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The Ultimate (Virtual) Back to School List

Hey Warriors! It’s time for back to school, or more accurately back to your couch, bed, bathtub, or really anywhere with a solid internet connection and close access to an outlet. With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, a lot of us students won’t be heading back to our campuses this fall. While essential for our safety, it’s truly a bummer because fall is such an exciting time to be a student. Everyone’s all energetic and optimistic after a nice summer break, the foliage across campus is a myriad of reds and oranges, and everyone is sipping warm, overpriced Starbucks drinks. 

But this year everything will be online - classes, club meetings, even first dates… as if those weren’t awkward enough! However, this isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve already had my go at being an online student. This spring I took a few fully virtual courses so you may see me adding ‘Virtual Student’ and ‘Zoom Connoisseur’ to my LinkedIn in due time. With all this experience and knowledge surrounding being an online student I decided to put together a list of “school supplies” that may be useful this fall.

In addition to the (boring) essentials like pens, pencils, and highlighters, here are a few items and things that need to make an appearance in your virtual fall semester.

The loudest snacks you can find 

Were you the nervous eater slowly crunching their carrots in lectures like a baby rabbit and trying to avoid those, honestly hurtful, glares to quiet down? Well, this is, most likely, not going to be a problem come fall time. As long as you mute your microphone, you can eat as loud as you want!

Suggestions to purchase:

- Pretzels 

- Carrots 

- Apple slices

- Celery 

- Almonds 

- Uncooked ramen? 

Again, remember to MUTE your microphone. Now, crunch away!

The comfiest pyjamas you’ve got

The saying ‘business in the front, party in the back’ just got revamped and the mood for school this fall is academically professional up top, collegiate comfy on the bottom. 

Suggestions to purchase:

- Roots sweatpants 

- Campus sweater 

- Fuzzy/reading socks

- Slippers

The largest coffee cup in the cupboard 

I personally am a matcha kinda gal but whatever your caffeine vice is, grab it and grab it in an excessively large quantity. You do not want to be the student stuck in a 3-hour virtual lecture with an empty cup. Maybe setting up a Keurig on your desk is a good idea? Could also be a very dangerous idea? Let’s find out!

Suggestions to purchase: 

- Instant coffee/hot chocolate/tea

- The cutest, most obnoxious mugs

A very strong, and flattering, lamp light

While a Macbook photo booth selfie may look cute on the ‘Gram’, that camera is definitely not working wonders for live video. Make sure you grab a lamp or if you are going full Insta Baddie/Youtuber, a ring light, so that your classmates can actually see you, despite not being able to see you in person. 

Having the right lighting for that 8:30 am class may be just the way to meet your socially-distant class crush! Good lighting never hurts. Check out Walmart or Amazon for lamps!

A new email signature

This last “item” requires no purchasing...but I think it’s pretty necessary. When COVID-19 hit, a few phrases became pretty mainstream: 

1. Flatten the curve.

2. Put a mask on!

3. Stay socially-distant! 

4. What the heck has the world come to?

And my least favourite... 

5. Hope you are doing well in these unprecedented times. 

The amount of emails I have received (and sent) that end with that classic line - “hope you are doing well” - is honestly terrifying. 

So with the fall term and all the changes occurring, why not use this new season of life to bring in a new email signature? Sign off with - “Best of luck this semester!” - when talking to other students. Or try, “I look forward to attending your class virtually this term!” if chatting with a prof. Whoever you are talking to, try to be unique and end your emails with something unexpected, one may even say an email signature that is, well, unprecedented.

[bf_image id="qg28qi-afoe34-7g2b74"] While I hate to say it, I gotta - hope you are doing well, Warriors! Happy fall and happy return to classes. 

Make sure to grab all the essentials for your virtual semester and once you’re done, take a break and check out other articles on HC Waterloo’s site!

Student Mode = Activated. You got this!

Hey - I'm Vanessa Geitz, a fourth-year Public Health student at the University of Waterloo. I am currently the President and Campus Correspondent for HC Waterloo and love writing articles! Also a big fan of the Bachelor, BBT, and books. 
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