Collage by Beth Hoeckel.

Collage by Beth Hoeckel.

[Looong sigh…] What are back to school supplies, if not the double-edged sword of capitalism’s cruelest gift to the school-aged youth of America? As the academic year goes from zero to 60 before you have a chance to buckle your seatbelt, at least we have this one. thing. to look forward to. Back-to-school industrial-complex, I see you, but also…Sir, in what aisle can I find the One Direction spiral notebooks? Aisle 26? OK great, thaaa-aaanks!

In the first installment of Mini Mall, Rookie’s new guide to where to spend your hard-earned $$$ on extremely cute junk we like, let’s shop 4 education! I found you the best versions of some of the dire essentials you’ll need to make it through class smarter/better/faster/stronger. And, you know—sorry to bum you out about the capitalism stuff. I found you some really cute notebooks to make up for it!

20716-3007-1-3ww-lPrecise V5 Rolling Ball pens (Pilot)
Writing with a mediocre pen is honestly the rudest thing you can do to yourself. If you’re sitting there doing timed writes or hour-long tests with a crappy ballpoint that keeps crapping out, so will your will to live. Trust me, been there, this is serious stuff. Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball pens are the only pen I write with because they actually bring a bit of comfort and joy to the worst thing in the known universe: test-taking. ($2.50 each, Blick.)

hustle#HUSTLE pencils (Harvest Paper Co.)
On a lighter note, what about some personalized pencils for math class? These are go-getters’ pencils, the pencils of bosses, these pink ones with #HUSTLE emblemized in gold! A pack of three should last you a semester just peachily. ($6 for a set of three, Etsy.)

doooGold Struck Composition Book (Divoga)
For notes and doods (that’s shorthand for doodles—you should know how to shorthand if you are going to be a successful notetaker, a-doye!), I get motivated to ruin any notebook with my awful, scribbly handwriting if it’s a notebook with a cute cover! This Gold Struck Composition Book is pretty and comes in shiny gold and other appealing colors. I would be excited to ruin this book. ($2, Office Depot.)

polkaGold Struck Two-Pocket Folder (Divoga)
Hey, look, there are even cute gold polka-dot pocket folders to match, if you’re into matchy-match! ($1, Office Depot.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 12.23.45 PMNote flags (Post-It)
You’ve probably got to return most of your high school textbooks at the end of the year. Or, if you’re starting college, renting textbooks can be a whole lot cheaper than buying new books for all of your classes. That’s why using Post-It flags, like these ones in delicious sorbet colors, can be a big ol’ life- and/or money-saver. Instead of highlighting directly in the book, you can write notes on these flags, and have them point to the text of your interest. Plus: It is so much easier to flip through old quotes if they’re bookmarked already, rather than scanning pages trying to find your highlighted annotations! ($3.50, Office Depot.)

helloTwo-Pocket Hello Kitty Portfolio (Sanrio)
This bonkers-adorable Hello Kitty-in-a-lemon-suit scratch-and-sniff pocket folder: unreal. Hello Kitty is just the BEST. Sanrio has really outdone itself with the HK school supplies this year. Just look at our queen tucking her little Kitty ears inside this…lemon head costume. God, what a hoot. I just love her. Always playing dress-up and shit. What a goof. Shout-out to the Kitty. She smell good. She my lemon baby! ($1, Target.)

compGraph Composition Book (Staples)
I’m really into this graph-paper notebook. It looks like a prop in a teen movie, where the item has to be so generic and brandless because of product placement and rights and stuff. It is so perfectly plain that it’s hyper-trendy.
($2, Staples.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 12.16.40 PMRealistic Dog Stickers (OTC Direct)
You’re going to need these Realistic Dog Stickers. Just—just believe me on this one. It might not be on your school’s recommended supply list, but if there’s one thing that will get you through this year with grace and elegance…it’s these realistic dog stickers. Stick them on all of your tests and assignments; watch your GPA soar.
($2.50, Oriental Trading.) ♦