I love college for the simple fact that one can have two “back to schools” a year (more if you want to torture yourself with an intercession course). Each spring and fall I start fresh and do a bit of gathering for the coming semester. I clean out the backpack from last semester (sorry black, shriveled banana– forgot you were in there) and reorganize my tools. I have been thinking a lot about what I will use this spring. This is the first semester in my college career where I am taking a full course load. That’s four classes and 16 credits– no small feat for a non-traditional like myself. In order to stay engaged and motivated, I often mix up what writing tools I use throughout the semester. Here is a glimpse into my backpack and at each and every thing that I put into that backpack for the semester.
Like most college students, I have a lot of shit to carry around. I had considered purchasing a hip messenger bag, but it was hard to find one that had all of the features I wanted– extra secure pockets, place for water bottle, multiple compartments for various things (headphones, pocket notebooks, pencils/pens, etc.), and comfortable straps since a lot of my classes involve me trekking across one end of campus to the other. I decided to go with a North Face (I know, SO cliché) backpack. I chose the Recon because it checked off all of the boxes for me:
I have had this bag for two years now and it has yet to let me down. It has worn very well and all zippers work like new. While I would love to have a reason to purchase a new backpack, I have no reason to with the North Face Recon.
This selection really goes against my uppity, elitist stationery preferences, but my notebook choice for last semester and this semester is the lowly Staples college ruled spiral notebook. I have found that when I am taking note on the fly in class or when I am reading along with a text I am unable to do so neatly. I have a strong desire to have everything uniform and routine with my notes (same headers/hierarchy), so using a good notebook for that and having to take my time to achieve this goal would no be feasible. What I have done instead is if I do take notes for a class that is within my major, I will re-write them in a nicer notebook for long-term use. Using cheap Staples notebooks allows me to spend a bit more money on things like pencils and other tools where quality does matter.
I actually use two pencil cases for my every day carry backpack. The first one is the Nomadic PE-18 Pen case. I chose this case for the simple fact that it had a lot of compartments without being too bulky. I really like that it has one large compartment for pens and pencils and a smaller compartment for a few highlighters or pens as well. Every compartment is smartly designed and the Nomadic has held up for the past three years of every day use.
The second pencil case I use is one I just purchased. It is the CW Pencil Enterprise branded Viking leather pencil case. This case is beautiful and even holds an unsharpened Blackwing. I plan on using this case as a holder for whichever pencil and eraser I am using for the week as well as highlighters and any marking pencils I need for work. Caroline is currently sold out of these cases, but she plans on getting more in stock in a variety of colors.
There are really only two erasers I ever use: the Matomaru-Kun Plastic Eraser and the Tombow MONO “Erase Easily” Eraser. The Matomaru-Kun is a bit softer than the Tombow, but both perform well. They do not damage the paper at all and completely erase pencil markings opposed to smearing them around a bit before rubbing them off the paper.
I carry four sharpeners with me in a small plastic box and each sharpener has a particular use. The Masterpiece and/or the Pollux are for when I have time to sharpen a nice long point on a pencil. The Milan square sharpener is for when I am taking notes in class and need to sharpen quickly. The Milan leaves a “just right” point for writing. Finally, I use an M+R Brass dual hole sharpener for when I need to sharpen a jumbo pencil or one of my highlighter pencils.
I have a thing for highlighters. I can never seem to settle on a particular brand or color for too long. I used to use the Tombow Kei Coat Double Sided highlighters, but now have moved on to the Zebra Mildliners. I have all three sets, but really like the light neon ones for schoolwork. I also use the Caran D’Ache Couleurs Flous Jumbo highlighter pencils when I am in the mood. I recommend all colors but the yellow one as the yellow really needs you to push pretty hard for it to show up noticeably.
This is a tough one. I have hundreds of pencils around the house. To select just a few to accompany me on my school adventures is a difficult task and at first I was just going to pick one brand and stick with it for the whole semester. Then I got thinking. Part of the fun is using a different pencil every now and then. I narrowed it down to a select few:
I will not go into how each pencil performs as I will probably blog about it this semester, but I will say that I tried to pick a range of brands while staying within the same lead grade in order to have some consistency. I made sure to try to include pencils that I have never used before to keep it interesting.
In previous years, I have used a Field Notes undated planner for school assignments. This year I decided to go with a Baron Fig Confidant planner since I have never tried any of their paper or products that much. I can say that initially I am underwhelmed with the Baron Fig planner– the cover fabric seems to have come unglued from the heavy cover underneath. This is only along the spine and does not affect the use of the book, but I guess I was expecting more. We shall see how it turns out.
I hope all of you enjoyed a glimpse into my academic school supply life. I’d be curious to hear from other students to see what they choose to carry. Leave a comment if so inspired.