Education

When it comes to packing up our bag for school, the main motto is: Less is More. When you’re lugging your backpack around all day from class to class it’s better to focus on the essentials rather than extra stuff that seems necessary at first but is actually just a pain in the neck (literally) later on. Focusing on the most important tools also helps you keep clutter at bay, leaving more time for fun and productivity rather than stress over a bag full of, excuse our French, crap. So what exactly are our essentials?

Take a look and get packing!

1. Backpack

Okay, this seems so obvious it’s silly but stick with us. The type of backpack you carry matters. Even though side bags are popular we prefer to stick with a traditional, two-strap backpack that goes around the shoulders. It’s better for your back, neck, and shoulders, especially when you’re probably carrying more than 18 pounds of weight around.

2. Two pencils, two pens, two highlighters

It might be tempting to bring an entire case of writing tools with you because well, they’re fun. But please, for the sake of your sanity, don’t do it. Bring one or two of each and focus more on the assignment than what you’ll be using to write it with. Plus, studies reveal that the less small decisions we have to make in a day the more energy we have for big things that matter.

3. Small bag for personal items

This could include a contact lens case and solution, personal hygiene products, Chapstick, hand cream, Advil, allergy medicine, a small Kleenex pack –whatever you always seem to need but never seem to have. If you aren’t totally sure what those items might be jot down what you keep reaching for during the first week of school.

4. 16 oz. reusable water bottle

You can refill this as often as you want and leave it in your locker before heading home. If you play on a sports team it’s also a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day without realizing it! Plus it’s nice to have right after gym class.

5. Laptop and charger when necessary

Every school is different when it comes to the laptop and electronics policy but if you’re allowed to bring your laptop to school it could be a great tool for getting work done in between classes or during a free period.

6. Planner

You already know that Carpe is old-school when it comes to planning. High school is where you’re learning to juggle multiple schedules at once (academic, athletic, extra-curricular, personal) so it really helps to have a quality planner that you can keep track of everything in.

7. Cell phone

Just make sure to keep it on airplane mode during class.

8. Wallet

This is the ultimate place to keep basics: $15 of cash, debit card, driver’s license, and student I.D. Done and done.

9. Keys

Car keys, house keys, bike keys, locker keys, you name it.

10. Headphones

Headphones are great. Whether you’re relaxing before an exam or jamming out while doing homework, headphones can be an awesome tool for focusing in or purposefully zoning out. Library tip: Even if you don’t have music playing h a red flag that you don’t want to be bothered.

What do you keep in your backpack? Did we miss any essentials? Let us know on Twitter @carpejuvenis #backpackessentials

Image: Flickr

EducationSkills

It’s summer! You get to sleep in, waking to the sound of chirping birds, sunlight coming through the windows, illuminating your room. You wake up with bed hair and you stumble out of your bed, walking past the pile of dirty laundry and bowl of cereal you went to get in the middle of the night. Your desk is a mess. Nail polish bottles, papers, pencils, eraser dust, an earring missing its sister, a collection of bracelets, a chipped cup, a photo of you and your friends, Post-Its that have lost their stick…

Listen. You’re a lovely and awesome person, but it’s time for an intervention. It’s time… to clean your room. Summer is a great time to clean your room or workspace. You can get rid of old things and prepare for the next semester. There are some things you can do to make it easy for you to keep your room clean until September, without making your room too sparse or boring.

When most people clean their room, they clean their closet. But there are other parts of your room that you can’t neglect. You have that Economics textbook propping up your laptop. The Victorian novels you bought for Lit class are scattered on three shelves and you probably spent $200 buying all of those last semester.

Students often forget (or don’t have time) to sell their textbooks at the end of each semester. Finals can get in the way, or going back home/going abroad will be more of a priority than a few books lying around. But unless they’re on a shelf (and you’ll be using them again), there isn’t any reason to keep them. There are many options to sell them, either back to the school’s bookstore or online.

Speaking of things you’ll need again, you might want to sort through all your notes. Some students use a laptop and save their docx. or PDFs there. Luddites like me like to print things out (sorry trees!) and write notes on them before putting them in a folder. All those papers scattered in your room? The Post­Its reminding of you an upcoming final? The pens that dried out because you lost the pen cap? (I prefer clicky pens myself) This is a good chance to go through what you want to keep (or not keep) and delete/throw out what you don’t want.

Laptop users, this is a good time to back up your data! You might unexpectedly need that final paper’s works cited page again, or you might get a handout that you’ve gotten before. I like to back data up every half a semester, but the summer is the best time to do it. You might want to tune-up your computer and all that techy stuff while you’re at it!

This time of the year is a good chance for you to make a workspace for yourself. If you’ve been living off your bed with laptop in lap, you might have found yourself falling asleep while doing a paper (sounds familiar?). If your desk space was cramped up with dirty laundry, old lip gloss, and a dusty printer, well, it should all cleaned up and free for you to use. If you create a workspace, it will help you concentrate.

Remember, if you always push your chair in after you use it, it won’t be piled up with clothes and other things. Keep a container for pens and other office supplies, and make sure your printer is in a spot that’s easy to access. Ink is also easy to refill, so always have that somewhere in case you have to emergency­print a handout or something. Things like that can distract you from working during the school year, and if you start the habit this summer, you are more likely to maintain it (and get to know where everything is) by fall.

Now that your room looks like it’s ready for summer fun, as well as for the next semester, there are a few things you can do to keep it that way. Next week, I will share my tips on how to maintain your organized space.

Read Summer Action Item – Clean Your Room: Part I

Image: Kikette Interiors