There is no denying that the transition into a completely virtual school setting has been tough for everyone. Although the restrictions implemented and precautions taken are extremely necessary to promote the health and wellness of those around us, there still remains a mournful chill in the air as students return back to campus and see the once-bustling noise of Grand River Ave. now quiet.
It’s far from normal and difficult to adjust to, but it’s important to remember that the stillness is necessary. The quiet streets, with less crowded restaurants or coffee shops and no tailgate season in sight is essential during this time as East Lansing residents work to stay safe and healthy.
While the atmosphere feels awfully dim, it’s important to stay positive and try to make the most out of this new ‘normal.’ With that in mind, as students delve full-force into their online schedule, here are nine must-have back-to-school items to make working from home more manageable and a lot more fun!
1. Blue light glasses
Blue light glasses are great to utilize while staring at your computer screen for hours every day. These glasses have filtering materials or surface coatings on the lenses that block a portion of blue light and can benefit people who struggle with eye and vision symptoms after working on their computer all day. You can find blue light glasses from a plethora of online retailers. Amazon offers a wide variety of these lenses at prices ranging from $15 to $20.
2. Stylish planner
A school-year planner is a MUST! I spent over half of my college career without fully committing to a planner, and it’s been one of my biggest regrets. Having a planner and actually making use of it every day is so beneficial in organizing your due dates, to-do lists, etc. Besides, who doesn’t love the satisfaction in successfully crossing off all of your tasks for the day? You can find a cute planner at any retail store like Target or online through Amazon.
3. Hydro Flask
Ditch the plastic bottles! A hydro flask, or any insulated stainless-steel water bottle, is the perfect purchase for back-to-school. Not only does it make for well-insulated, travel-friendly drinkware that maintains the temperature of your beverage, it’s also environmentally friendly and can strengthen your daily water intake. You can purchase an actual Hydro Flask on their website, or you can choose the cheaper alternative and pick up one of the stainless-steel bottles at any retail store, or, again, you can utilize the best creation of this generation and buy off Amazon.
4. Laptop ring light
The sale of ring lights must have soared over the past year as TikTok has dominated the screens of most college students. The lighting that radiates from this set-up not only adds to the quality of your selfie, but it’s also perfect to utilize during a Zoom meeting or while you’re doing some heavy reading for class. You can purchase an actual stand-up light or get the adaptable one that clips on top of your laptop for as little as $15!
5. TULA Skincare facial mist
For when you’re getting sleepy in between classes and need a quick spritz! TULA’s signature glow, a refreshing and brightening face mist, is the perfect pick-me-up that your skin has been begging for. It’s instant brightening and hydration qualities due to its hyaluronic-acid components does wonders at protecting from the damaging effects of blue light and pollution. Its light-diffusing power coupled with its delicate yet refreshing scent will have your face glowing and your mind refreshed as you sign onto your next class. This product can be purchased from the TULA site for only $34!
6. Coffee mug warmer
Is there anything worse than a lukewarm cup of coffee? The coffee cup warmer is hands-down one of my new favorite products! This device works similar to an electric kettle. Simply set your coffee mug down on the easy-to-tote burner and turn on the switch! Your daily dose of caffeine will remain piping hot all throughout that two-hour lecture. You can find these warmers off Amazon for as little as $15!
7. Laptop stand
With this schoolwork from home set-up, it’s so necessary to have a comfortable environment where you can narrow in and stay focused on your work. Whether that’s a quiet spot at the kitchen table or at a desk in your bedroom, find the perfect place that allows you to produce your best work. In addition to this set-up, a laptop stand can definitely add to your level of productivity by limiting the amount of strain you put on your neck and shoulders from looking down at your screen all day. You can find a simple stand, or more adaptable one, off any online retail site.
8. Oil diffuser
Feeling stressed or anxious? Placing an oil diffuser in your room is the ultimate mood relaxer as it spreads subtle, therapeutic essential oils and diffuses them throughout your room. Grab a cup of hot tea and fill the diffuser with lavender oil while you work on that late-night homework assignment.
9.Wine, wine, and more wine
Finally…probably one of the most essential items of the year, a bottle of your favorite wine! It doesn’t matter if it’s white or red, sweet or oaky, grab your favorite bottle (or liter) and take the edge off by relaxing with your roommates! The best thing to remember is that amidst all the craziness, we’re all in this together!
Most importantly, during these difficult times, remember to take care of yourself. Do what works best for you to make sure you’re getting the most out of this virtual experience, and remember that there are plenty of resources out there to help you adjust to this environment. We’re all in this together, but, in the meantime, let yourself indulge on some of these must-haves to make this set-up more bearable!