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6 Items Commuter Students NEED for School

If you read my last post about 5 things you don’t need for living on campus, you know that I lived on campus for a single semester. Yes, just one. I HATED it. I am so not a sharer. Plus I had a crazy roommate, another who stole from me… It wasn’t exactly a fun experience.


So for the last 5 years, I’ve been commuting to Wayne State University in Detroit. I live just south, so it takes me about 25ish minutes to get there. Which really isn’t bad because at this point, I could do that drive in my sleep. Hell, I probably have a few times while going to my morning classes.

At this point, I think I know a thing or two about what commuter students need for school. Here are the top essential items:

A laptop

You absolutely, 100%, cannot survive as a commuter, much less a college student, without a laptop. I’m serious, you just can’t. It is perfect to take notes on, surf the interwebs during the dryest, boring-est teacher, and watch videos on during your three-hour breaks.

Personally, I have a Macbook Pro. This thing is my baby. I highly recommend buying a Macbook. Now, you can be like me and take out more loan money and buy a new one. Or you could do it the more frugal way and buy a used one. Gazelle is great for buying a used Macbook because they actually inspect them and make sure they are sellable. Here are two deals right now for a Macbook.(Click the pictures to be redirected to the page.)

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If you don’t have the money or don’t feel like taking yet another $2000 in loans (I don’t blame you), you can get a Windows computer. I must warn you though – if you go from a Macbook to a Windows, you will HATE it. So only get a Windows if you have never touched a Mac.

Best Buy has a ton of great deals on Windows computers throughout the year. So even if you don’t buy a computer at the beginning of the semester, don’t fret, another deal will come through.

Heavy Duty Backpack

To carry your computer around, you need a backpack. Now, I switched backpacks almost every semester because I have a problem when it comes to bags. Don’t be like me. Be smart. Buy one backpack and use it until it is falling apart. It is worth $60 if you use it four years. That makes it $7.5 a semester. Even a $100 backpack is still worth it. I am personally a fan of backpacks that have ALL THE POCKETS.







If you do not have headphones, you will die. Ok, maybe not die, but you may want to. I’ve bought overpriced headphones at the school store because I just couldn’t take it. People at my school seem to enjoy having loud inappropriate conversations. I really don’t want to hear how so and so is a b*itch or who you hooked up with last night. These conversations make me want to bang my head against a desk.

Plus headphones are good for, you know, listening to music and movies on your breaks.

I am personally a fan of Beats by Dr Dre. But that is because I can drown out EVERYTHING with them. Of course, you don’t have to buy expensive headphones. $5 ones work too.

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Non-essential items

A laptop, good backpack, and headphones are the three items I honestly think you cannot do without if you are a commuter student. But these items are also good to have, just in case.

Pens and Pencils

You should always have a pen or pencil, just in case. I personally like using free promo pens I get from everywhere, but I know not everyone is like me. You can get a set of 12 pens for $2 on amazon.

Note Book

I had a professor who banned laptops in class. Which I understand because even I found myself on Pinterest a lot instead of taking down every note. Whoops. Anyways, it is still helpful to have a notebook on hand. Especially for those teachers who are always like, ok, get out a sheet of paper…

I really like the 5 subject 5 Star note books. They are not cheap, but they last. I still have paper in mine from my second year.


When I was living/going to Central, I got something like 300 prints a semester. Wayne State gives you 0. Thanks a lot WSU! And printing on campus isn’t exactly cheap. So unless your college gives you free printing, you are going to need your own printer. Especially when you wait until about 10pm the night before a five-page paper is due to even start writing. Not that I would have any experience with that.

I highly recommend going with an HP printer. Yes, they are a tad more expensive. But you get to do instant ink, which is the best program ever. Read more about my experience with Instant Ink here. Shop at now!

What items do you think are must haves for commuter students?

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