Hey everyone! I honestly can’t believe summer is pretty much over. Yeah, I’ve been in school for a month, but Labor Day weekend, the Goldie Awards, and the last few warm weekends have kept me clinging to summer as hard as possible. But, all good things must come to an end. Here’s to focusing on academics and (hopefully) not procrastinating ’till midterms.
When I was a freshman in high school, I got a great bit of advice from my mentor (homeroom teacher). He sat us down one morning, dead serious, and told us “Always get great school supplies. Invest in yourself. If you’re using a pencil, make sure it’s the best pencil you’ve ever had. When you care about the tools you use, you create high quality work.” As cheesy as it sounded, he was 100% right. When you start to feel proud of the work you do, you push yourself to put out work that’s worth being proud of. And, sometimes, that all starts with the right tools.
I’m that one guy who loves school supply shopping. Lately, during the school day, I spend more time studying, organizing, and taking notes, and less time on my phone because I actually want to be using this stuff! I keep a running list of all the stuff I need to feel like I’m doing my best work. So, in order to arm you guys with the right tools, I decided to share my top 10 picks below:
Paper Mate SharpWriter Pencils
I’m not joking, I don’t think I’ve ever broken one of these pencils while writing. These things are the bomb. The twist-out, spring loaded tips make for a comfy writing experience. I can take notes quickly in my Calculus classes without worrying about broken tips, wasted time, and missed notes! The erasers are super-clean, even if you press deeply into the paper.
Get a 36 pack here on Amazon for $9.
Pilot G2 Pens
While gel pens seem totally retro (that’s my inner 90’s kid coming out), the G2’s are a step above the rest. The ink flows nicely, and, even though they’re gel, they dry quickly and don’t bleed through the page. So I can confidently take notes without worrying about smudges. I get them in the “extra fine” 0.5mm size. That way, I can use them in planners and on the back of business cards.
Get a 12 pack here on Amazon for $10.
MyLifeUNIT Color Pens
I actually found these pens by accident, but I decided to take a chance since they had overwhelmingly positive reviews. They exceeded my expectations by a mile! Engineering has gotten me in the habit of taking notes in multiple colors, and these are my new go-to for all my classes. The colors are vibrant; they don’t bleed at all and don’t fade either. The ink dries insanely quickly, and the point is actually finer than the Pilot’s. The only thing is that the pen itself is thin, which may take some getting used to.
Get a pack of 10 colors (black included) here on Amazon for $6.
Is it dorky that I get excited over really good engineering paper? To be fair, this stuff is a godsend. The grid lining is actually printed on the reverse, and shows through the side you write on. If you make copies or scan the page, the graph lining doesn’t show up, and your notes look *professionally done.* Plus, they have bold margins around the edge, so everything stays nice and neat. Good engineering paper really makes a difference, especially for study guides. I use the Roaring Springs brand, because it’s weighty. In fact, I’ve handed in assignments on it and professors have told me “Wow, this feels like an A.” I’m not gonna lie, engineering paper is expensive, but it’s totally worth it.
Get a pack of 200 sheets here on Amazon for $12.
MyCharge Portable Charger + 6 Inch Lightning Cable
My MyCharge was a gift from a friend at school. She had bought her own portable charger, and ended up getting the MyCharge in a care package. Lucky me! Mine is the Style Power model. I love that it has a flip out USB cable to charge the charger itself. No more getting tangled up in unnecessary wires! Pair your portable charger with a 6-inch cable, and you have a sleek solution when you need to juice up.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
My Surface was a Christmas gift from the family, and after a while, I’ve finally integrated it into daily use. It lives in my backpack, while my “big” laptop stays plugged in at home. For its size, this thing is a powerhouse. It runs Photoshop easily, which is awesome for the blogger on the go. While I do prefer a notebook for class, I love using the Surface as a tablet with the included pen, especially at meetings with promoters and venues.
Shop the Surface Pro line here on Amazon and find one that’s perfect for you.
PNY Flash Drive
Since I found out what a flash drive even was, I’ve been loyal to PNY. I’ve shopped around over the years, but I’m always drawn back to them. Right now, I use the Turbo series flash drives. They’re super durable – I’ve left mine in my pocket and they emerged from the laundry with all my data intact. I also like that the USB cover is not retractable – no accidental openings that could lead to broken drives! Right now, I use two 128GB drives – one for CDJs, and one for classwork.
Grab a 128GB PNY Turbo here from Amazon for $60.
The Wipebook is a guaranteed head-turner. it’s a dry erase notebook! My engineering friends are constantly baffled by how simple and cool it is. One great feature is that the ink stays on the paper until you decide to wipe it off; so, you can toss it in your bag after an all nighter knowing that your study guide is intact! I use mine religiously for group work and sketching out problems without wasting paper.
Shop the Wipebook website here.
VAPUR Water Bottle
I currently own two VAPUR’s – one for my backpack, and one for my DJ bag. The concept is awesome: it’s a super portable “anti bottle” that can be rolled up when not in use. Think about how awesome it can be for getting through airport security! After washing it out a couple of times to get the plasticky taste out, it’s so worth the investment. When I’m playing at venues that don’t allow me to bring my own water, I can take my VAPUR to the bar – no wasted cups! The seal on the lid is super tight, so I can have it in the booth near my gear with confidence. At the end of the night, I roll it up and toss it into a side pocket, no problem.
Get a VAPUR bottle here on Amazon for $10.
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