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Now that we’re coming up on almost a year of online school, I feel as if I have a pretty good understanding of what my online school necessities are. There’s items that I never thought I would need and then there are items that I can’t believe I never used before. To keep a long story short, here are my top five Zoom university necessities.

Laptop Stand

Never in a million years would I have imagined that I would be sitting at my desk for 10+ hours a day bent over and typing away at my laptop. With online school, this has become a reality. During the first few hours of sitting at my desk, it isn’t so bad but it doesn’t take long before my back starts to HURT. I never noticed just how much I was bent over typing away on my laptop until now.

To fix all of the back pain that I was experiencing, I got a simple laptop stand from Amazon. It’s the perfect height that forces you to sit up straight in your chair rather than slumped over typing away.

I cannot recommend this enough. If your back is suffering from the long hours spent on your laptop, I highly suggest a laptop stand.

External Hard Drive

While this is a necessity even when life is normal, I have discovered (the hard way) that an external hard drive is your best friend. After losing all of my notes for the entire semester when my laptop crashed, I finally realized that an external hard drive is a necessity. Not only does it clear up space on your laptop, but it also provides a little extra security and peace of mind when you know that all of your notes, online textbooks, and assignments are backed up on an external source.

It’s no fun trying to prepare study guides and study for finals when you’re missing the first half of your class notes because you lost them all when your laptop crashed (trust me, it’s horrible). Do yourself a favour and invest in an external hard drive. You will not regret it.


I have become OBSESSED with candles during the pandemic. Not only are they great home decor, but they also are great for making your study space smell amazing. I love lighting a candle when I sit down to do work at my desk and getting to smell an amazing scent while typing away on my laptop.

I love having one specific candle that I burn when doing work because that becomes my “school scent.” When that candle is burning and I smell that scent, I automatically know that it’s time to get some work done. It may sound bizarre, but it works!


This one is definitely the most random thing on my list. Some of you might be thinking, “why on earth does this girl have coasters in her top five online school necessities l? Is she crazy?” Well, let me explain.

Hydration is important, ESPECIALLY when you’re studying, but we all know that. I’m the type of person who always has to have a full mug of coffee and Hydroflask sitting on my desk while I’m working.

Well, that’s all good until the cups start to leave rings on my desk. Instead of damaging my desk, I simply put a coaster down and we are all good. I can work away and not have to worry about my desk getting ruined from all of my beverages (plus, coasters can be great home decor!)

Blue Light Glasses

To save the best for last: I feel like blue light glasses are the most important school supply this year with school being online. Blue light glasses are a cheap (and cute) way to protect your eyes from the harsh computer, phone, and tablet screens that we, as students, look at all day.

Not only are they a cute fashion accessory, but they’re also the most important school supply I bought this year. Headaches were becoming far too common and were beginning to affect every aspect of my life. However, when I slipped my first pair of blue-light glasses, the headache problem went away. I HIGHLY recommend getting a pair if you’ve been suffering from screen-induced headaches.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s most definitely that there are positive things in any situation. While Zoom university may suck, we can most definitely make it just a tad bit better with a little help from our necessities.

Krissy is a third-year History major with a double-minor in heritage conservation and Canadian Studies at Carleton. When she's not doing school or hanging with friends and family, Krissy enjoys reading, online shopping, talking aimlessly about history and politics, and playing hockey.
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