As the summer holidays draw to a close, there’s always nervous excitement when it comes to heading back to school or university – especially if it’s your first year. While taking the next step in your educational journey might feel a bit daunting, one of the most fun parts is picking out your brand new uni essentials. 

For Tehillah Waqamate, stepping foot for the first time onto the University of the Sunshine Coast campus to study a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science is a thrilling prospect. “I’m really looking forward to meeting like-minded people to work, learn and grow with,” the 20-year-old says. “I have a sporty background and from a young age I performed in a range of different sports. The course goes over three years and consists of coaching science, human anatomy, physiology and exercise prescription training.”

But before he does that, he’s been busy preparing his back to uni essentials list so he’s equipped with the right tools to get through his first semester. Time to start filling your uni backpack!

The Best Uni Laptop

GIF series of back to uni laptop range on a pale green background.

Laptops are not only an essential tool for study and assignments, they’re also simply easier to travel with for use in-between lectures, while commuting and at home. “A laptop is essential for my course as there is a lot of work using Excel and PowerPoint for graphing, which is a lot easier than using a book or phone,” Tehillah says. Some universities have minimum device specifications, so make sure you check on those before purchasing your laptop. A sturdy backpack will protect your precious tech, too.

GIF series of back to uni SanDisk USBs in navy, black and red colourways on a pale green background.

Another handy uni essential Tehillah will be putting on his checklist are USB flash drives. “They can help a lot for saving copies of assignments and, because I am on the move [a lot], they are small and I can take them anywhere,” he says.

What to Try

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Student Diary

GIF series of back to uni notebook and diary range on a pale green background.

Let’s face it: a diary isn’t just an essential when you’re a university student. They benefit people at school and at work too, plus help everyone keep track of extra-curricular activities. As a student, diaries can help you reach your full potential and hit goals throughout the year. Deadlines, timetables, assignments, upcoming events – anything that helps you stay on track should be written in your diary. “With a paper diary, I find it easier to plan my week ahead and set my deadline goals than if I use a digital one,” Tehillah says. 

Uni students may also want to use a diary or journal for reflective writing. Getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper can help you unpack the day. This mindfulness approach may help you live more productively and could lead to better sleep, reduced stress and strengthened memory. Not only that, but studies show that people with performance anxiety before an exam can suffer more than a 10 per cent drop in cortisol, which affects their test score. Journalling can help with that. 

“Journalling is an exploration of self,” says Therese Sheedy, a psychologist with mindfulness and meditation app Smiling Mind. “Supportive self-talk really helps you shift your perspective. If you can realise that you’ve got that [positive thinking] within you, I think that you know you’re going to achieve what you want to achieve.” 

What to Try

Headphones or Earbuds

Chances are most people these days have a set of headphones or earbuds. But, having a good pair with noise-cancelling capabilities can make all the difference in concentrating when there’s a racket going on around you. 

“Headphones make studying or watching lectures online easier because you can do it anywhere without anyone listening in,” Tehillah says. “I have to travel to compete at track, as well as to and from work, uni and training all week. Having a good pair makes it so much easier as I can listen on the move.”

What to Try

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Pens and Pencils

GIF series of back to uni essentials of red, black, blue, pink, green and purple pens, highlighters and lead pencils on a pale green background.

Even with all tech required, the basics of studying will always come into play: pens and pencils. “They’ll come in very handy,” says Tehillah. “A couple of my subjects within my course have workbooks that must be completed each week, and having pens or pencils will help with taking notes and drawing diagrams.” Highlighters are also essential for colour-coordinating revision notes.

What to Try

Folders and Binders

GIF series of back to uni essentials, including paper tabs, folders and plastic binders, on a pale green background.

Keeping your notes organised and secure means you’ll always know where everything is – essential come revision time. “For subjects such as human anatomy, having folders or binders will assist in keeping sections of the unit separate to make studying more efficient and organised,” says Tehillah. You could even adopt a colour-coding system to streamline your studies further. And, with many folder and binder options made from recycled materials, you can rest assured your organising efforts will have a positive impact on the planet.

What to Try

Did You Know?

Plenty of printing, binding and laminating of assignments and materials is par for the course of being a uni student. Officeworks’ Print & Copy offers a range of service designed to elevate your next project, both in store and online. And, if you’re not familiar with graphic design platform Canva, it’s time to start! Design posters, booklets, projects and more from thousands of free templates with Officeworks x Canva

Drink Bottle

 Image of back to uni essentials - metal drink bottles - on a pale green background.

You might think caffeine is essential fuel to power you through your studies, but don’t forget about the importance of humble H2O. Water is essential to keep our minds and bodies operating effectively and at their best. In fact, dehydration can leave you feeling drained and exhausted – not ideal when you’re in the thick of learning. According to experts, women should aim to drink about 2.7 litres of water per day, while men need around 3.7 litres

For Tehillah, having a well-insulated, reusable drink bottle is a must, especially given he trains for track four times a week. “Drink bottles are an essential for me as I have a very active lifestyle,” he says. “I go through at least three bottles a day on average, so having one that is reusable and keeps water cool for hours is what I need.”

What to Try

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