It’s back-to-school time, my favorite time of year! And, with this time of year comes lots of advice and talk regarding everything from how to make the most of your education to where shop for school supplies. Recently, a number of posts and advertisements have come across my screen related to school supplies. There have even been hashtags for Twitter and Instagram for “school supply porn” and Tumblr and Pinterest have pages and boards dedicated to school supplies and educational aesthetics and workspaces year round. Some of our favorites include Tumblr’s #studyblr and #pencilporn.
In lieu of this, the GA’s (the amazing Tristen Kade and incredible Izzy Notter) and I decided to offer our contribution with a Graduate School Supply List. Of course, each person is different and should feel free to edit or add to this list as they feel necessary. It is not an exhaustive list by any means. However, we would strongly encourage you to give extra consideration to anything on our list that causes the following reactions: any lol-ing, “wtf”s, or “what is that?”
Other suggested supplies for added luxury include:
- $500 Starbucks card
- 25$ I-tunes gift card Spotify app and yearly subscription
- Laptop keyboard cover
- Costco “Gold Star” Membership
- Artisanal Pencil Sharpening Plan
- Vintage Coffee Mug
- Meditative Coloring Book
- Knitwear Beanie, sweaters, and fingerless gloves-to-mittens
On a tad more serious note, what is it about school supplies that people love even as we age? Perhaps, there is an over-representation of people who like school, or the culture of learning, that like the aesthetics of supplies. On more practical points, school supplies are necessary for our work. We need resources to educate, and to learn. Further our resources–the amount and type–play a significant role in the amount of energy and potential we are capable of achieving—from types of questions we can answer to our own personal health.
School supplies also make us feel productive and possibly a little in control. Just having them all laid out as a ritual to begin our work gets the productivity wheel rolling and makes it a little harder to walk away. Purchasing supplies at the beginning of the year (and throughout) allows us to feel that we have accomplished at least one task that day, and it was not all that unpleasant—ideally. In fact, we were likely to be excited about the task and are now off to a good start. We may even be more excited after the task feeling ready to take on the world.
Lastly, supplies may have a latent function as cultural markers for us to display and recognize allowing us to feel part of a greater community that is typically quite individualistic and involves a great deal of solitude. In any case, for academics supplies are essential and can be fun. And who doesn’t need a little fun in our high stress atmosphere?