comfort food: You’ll most likely have to endure lectures that drain the life out of you; if you’re unlucky you might not even have a break between trying to make it from one end of campus to another for your classes. I had a 3-hour lab from 12-3 last semester, and our lecturer was nice enough to give us a 10-minute break which gave me enough time to run to Spar for caffeine and chocolate to revive me, only to return sweaty with a caffeine stained top. Be prepared and bring some snacks with you. As long as you don’t pull a feast out of your bag, which will attract hungry, wild students asking to share/eat all your food.
Coffee flask: If you have 9am starts or just generally depend on caffeine for survival, a good flask for coffee will warm your soul and turn you into a functioning human. Fill it up before coming in, or if there’s a place on campus make yourself a cup there before class. Most people thought it was sad that I always had sachets of instant coffee in my bag, I however think it was innovative. Suckers.
Academic planner: One of the biggest lies you will ever tell yourself (and you will tell yourself a lot, trust me), is that you will remember the deadline for your assignment that’s in three weeks’ time. You’re better off to write it all down in a planner, because your mushed student brain won’t be able to remember all the deadlines when they start to pile up (shivers).
Pens, books, notebooks: Like the academic planner, you may tell yourself that you’ll remember everything but you know won’t. So buy all the stationary you can see. Buy it all. There is nothing more motivating than filling a basket in Tiger with all their notebooks, pens, post-it notes and stickers available. This will be your year!*
An umbrella AND sunglasses: Just because it’s sunny when you arrive doesn’t mean it will be like that all day. This is Ireland after all, be prepared to experience all four seasons in one day. So pack an umbrella, scarf, sunglasses, and wellies. Be prepared.
Phone charger: Nothing is worse than your phone dying during the day. Your phone dies; you die. What do you do with yourself when you can’t complain on Twitter or YikYak about how boring your lecture is? Plus, with Pokémon Go being all the rage now, we can’t afford to lose any chance of catching our twentieth Weedle on campus.
Painkillers: For the hangovers. And for the person who sits beside you and won’t shut. Up.
A shield: Some days you’ll be too hungover to talk to people, and other days your hidden hatred of other people will just become too much. A book or headphones are the universal “don’t talk to me” symbol. It’s a lot gentler than actually telling people to leave you alone. Plus, if you choose a book you’re actually supposed to read, you might actually get some work done for once!
Spare shoes: If, like me, you like to wear shoes with a bit of a heel but actually can’t handle the pain, bringing a pair of flats in your bag will save your feet. Walking around college wearing pumps or converse is far easier than suffering through the stylish – but evil – pair.
Deodorant: Don’t be that person stinking of BO that some poor soul gets stuck next to, please don’t. I understand that sometimes you’re in a rush and don’t have enough time to shower, but be considerate of those around you. No one wants to smell your drinks and spice bags from the past three nights.
Sustenance: Sometimes the food on campus is overpriced, unappetizing, or just plain disgusting. Besides, it’s easier to eat healthy and save money when you make your own food, because you know what’s going in it and most of the time there won’t be a lot going in it because A): you’re poor and B): you’re lazy.
Protection: If you’re planning on… shall we say getting around then you should carry protection with you, be it condoms, the pill, patch or Pokémon Go. Better safe than sorry.
*May not be your year.