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Top 5 College Must Haves to Start the Semester Off Strong

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

Starting college can be a difficult task with new challenges and new experiences. Trying to balance academics and other aspects of life can be challenging. Here are 5 college essentials to start your semester off strong.

Google Calendar

I know a calendar seems a little cliché, but Google calendar has helped me stay on top of all of my assignments. At the beginning of the semester, I put all of my due dates from the syllabus into Google calendar, color coded them and added notifications. For exams, I usually give notice a week in advance to give me enough time to prepare. I have never forgotten an assignment because of this, and it helps me to stay on top of everything going on.


I know that whiteboards seem a bit obvious, but I swear by them. I use whiteboards for everything like to-do lists, practice problems, grocery lists, etc. Whiteboards helps me prioritize and get things done effectively. Whiteboards are so versatile that it makes them the perfect tool for college students.


Canva is the best tool for creating presentations. Canva have so many different templates to choose from and it is easy to use. It makes presentations more engaging rather than using Google slides or PowerPoint. Canva allows me to play around with the design of each slide to make all of my presentations easy to read and gives them a better flow. Canva can also be used for other things such as videos, infographics, posters, etc.

Legal Pads

I use legal pads on a daily basis. I write my to-do lists on them to keep myself on track. Additionally, I use them for writing notes on textbook readings to help get the main ideas. Textbooks are hard to read and comprehend, so this method allows me to understand the content of what I’m reading, and it allows me to connect it to the curriculum.

Legal pads, as well as the majority of other things on this list, can be used in a variety of ways such as grocery list, weekly to-dos, random notes from phone calls, practice problems, etc.


YouTube is an amazing resource for finding instructional videos on topics that you’re struggling with. If you’re like me and would like to avoid asking people for help as much as possible, YouTube is definitely the way to go because you can get the help that you need without the social anxiety of talking to a professor or TA.

Sometimes just learning from your professor isn’t enough to understand the material, using YouTube allows you to get other people’s opinion and instruction on the topics you learn in class.

Julia Avitabile

South Carolina '26

Julia Avitabile is the vice president of Her Campus at South Carolina chapter. She is also a writer for Her Campus at South Carolina. She organizes meetings and partnerships for Her Campus at South Carolina. She also writes articles for Her Campus at South Carolina regularly. Julia is currently a sophomore at the University of South Carolina majoring in Elementary Education. In her free time, Julia likes to read, watch movies, and hang out with friends and family. She loves playing card games and supporting her siblings in all of their accomplishments.