Written by: Billie Clarke
Well, as exams begins, and the Winter term looms, I bring cheer! In this post I will rhapsodize about my all-time favourite class essentials. These recommendations are also something to keep in mind if you end up needing to do some back-to-school shopping before classes resume in January.
First and foremost, I recommend Hilroy paper. I’m such a brand-snob when it comes to paper, and Hilroy is my go-to for a reason. Available as 3-ring punched sheets, and in many sized spiral-bound notebooks, Hilroy paper is my preferred density, and it is easy to use almost every type of pen, pencil, or marker on it without bleeding or smudging. Hilroy paper is also easy to erase, if you are one of those people who uses pencils—unlike other brands of paper, it doesn’t automatically rip with the slightest brush of an eraser.
After paper is pens. Most people like using a black pen versus using a blue pen to make notes in class because gives one a different feeling. When it comes to pens, there are two brands I always buy: Bic Velocity Gel and Pape rMate Ink Joy. Last year, I used black Velocity Gel pens almost exclusively—as they are gel pens, they write smoothly, but they also run if you rub them, so they aren’t always great if you want clear notes and are rushing. This year I am using my black Ink Joy pens all the time—they are ball point pens, but they write so smoothly, it is almost unbelievable.
As I hand-write all my class notes, I also recommend coloured pens. Coloured pens are a great addition to any pencil case, because you can mark important sections in your notes, underline, and doodle without it bleeding into the rest of notes you’ve taken. It is easy to differentiate between the important and the marginally-less-so when you can circle, star, or underline with a different colour. My go-to for coloured pens are Bic Atlantis pens. I bought a set of those at the start of my second year of university, and I still have all of them but three (and they still work!). The colours are vibrant, and are all easy to read once on paper. I’ve also had good luck with Paper Mate Gel pens in various colours, but they always feel so formal, somehow.
I like to have highlighters (usually Sharpie or Bic Brite Liner), a handful of pencils (Dixon Ticonderoga, typically), some Sharpie Pens in various colours (they’re really useful when marking up CoursePacks), and some Sharpie permanent markers (just in case).
So, these are my pencil case essentials, after four years in my undergrad. I have used these brands the entire time, and I keep coming back to them!