7 SMART Essentials For Every Student

By David S. Chang

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

If you’re heading to school and you’re worried about what items you need, then don’t worry, you have definitely come to the right place! Whether you’re in grade school or at graduate-level studies, knowing exactly what you need is important to your productivity.

From planners to key textbooks, buying the SMART products you need will give you a leg up and give you one less reason to worry about. With that in mind, here are 7 SMART essentials for every student: 


A High-Quality Notebook and Planner

Yes, you heard that correctly. In today’s digital age, many don’t bother to carry pens or paper. They prefer to take notes on their phone or laptop. According to a study from Princeton University and UCLA Los Angeles, students who write out their notes by hand actually learn more than those to type their notes on laptops. 

Students who used laptops were able to type out more words than the hand-writers, but the hand-writers had a stronger conceptual understanding across the board.

Rocketbook is my primary means of taking notes, tracking my to-do lists, and jotting down all of my ideas. There is a difference between using an app versus pen to paper. Writing is much more stimulating and helps the creative juices.

What I like about Rocketbook is that it provides a classic pen and paper experience, yet can be converted digitally. As long as my handwriting is decent, the handwriting recognition software to convert my notes to text. I use a combination of the Getting Things Done and Bullet Journal methods with this notebook to maximize my productivity.

The synthetic paper allows you to write smoothly with a Pilot FriXion pen, then magically wipe clean with a damp cloth to reuse again. Then I use the free Rocketbook app to take a quick picture of the page, and it connects automatically to a number of cloud programs as scan destinations.

One of the most important things you can buy when it comes to your studies is a good notebook or planner. Whether you’re keeping track of lectures or writing down all of your upcoming deadlines, you need to be sure you’re staying on top of things when it comes to organization. For inspiration when it comes to diaries and planners, you can visit this site here. 


The Right Pens and Pencils

Not all pens and pencils are created equal. There are many different types of pens that feel and write differently. Ballpoint pens come in fine, medium and bold line thickness. These pens are permanent, non-water based ink that does not thin while you write. Ballpoint pens use a small rotating ball that dispenses the ink as you write.

Rollerball pens use a water-based ink that is usually not permanent. It takes very little effort to get the ink flowing, allowing for a smoother write. These pens utilize the same type of ball as a ballpoint pen, but because the ink is thinner, it floods the ball and “drags” a pool of ink across the paper as you write. You can choose the desired thickness as well.

Gel pens use water-based ink with viscosity or the liquid ink thickness can fluctuate. When a gel pen is not being used, the ink tends to have a higher viscosity or thicker ink. When the ball starts to rotate, the ink thins down and is “dragged” in a similar manner as roller ball ink. Micro, medium, and bold are the standard terms used to describe the line thickness of gel pens.

Gel pens are generally the pens of choice since they provide the best of both worlds, the smooth flow of a rollerball with the performance of a ballpoint. However, everyone’s writing needs are different, so choose the one that you like the most.

Want to go fancy? I enjoy writing with a Mont Blanc fountain pen. Fountain pens are more versatile than ballpoint pens because they conform to your writing style. You can choose a variety of nib sizes to allow you to change the thickness of the lines with each stroke. One of the reasons why I like them? To some extent, fountain pens can help improve your handwriting. For those that know how my handwriting is, it definitely is a god-send!


Folders and Binders

Another important thing to stock up on when it comes to school is the right folders and binders to help you stay organized. You’re going to be studying a variety of different subjects at once. If you’re not separating your notes, chances are you’re going find it hard when it comes to finding the right documents you need.

Few school supplies, save the backpack, work as hard as binders do. They are thrown under desks, rooms, and dropped all day long. There are many types that you can buy. The key is finding what works for you. Do you like a certain material? Do you want to color-code your different subjects?

Look for binders and folders that are durable, are functional with deep pockets and have pouches to hold other accessories. If you have to live with the binder and notebook all year long, make sure it matches the style you like, are eco-friendly, and personalize as you like!


A Calculator 

No matter what subject you’re studying, chances are you’re going to need a calculator at some point during your studies. It’s always helpful to have one handy! The most popular is the Texas Instrument TI-83 and TI-84 series. These are high-quality calculators that you can use on most formal tests.

Even if you’re considering a nursing degree like this degree program, you will need a calculator. Even for design graphing courses, engineering courses, and math and science courses, you will need a calculator appropriate for these courses.


A lot of Motivation and Perseverance 

Finally, you need to be sure you have a lot of motivation and perseverance. School can be incredibly stressful and if you’re not feeling motivated, you’re going to find it hard to go to class each and every day. 

Be patient, continue to a growth mindset and if you don’t do well on a test, get back on your horse and try again! Build a resilient attitude and remember how important it is to focus on your studies.


Are you heading to college this year? What essential items do you need to make sure you’re buying before you start? Did we miss anything? Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. 

David S. Chang

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Wealth Manager and CEO | Chief Editor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant ArtofThinkingSmart.com | Political Consultant | Army Officer National Guard | Living To Fulfill Needs, Solve Problems, and Live Passionately!

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