It’s time to kick off another great semester here at UTC! While these things may seem obvious, it’s nice to have a reminder of items that are essential to making college classes a little more worry-free. If you’re a Senior, you’ve probably heard this before. But, if you’re a Freshman, write this down: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” -Alexander Graham Bell.

Below is an inspiration list of backpack items to help you focus less on the stress, and more on the success!

  1. Laptop: If your professor allows it, laptops can be the quickest way to take notes during a lecture. Many note-taking platforms have a “distraction free” setting which ensures that wandering eyes won’t end up on Facebook. Prefer the old school method? See #2.
  2. Notebook: Sometimes it is easiest to retain information if you write it down. Taking notes on notebook paper can be especially helpful when examples are given in diagrams and charts. A few of your professors may have a “no electronics” rule so it is safest to carry both a notebook and a laptop to class.
  3. Required Textbooks: On the first day of class, it is best to bring textbooks listed as *required* on your class syllabus. Professors may reference the textbook during class and you don’t want to fall behind. While the book may be required for coursework, your professor will let you know if it is necessary to continue carrying your books to their class.
  4. Planner/Agenda: Take time to review the syllabus for each class and write down the important dates (deadlines, exam dates, reading assignments, etc.). in a planner. If you are involved in extracurricular activities, be sure to pencil in time to study!
  5. Multi-colored Pens, Pencils, and Highlighters: If your notes all look the same, will they be easy to study? Try taking notes in more than one color using pens and highlighters to make the important things stand out. If you are the sole owner of your textbooks, highlight important sections to reference back to! Please do not write or highlight in rental textbooks – leave them as you received them for others to use. 
  6. Personal Items: We’ve all experienced it before… You’re sitting in class, the common head cold has taken its toll, and there are no tissues in sight. How will you focus? Stocking your backpack with items such as lip balm for chapped lips, lotion for dry hands, or tissues for a runny nose will help you address issues with a quick fix so the learning can continue! Don’t forget water and/or a healthy snack if your classroom allows food and drinks – because focusing on an empty stomach is no simple task.
  7. Electronic Accessories: Many times you will find yourself with a good break in between classes. Take advantage of this time by working on homework or studying. Make sure you have a charger on hand for your electronic devices! PS – if you forget your charger, the UTC Library will rent one to you.


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