Investing in back to school essentials

Graphic by Lena Yang
Graphic by Lena Yang

There’s no doubt that back-to-school sales are tempting to the best of us frugal shoppers, and it’s pretty hard to separate the junk from the jewels.

What’s worth the splurge?

What are the things that a university student should not live without?

Protective Laptop Case

From the group chat for planning Phil’s nights, to handing in assignments on MyLearningSpace, your laptop will be your life at Laurier and you have to make sure it’s in working order.

Whether you choose a hard or soft case, it’s worth the investment to protect your new (expensive) best friend, especially when it will be travelling every day with you.

Picking a case can be a battle in itself.

If your laptop overheats easily, a soft case won’t restrict airflow and will allow your laptop to calm down a little.

Hard cases are better if you’re prone to dropping your laptop. Think of your phone—would you put on a decorative soft case or a protective one?

USB Drive

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, shit happens. The only thing worse than writing an essay for the class you hate is writing an essay for the class you hate, a second time. Carry a USB and use it liberally. The ones with a key ring are great because you’ll never forget it and it keeps everything together. You never know when you’re going to need it and it’s important to make sure you have a backup.


You’re not always going to have control over the AC or heating in your room, which means you can’t control all that dry air either. It can actually give you headaches, affect concentration and disrupt sleep if it’s too dry, especially if you’re from a humid climate.

Even if you don’t have room for a full size, there’s always the personal size you attach a plastic water bottle to! This is an inexpensive way to keep both healthy and sane.

Printer Cord

EduRoam doesn’t let you print wirelessly.

Everyone on my floor in first-year found this one out the hard way.

It’s annoying to have to plug it in every time you need to print something, but it’s the only way it’ll happen unless you go to The Hub.

It’s also super helpful for when your roommate is lagging the wifi with excessive Netflix use and you’re just trying to print your assignment.

Quality Headphones

It will be worth the splurge when trying to block out noise. Whether they’re used for a late night study session, the walk across campus or blocking out your roommate’s hair dryer, quality headphones will be your best friend.


Res life is no fashion show, folks. If you’re already in your pyjamas and have to run to pop some popcorn, there’s no way you’ll want to get dressed again.

Throwing on a bathrobe just gives you that extra layer. Besides, it’s comfortable!

Keep it close for emergency situations, too—you do not want to be the one that’s stuck outside in a towel during a fire alarm.

Extra Phone Cord

Let’s be honest here, it’s just not realistic that your phone battery will last you all day, every day. It can be a scary situation if your phone is dead and you need to call Foot Patrol.

Carrying an extra cord or a battery pack on you can save you these worries, especially when there are outlets all over campus and in most classrooms.

Reusable Water Bottle

Laurier has great filters around campus where you can refill for free. Not only will you be saving money and environment, you’ll feel better if you’re hydrated.

The simplest way to stay hydrated is to always have a bottle on you.

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