My Back to School Shopping List:

Written by: Cara Eaton

No need to remind us September is coming around again, as Back to School ads and promotions fill the minds of back to schoolers everywhere. It’s not quite the same as buying some crayons and duo tangs like in grade 3, when instead you’re heading off to University –maybe even for the first time. As for myself this will be the big number four of my University back to school shopping trips as I enter into my final year here at Brock. I no longer feel the back to school shopping anxiety and in fact I look forward to spending a few days with my mom preparing the nostalgic pencils and paper I’ll be writing my future with. So, as many of you wonder how to possibly prepare yourself for the months to come, I’ve decided to share my own personal shopping list as a veteran and addicted back to school shopper:

  • Two 5 subject notebooks, one for each semester. This way you can never accidentally grab the wrong notebook (I buy mine from Brock’s campus store).
  • ‘Fast pens’. As weird as it is, I only use one type of pen because I find they write a lot faster and require less effort than others. I have for years—don’t make fun! I buy my ‘fast pens’ at Staples, so find your pen and buy lots!
  • Printer paper and ink. STOCK UP, you don’t want to run out of ink at 3 a.m. after writing an essay and have to wake up early just so you can print it off at the school. Also, ink can get expensive, so buying it at the beginning at the year saves you from having to buy it when money is tight.
  • Whiteboard and markers. Buy fun colors, write your due dates down, and look forward to obsessively updating it weekly.
  • Boots. I treat myself to a new pair of warm, waterproof boots every fall—you’ll thank me on those long walks from Village to East Academic, or when it rains for 10 days straight.
  • Umbrella. Classic St. Catharine’s weather includes rain—a lot of rain.
  • Large amounts of shampoo, conditioner, shaving gel, razors, toothpaste and all bathroom needs. Even though you may have a full tube now, you’ll need the spare toothpaste in a few months.
  • Toilet paper. I still sneak rolls out to bring back when I visit my parents.
  • Cold FX and other medications. I know many people doubt Cold FX, but I swear I’ve held off the symptoms of Strep Throat for weeks during exams before finally succumbing to sickness.
  • Your health card. This or any other important ID’s like Passports and your SIN card should all become your responsibility now. If you live away from your parents this is something crucial to bring—welcome to adulthood.
  • Scissors. You’d be surprised how much you need them, maybe even bring a glue stick as well.
  • Shoegoo. A quick sticky fix for when boots break, zippers won’t stay up or any other random use (Can be bought at Walmart). A sewing kit is also useful.
  • Stapler. I even have colored staples. I like to think it gives me an edge when I hand in my essays.
  • Highlighters. I love the pink ones.


  • Food. This is often a list of its own so I’ll just give you a few pointers:
  • Frozen chicken breasts. STAPLE food item.
  • Frozen premade meatloaf and meatballs (packaged my mom into single or double servings)
  • Spice packets for fajitas and other meats.
  • Fresh produce. Try and get items that have an extended expiry life like apples or carrots. I’ve thrown out my fair share of moldy strawberries, bananas and peppers.
  • Feta cheese. The cheaper and healthier alternative to cheese blocks.
  • Frozen veggies.
  • Pasta—obviously, Bring olive oil and salt as well.
  • Bread—TO FREEZE. You will not eat a whole loaf by the time it goes bad.
  • Veggie chips or popcorn. Late night snacks can be dangerous; don’t even tempt yourself with a fresh bag of All Dressed Chips.


  • USB’s. You’ll need it, trust me.
  • A long distance phone plan. You’ll need it, trust me.
  • Batteries. Don’t play the roommate game seeing who will cave in and buy them first.
  • Two sets of sheets. The more sets, the less frequent you have to do laundry.
  • Laundry soap. Buy the same kind you had at home and don’t cheap out. Desperate, I once bought dollar store detergent and painfully realized I’m actually allergic to it.

I realize I have lived in St. Catharines for three years now and have a stockpile of supplies that does not need to be replaced every year. My list simply updates my stockpiles and provides me with necessities I may forget or need in a rush. Eventually you too will feel just as calm as I do entering another year at Brock and shopping for the months ahead. Don’t worry—you’ll develop a list that works for you, and anyways it’s not the end of the world if you do end up forgetting your fast pens or can’t highlight your notes in your favorite color.

Categorie(s): Uncategorized