"You know, it's funny, but I think after almost twenty years of being in school, I've finally figured out what study tools work for me. And now I'm almost done"
The truth is, through years of college, my study habits have changed and developed, and I've really figured out what does and does not work for me. I wrote a post a couple of years ago about what supplies you should get for law school, and I stand by everything in there. I repeated some of the supplies here, but for a comprehensive look, check out that post too! And by now, I definitely have figured out what my favorite things are, especially for law school. So I thought I'd share some of those products with you! Below is my list of must-have supplies for school, with links to specific product recommendations if I have any. If you know of brands or products that you would rather use, choose those. These are just the ones I like.
- Desktop Monitor
- So this is something I actually bought during 2L, but I wish I would've bought it when I first started law school. And to be honest, I use this more than anything else. I originally got my desktop computer monitor for writing papers so I could have two screens - one for displaying my research or notes, the other screen for the actual paper. Now I love it for so much more. The bigger screen alone is a bonus, and a real keyboard and mouse makes things much more comfortable. Now I don't have to squint at a tiny screen, waste time flipping between windows, or get neck cramps from typing on a small, flat screen
- This is the one I actually have - a Samsung 27-inch curved monitor. It looks sleek and cool, and the screen is massive. I love it.
- This was my second choice if you want something a little cheaper and smaller - an HP 23-inch monitor
- NOTE: Don't forget to buy the right cord to connect your monitor to your computer, likely an HDMI or Mini DisplayPort-HDMI. It also helps to have a keyboard and mouse. You don't need anything fancy - here is a great basic set!
- iPad - or other Tablet
- It's pretty obvious that you are going to need a good laptop for law school. In fact, certain schools require you to have one, and may even have certain specifications that you laptop needs to meet. So I won't bore you by telling you that you need a good laptop. You already know that.
- But for those of you that are curious, I have this laptop and LOVE it.
- However, one thing I didn't realize that I really loved having is an iPad. In fact, after I bought my iPad at the beginning of 3L year, I never brought my laptop to class. This espeically makes sense if you take notes the way that I do - where you type out your reading notes but handwrite your class notes. The iPad allowed me to pull up those reading notes, without having to bring my entire laptop to class. I loved the portability and ease. The ability to check my text messages in class quickly without much distraction was also nice. Plus, I liked it for playing games, watching Netflix, or browsing Pinterest when I wasn't in class.
- Big, over-the-ear headphones
- In law school, you're probably going to spend a lot of time studying in public. This might be at the library, in a coffee shop, in airports or train stations - basically anywehre you might have some down time. So you're probably going to want to have some headphones to cover up the noise around you. I spent the first semester of law school using my ear buds and after awhile, my ears started to hurt and I hated being attached by a cord. I decided to spring for some big, over-the-ear bluetooth headphones and they seriously changed my life! I loved them to drown out noises in the library, really focus in at home, and especially loved them for airplanes.
- A lot of people really like Beats by Dre, which are a great option. However, here is a more budget-friendly option that I got and love.
- Extra Phone Chargers
- I cannot recommend this enough! I literally had four chargers during law school. One by my bed, one in my car, one at my desk, and one in my backpack for school. It's nice to not lose your charger taking it to and from every location you need, and it's nice to always have a full charge if you need it.
- For your bed, I recommend getting an extra-long charger. I have an iPhone, so I use these chargers!
- For everywhere else, I find that the regular chargers are great - especially in the car, at your desk, or in your bag where you don't want a cord to take up a lot of space. You can even buy them in multi-packs!
Stationary and Writing Utensils
- You will do a TON of highlighting in law school. Like way more than you actually think. I literally went through a highlighter a week in law school - no exaggeration. I have a couple of different product recommendations here.
- For standard, yellow highlighters - my most used tool - I prefer Sharpie, thin, chisel-tip fluorescent yellow highlighters. I bought this 36-pack, because it made it so I wasn't running to the store for more every month. These are bright and thin, making it easy to highlight exactly what you want and the color is happy and stands out.
- For colored highlighters, I recommend Sharpie Clear-View highlighters. (I really love the Sharpie brand, y'all. I love the clear view because you can see what you are highlighting through the little window. It's seriously cool. They are more expensive than the plain yellow ones, but I primarily used only yellow highlighters, so when I needed colored ones I splurged on these.
- For gel highlighters, I actually recommend my only non-Sharpie favorite, Bible highlighters! These are a great price and are nice to use on books with thinner pages that ink highlighters bleed through. Sharpie and other brands have gel highlighters, but I've found that the bible ones are thinner and more accurate.
- In my mind, pens are so personal. We all like what we like. And that's fine. Whatever you like, get a ton of your favorite kind of pen. I personally prefer the Pilot G2 Gel Pens. In fact, they're still what I use for bar prep.
- Some people prefer taking notes on their laptops. I personally believe that your in-class notes should be handwritten, because it helps retention and helps you focus. Thus, notebooks are SUPER important to me. However, even if you are someone who prefers to type your notes, make sure you at least have a notebook or two. You never want to be that person in class who has to ask around for a piece of paper if you need one. Plus, what if your laptop dies or something?
- Here are my all-time favorite notebooks. They are simple, but I love them. I would recommend them to anyone.
- StudI am probably in the minority of law students who don't think you need a big, fancy planner to get by. However, you do need some sort of planner. You will have a lot on your mind, and the last thing you need to worry about is keeping all of your due dates or appointments in your head. So get an academic planner. I prefer ones with weekly views as well as monthly views for different things.
- I prefer the Blue Sky Planners - I get these every year. They are available at Target and Amazon, usually for $10-20 so they are great!
Food & Drink Items
- Law school is a lot like high school. You have lockers. All of your classes are with the same people. You might even have a lunch room. Our school had a cafe, a couple fridges, a couple microwaves, and eating utensils available. This was great, because although I lived close to school, going home was sometimes a hassle. So I brought either lunch or a lot of snacks every day.
- I bought a basic lunchbox from Walmart for like $5 during back-to-school sales. However, this one is similar to the one I bought and I am looking at ordering for my big kid job starting soon!
- Water Bottle/Tumbler
- I feel like on every suggested school supplies lists, the writer lists a water bottle. It's important to stay hydrated. But on top of that, whenever I was nervous about being called on in class, my throat would get SO DRY. So I was always grateful to have my water with me. And let's be real, it's 2019 and single-use plastics are lame. So get a reusable water bottle or tumbler to bring to class with you - or even for using at home!
- A lot of people like a Hydroflask - and I agree! They're great - they literally keep ice frozen for 2 days.
- But, I needed a cheaper option! Law school has me on a budget, y'all. I got this knockoff water bottle from Walmart, and it's seriously my favorite water bottle I've ever had. I admittedly bought it as a cheap thing to take to tailgates, that way I wouldn't care if I lost it and now I treasure it!
- Or, if you prefer a straw, check out this totally cute tumbler! I also use straw cups every day, so you can't go wrong.
- Reusable Food Containers
- I mean by now, you get the point. You're going to want to bring lunch, snacks, and possibly other meals to law school with you. So save the earth and bring your food in reusable containers in you lunch box. Here are some of my favorites:
- This Pyrex set is my go-to choice for meal tupperware. I prefer the glass over plastic, because you can microwave it and it's a little bit sturdier. I especially like the different shapes and sizes in this set.
- A salad container for you law schoolies who like your greens! We sold these at a retail store I worked at in high school, and I always thought they were school. On days where I want to take a salad, or honestly anything that has a sauce I want to keep separate until meal time, this is awesome.
- And lastly, a to-go silverware set! In case your law school doesn't have cutlery... plus it's super cute.
- Locker Snacks
- Lastly, I'm a big fan on having snacks available at all times. Keep some snacks in your locker for an emergency sugar rush, or for days you didn't plan on staying for lunch but did anyway. I recommend keeping some fruit snacks for a quick grab between classes, or some macaroni and cheese cups for emergency meals.
Study Space Supplies
- Amazon Echo Dot
- During my 2L year, I decided to check out what all the buzz was about, and purchase an Amazon Echo Dot. Now, I absolutely love it and could not imagine a study space without it. It's so easy to just shout out an instruction to play music on spotify, ask the weather outside right before you head to class and you're trying to pick a pair of shoes, or set a timer when you are trying to convince yourself to study for just 20 minutes.
- I actually also just ordered the bigger Amazon Echo so I could have a better speaker, but it is a little more expensive. So it's an option, but the Echo Dot is great for budgeting.
- A Good Lamp
- One thing about law school is that your eyes will suffer. You'll spend so many hours staring at a computer screen or reading books, and vision headaches might become frequent. One way to combat that is to make sure you study and read in adequate light. my desk lamp was a lifeseaver. Luckily, I lived in an apartment that was furnished with a built-in desk and desk lamp. However, I found this great option that looks plenty bright, comes in several colors, and has a USB port for charging your phone! Great for small desk spaces.
- It's super important to be comfortable when you study. It makes things way more tolerable. I always had a blanket slung on the back of my desk chair to wrap up in when I studied. It was great for when the AC was running or just feeling cozy. If you're anything like me, you probably have a million blankets already you can use. But if you're anything like me, you never pass up on an opportunity to buy another cozy blanket. I love sweater blankets, and just ordered this one on Amazon for my new apartment!
- Essential Oil Diffuser
- To be honest, I always made fun of people who used essential oils. I thought they were a hippie thing. Then my grandma bought me a diffuser and I realized that they are AMAZING. It's basically an air freshener, but there's something so soothing about it. I also like mine because the diffuser itself changes colors and lightens up the space.
- Here is a diffuser similar to mine!
- You can pick up essentil oils at places like Target, Walmart, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or even Amazon!
So those are all of my must-have supplies for law school. At least the ones I can think of right now. To be honest, the bar exam is in a few days and thinking is a little difficult at this point. Let me know what your must haves are, or if you tried any of these products!