List of Back to School/Uni "Essentials" (using the word "essentials" lightly):
1) Bag - you obviously need a bag. I mean, if you're going for that American teen movie look where people for some reason carry around all their folders and textbooks in their arms instead of conveniently putting them away in a bag, then sure, but if you want to avoid injuring yourself and/or dropping everything on the floor constantly, I recommend a proper bag. I am very fond of backpacks - so fond, in fact, that I bought two. Here they are below; feel free to judge, I'm sure I have terrible taste.
2) A sense of humour - yeah, this really is essential. Classes can be very, very dull. People can be very, very annoying. You won't get by without some humour in your life. You might get lucky and have a lecturer who tells jokes - my Equity & Trusts professor was actually quite funny and I'm pretty sure he's the only reason I ever paid attention in those lectures.
3) Stationery - more pens then you will ever need, more highlighters than can ever be used, a pencil case, a calculator if you're a clever clogs who does mathsy type things, a ton of notepads because I'm too lazy to lug my laptop around so I handwrite all my notes (which isn't great for me as I have THE worst handwriting, I'm not even joking, every teacher I've ever had has voiced concerns), those little sticky-tab things and a bunch of other stuff that looks really pretty in the shop and you promise yourself you will put to good use but actually just ends up lying on your desk unopened. Like I plan to buy these fineliner pens below but I know I'll probably just use them once and then only ever pick them up again if I feel like doing some colouring...
4) Motivation - you'll need this if you want to do well, but this is unfortunately something I severely lack. To be fair, my degree is horrendously boring. I'm supposed to be coming up with an idea for my dissertation right now and I've got nothing. Nooo idea what to do it on. How bad do you think it would be if I wrote a ten thousand word essay on how much the law sucks?
5) Nail varnish - I like to paint my nails as a way of procrastinating. You can never have too many nail varnishes, and at the moment I'm really liking Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine range because they don't chip as much as normal ones. Like really, they don't chip for DAYS. As I mentioned, I'm super lazy and I never bother with base coats or top coats, and these nail varnishes still last for days without chipping and even when the do chip you can still get away with it for quite a while longer. I like most of the colours but they've recently released some more autumnal shades I'm looking forward to trying out (I don't know why they needed the picture of this woman doing some strange, supposedly alluring look to advertise nail varnish, but whatever).
6) Tolerance - unfortunately, there are a lot of ridiculous people in the world that you're just going to have to put up with. An absurd amount of these people turn up at school/uni and yes, you may want to shout at them for their ridiculousness and yes, you may just end up doing so at those few extra-ridiculous people, but for the most part, you're just going to have to sit tight and wait for them to leave.
7) Hair bands and bobby pins - if you have medium-length or longer hair, you'll need these. I have long hair and I don't remember how I used to get through a day without plaiting my hair or putting it back in some way, especially when it's windy. Even if you don't usually tie your hair up, it's worth carrying some of these on you anyway just in case, because you never know what's going to happen.
8) A printer that works - so let me tell you a little story. First year, day before coursework is due in. My very expensive printer that was perfectly fine up until THIS DAY decides to break. I am panicking. I try to fix it. I fix it temporarily. It breaks again. I lament my life. I call many people to see who will let me use their printer. Someone luckily agrees. Hand in coursework in the nick of time. Fast forward to year two. I don't have my own printer, I use a flatmate's expensive printer and contribute to ink and paper. The actual day my coursework is due in. Flatmate prints her work. I think all will be well. Just as I go to print mine - the printer BREAKS. Flatmate abandons me. I try other flatmate's printer. She is out of ink. I panic. I call people. No-one answers. I go the library as a last resort. Cannot get past stupid library card-swipe barriers (this is why it was a last resort). After about eight attempts and severely agitating everyone behind me, I finally get into the library. Every computer on all FIVE floors is full. I leave. I panic some more. I call people again. A friend luckily answers and says I can use her printer. I rush over. End up handing in my coursework fifteen minutes before the deadline. After these two very stressful experiences, I refuse to ever have printer issues again. Since two expensive printers ended up breaking after less than six month of use, I ended up buying the cheapest, crappiest printer I could find, and honestly, it's the best printer I've ever had.
9) Lip balm - I have so many lip balms. I need lip balm. If I go a day without it, my lips crack. It's a curse. I even carry one in my pencil case so I can reapply whenever. I like Nivea the most, but the Vaseline stick ones are pretty good too.
10) Books - books are of course an essential. I pretty much always carry around a book (or my Kindle) in my bag, for in between lectures or if I have some time to kill while on campus. Just avoid laughing out loud, because people WILL look at you. I have had people give me some very odd looks while I was sitting in my university's campus cafe/restaurant place. Though I always get strange looks anyway because you have to climb a mountain of stairs to get to this place and usually by the time I reach a seat I'm so out of breath you'd think I'd just run a marathon. I am not good with stairs. One time, my friend made me go up all 193 steps at Covent Garden and by the time I reached the top, I was practically dead and ready to kill her too.
Aaaand that's all I could think of. I'm sure there's more (especially if you're off to uni, don't forget cutlery and toiletries and stuff like that), but I didn't really want to do more than ten. Hopefully this list has been semi-useful and good luck to everyone going back to school/uni!