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The Must-have Items for Surviving School in the US

Let's be honest, as fun and exciting as it is to be a university student, it can also be TOUGH. Not only do you have to stay on top of all the schoolwork, meaning long hours of studying and more reading than is humanly possible, but it is also often a time of intense personal change - usually for the better in the end, but that doesn't make it easier!

So how do you stay grounded and sane through it all? Everyone has their own objects that they cling to that get them through, whether it's an essential study tool, a piece of home, or a way to relax. Here are the things we absolutely could not get through school without. What are yours?

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Anna - It might seem trivial but ...

My "thing" is coffee. It increases my productivity and makes my day last longer so that I can do more things that I would be able to do otherwise.

Sunny - My "sisters"

This is the picture of what I can't live without in college-- friends!!!!They are sisters in my Core Group, within Chi Alpha, a large Christian fellowship at UVA. This was a picture taken last Thursday in our Core Group leader's house when they were celebrating March babies' birthdays, including mine. They made cakes and birthday cards for us. I can't live without their friendship, support, and love! P.S. In the picture, I am the one holding the super sweet birthday card to the right in the first row :)

Phillip - Essential study tools
The journal is important to me because I am involved in a lot of activities so I can
The journal is important to me because I am involved in a lot of activities so I can

The journal is important to me because I am involved in a lot of activities so I can't keep track of them all in my head. I write everything I have to do down, from meetings with professors to upcoming events on campus. I work better when I am well hydrated so I always move around with my 32 oz water bottle and I don't think I could get by with out it.

Paula - Ways to stay grounded as things change

Oscar Wilde said, "I never travel without my diary; one should always have something sensational to read in the train." Not that I think my journal is sensational, but I do always travel with it. It is what has helped me stay rooted and, at the same time, trace my changes through what I’ve experienced.

Mate is a typical beverage in my country. The gourd in which the beverage is contained is also called a mate. The gourd is filled with ground leaves called yerba mate, which taste a bit like green tea. Then, hot water is preserved in a thermos and is poured little by little into the gourd and sipped with a straw. The most important aspect of mate is how it is a social activity; even though most people also drink mate on their own, it is always present in friends’ meetings, at work, in class… it’s everywhere!

Annisa - A way to stay in touch

Skype has redefined the rules for overseas communication. As an international student, how else am I supposed to keep up with everyone back home and vice versa? I am thankful everyday for the invention of Skype. I can talk to friends/family with my laptop/phone by using Skype at any time FOR FREE. The caveat is the video call feature! I can actually show everyone what I’m doing and have lengthy discussions easily. I can also hold a conversation with more than one person (but that’s not free). I don’t think I could have survived living on my own without the means of communication Skype provides me. The only downside is that sometimes the network’s down or the connection’s unstable but I would rather that than just regular back and forth email any day.

Rin - A place to crash

Here's a picture of what I cannot live without - sofas.

I spend pretty much time on them; for study, read, chat, take a nap and serious sleep sometimes. My college (Bates College) has comfortable sofas everywhere: in student houses, in libraries, in academic buildings, etc. It was one of the culture shocks for me to see a college offer a place to relax and sleep on campus!!

What things could you not survive school without? What do you use to help relieve the stress?