As I’m writing this, August is drawing to a close so now is a great time to make your way down this checklist. Some of these items are essential or could be crucial for your post-secondary experience and making the first semester’s transition seamless. However, this may not apply to everyone nor necessarily to those who are returning to school, so tailor this checklist as you see fit.

When I was going into college, both in my first program and when I switched programs, September stressed me out so much. But as the years went on, and as each September passed, it gradually got easier for me. Something that helped a lot were changing some habits that I picked up in high school, for example, in high school I would hand-write my notes but now I find that typing them up was just easier for me. I’ll make another post about some changes that I recommend later on.


  • Power Bank
    • Especially important for students with older phones or will be travelling further to get to school. Most phones have a larger battery capacity now so going for a power bank that stores upwards of 10,000 mAh is the best. I got my 20,000 mAh one on sale and while it’s heavy as heck, I can charge multiple devices without needing to re-charge it frequently. I recommend choosing one that works best for you.
  • Extra Charging Cables
    • Not completely necessary but is nice to have extras just incase one breaks or goes missing. I usually have a couple lying around and find that using shorter charging cables with the power bank makes them very travel-friendly. This makes it convenient to take them to school (seriously, some campus stores sell charging cables at a steep price so..)
  • Headphones/Earbuds
    • Either option will work and can be as necessary/unnecessary to you depending on your preferences and habits, so take this with a grain of salt. If you end up commuting to school, I would recommend some earbuds (not necessarily headphones) to listen to music with and pass the time. On the other hand, if you have more online courses, I recommend getting yourself a pair of headphones. This will be useful if you have a noisy background at home or have a laundry room beside your room (like me).
  • Laptop/iPad setup
    • This is something that should theoretically be chosen/purchased before the school year starts, especially for those looking to upgrade their stuff before post-secondary. I highly recommend the laptop route because some (but not all) programs will require bringing your laptop to class. On the other hand, for some programs, an iPad will do. You can also get the best of both worlds by pairing an iPad and laptop together.
  • Other (think new phone, smartwatch, etc.)
    • I did not get a new phone when I started my second college program. Personally, if your current phone works then I think it’s fine. A smartwatch is not completely necessary unless you feel like it would be beneficial, my current program has us sitting for long periods of time so the smartwatch I have kind of reminds me to move around, stand etc.

Skincare is not wholly necessary but it is something that is nice to have, if you have the ability to buy skincare then I would make note of this section. If not, do not worry and do what is best for you.


  • Pimple Patches
    • Stress can trigger or make acne worse, and it happens. Even with the amount of skincare I’ve used over the years, I still get pimples from time to time. Pimple patches really help to heal those up and provide a barrier to lessen or prevent scarring or dark spots too, so I recommend stocking these for post-secondary. (They also make great gifts for the post-secondary student you know too!)
  • Moisturizer/Cream
    • Moisturizer was very instrumental for me to keep my combo skin less oily and also moisturized, if you can only get one product I would recommend trying out various creams you like and getting one for your skincare routine. This will especially come in handy through the winter.
  • Suncare
    • Protect your skin with the sunscreen of your choice, there are so many different ones out there at different price points that you will not really have to settle for one you don’t like. I know Isntree’s hyaluronic acid one is very popular but one that is just as good is Skin1004’s hyalu-cica water-fit sunscreen. I’ve reviewed a good amount of sunscreens over the years so you can go through my reviews to find one that may fit your needs best.

Next list will cover a lot of different items across different categories, hence being titled miscellaneous.


  • Books/Paper
    • I highly recommend getting and using at least one general notebook or keeping some paper handy for yourself to use. While most of my notes are typed up, sometimes there’s a need for that notebook to jot down some brainstorming ideas without worrying about whether or not my apple pencil was charged. Additionally, some professors will ask for you to make a nametag your first few weeks, so that loose paper will come in handy.
  • Pens
    • While I love fountain pens and occasionally bring my own to class, you do not need to use a fancy pen at all while in post-secondary. Any working pen would work but I recommend getting both black and blue ink pens (and red for mainly writing programs), and making sure that the ink is decently dark! Some light inks may not register for scantrons and may make it difficult for you to read the notes afterwards.
  • Folder/Report Cover
    • I recommend investing in a thicker plastic (or other material) folder/report cover that has three prongs and at least two interior pockets. You just need one to carry all your scrap paper, physical assignment copies etc. Paper ones are available but they just don’t last because these things are literally getting beaten up and crushed in your bag. There’s a big ($0.15 vs $4.00) price difference but they last longer so those years in post-secondary will not be a problem. Binders work too, but they are chunky so I personally don’t recommend them.
  • Drink Tumbler/Water Bottle
    • That Tims or Starbucks on campus may be tempting but trust me when I say that the price adds up! I highly recommend getting yourself a tumbler or water bottle to carry your drinks to school. I have two from a brand called Lock & Lock and they keep my iced coffee cold for so long, with no leaking!

Hope this list helps! Feel free to check my older lists to help you better prepare!


Toronto-based Beauty and Lifestyle blogger focusing on the world of Korean Skincare and Beauty, particularly product reviews and where to get them in Canada.

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