Back-To-School Supply Haul

back to school 2016Good afternoon all!!!

Today is my first day of my fourth year of university. One of my favourite parts about getting ready to head back to school is shopping for supplies. I don’t know why, but I am weirdly at peace in stationary and office supplies stores. I think it has something to do with how all the products are nicely stacked on shelves according to size and colour, appealing to my need to have everything just so.

Something that I learned about myself while shopping for school supplies is just how picky I can be. For instance, if someone hands me a pen, I write with it, regardless of the brand, ink colour, ink type, or grip configuration, but when it comes to picking out pens for my exclusive personal use, I know exactly what I want and cast aside all other pens as inferior writing utensils.

While perusing my school supplies drawer, I noticed that some of my favourites were dwindling, so I hit up a Walmart to replenish my stock, and I wanted to share the supplies that I love using.

school supplies 2016 pencilsMy writing utensil of choice is a Dixon HB pencil. Yes, it must be a Dixon brand pencil. They are easy to distinguish from other pencils because the eraser islight pink, as opposed to white or dark pink both of which smudge the pencil when erasing. I do use mechanical pencils on occasion though, particularly during a multiple-choice exam where the professor uses those Scantron sheets that necessitate a completely filled-in bubble to recognize the correct answer. Each have their own pros and cons: regular pencils require sharpening and the shavings can be messy; mechanical pencils need to be refilled with graphite of a certain size. Personally, I like to stick to regular pencils as much as possible.

school supplies 2016 pensLast year I strayed from my classic pen choice (Pentel R.S.V.P. medium line) and gave erasable pens a try Well I fell in love. The only trouble is that they run out of ink so quickly, so I picked up the ones that come with a refill. They write really smoothly and evenly, and have that gel pen quality to the lines. However, the ink does not always dry instantly and, for a left-hander like me, this means that I may end up smearing the ink with the side of my hand. The savings on white out tape though neutralize that con, and the smears can easily be erased away.

school supplies 2016 splurgeEach year I treat myself to one splurge purchase and this year it was the Bic Marking Permanent Ultra Fine 8 pack. I love using permanent markers for labelling and all through concept maps, and these colours are just so lovely and diverse. I hope they don’t bleed through to the other side of paper too much but I am really looking forward to using these. I didn’t notice until I got home but my package contains two green pens, so I wonder if it is just a coincidence or if all packages come with two greens.

school supplies 2016 highlightersAlso, I picked up a ton of highlighters because I go through them like nobody’s business. I have a strict system: yellow for words that are defined, pink for headings, blue for information, green for names, orange for processes, and purple for stats. The purple rarely gets used but the blue is always out halfway through teterm so I am planning ahead. These are also great for sectioning parts of concept maps into related topics.

school supplies 2016All the school supply goodies:

  •  Pilot FriXion Point 0.5mm Extra-Fine needle point Erasable Gel Ink Pens in blue and black
  • Bic Brite Liner Grip highlighters 
  • Post-it Notes in Rio de Janeiro colours (3 in x 3in) and Miami colours
  • Post-it Notes Cube (1 7/8 in x 1 7/8 in) in pink, blue, and sea foam green
  • Bic Marking Permanent Ultra Fine 8 pack (pink, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, black)
  • Bic Gel-osity Retractable Gel Pens 
  • PaperMate Replay PREMIUM Vibrant Gel Ink Pens (Pink, turquoise, orange, purple)
  • Bic Wite-Out Correction Tape 
  • Dixon HB/2 Pencils 
  • Bic Extra Precision Mechanical Pencils

What school supplies are you using this year???

Third Year in Review 

Three weeks ago today, I wrote my last final exam of my third year of university. Since then, I was in Banff with my mother (you can read my travel diary of the trip here) and was waiting for my final grades to be up on the university website. I checked today, and they are all in, so I figured I would review the past year of university here on the blog. 

For starters, I loved the courses I took this year. I was in 5 courses each term: psycholinguistics, research methods in psychology, biopsychology, an introductory philosophy course, and an elementary computer science course in the fall; an introductory sociology course, cognitive psychology, history of psychology, psychological disorders in adulthood, and a first language acquisition course in the spring. My professors were all wonderful and made me even more passionate about psychology and linguistics, if that were possible. 

This year I stumbled upon a saving grace: scheduling blocks of time between classes. This year, I had gaps between course times from as short as 50 minutes to as long as 4.5 hours.  Initially this was not intentional, but just how my courses lined up in the fall term. Having blocks of prime time for my brain to do readings, work on assignments, and draft papers made my terms so much easier. It made managing my time a less daunting task, and meant I could schedule social outings after classes because I had already studied earlier in the day. I am working on booking similar free blocks between my classes for next year, and I find myself hoping my courses allow for these time gaps. Ironic, isn’t it??? 

I also lost a very close friend this year. We had been drifting apart for awhile, but finally we stopped talking and seeing each other. This hurt because he meant a lot to me, but it was a toxic friendship. “We accept the love we think we deserve,” wrote Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and it took me a long time to realize it, but I deserve better. 

I did make several new friends this year though, and strengthened friendships with people in my programme. This has made planning classes for next year so much more fun because I can coordinate them with my friends and be in the same classes with them. This also means that group projects will be far less daunting since most professors let you pick your group members. 

I also began thinking about grad school. I really want to go to law school, but I am also really interested in speech language pathology and audiology. I am getting excited about planning my “future,” but it is also kind of daunting. Thinking ahead to courses for the coming year is one thing, but considering what I want to do for a career is something else entirely. Part of me just wants to keep going to school and learning different things for years to come, essentially being a professional student, but the idea of having a job I love that allows me to help people is important to me. 

Mind you, after watching a bunch of crime shows on TV like NCIS, Chicago PD, and Law and Order: SVU, graduate studies in Forensic Psychology are looking more and more appealing. 

Finally, this year I purchased a ton of books that I wanted to read this summer. I am currently about 300 pages into The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, which I found tucked away in a little used bookstore, and I am loving it thus far. Her writing style is very unique, but I find the character details and development to be very intriguing. 

Of course blogging has been on my mind a lot recently, and I have a long list of posts I want to write and publish this summer, so I will be getting started on those soon. 

How has your past year of school been???