Illustration by Sofia Bews.

Illustration by Sofia Bews.

A defining moment of summer is when I realize that it’s ending. One day I’ll walk into a store and see huge back-to-school sale signs and shake my head at how early they’re up. Then I’ll find a supplies list in the mail, sent from my school, and immediately have to return to the store for the sale. In the years of getting these lists, I’ve noticed that whoever makes them doesn’t consider the battery life of phones, or the need for a fortifying song to listen to while walking the halls. For that reason, I’ve put together a list of supplies that can help you sail smoothly through the rough waters that are school.

1. A poppin’ playlist.

The songs that make you feel good are essential. There are lots of ways to go about making your playlist(s) personal, but one would be to curate mixes for certain times of the school day. Right now the Suicide Squad soundtrack fits my “I guess I’ll get ready for school” mood, so that’s what I’ve been playing in the morning. If you’re anything like me, you might also need an “I’m-going-to-walk-by-my-crush-during-passing-period-and-I-need-cool-music-to-pump-me-up” playlist. (Feel free to shorten the title.)

2. Customized headphones.

I have a huge family and we all have similar headphones, so personalization is a must. Personalizing can also make earbuds easier to identify if they get lost in locker rooms, on the bus, et cetera. If you have any stickers hanging around your house, put ’em all over your ’phones. Once I used a marker to draw little pictures on each of my earbuds, and it was super cute if you ask me.

3. Props to peacock with.

“Peacocking,” or purposefully drawing attention to yourself with conversation-starting clothes or accessories, is a trick I learned here on Rookie! This is useful if you’re nervous about starting a new school or being around new people. I’ve found enamel pins are the trendiest/funnest way to do that right now. (My all-time favorites are made by Adam J. Kurtz.) Other peacock-able looks: custom phone cases and nail art! You could get a pair of jeans at the thrift store and put inexpensive patches all over them. Another idea is to stick googly eyes on pockets and draw smiles, frowns, or other expressions under them. (I guess you could call them clothes-mojis???)

4. Beauty products for pampering yourself.

When you’re stressed out or deflated, a mini pampering break is just a sweet thing to do for you. There are two products I carry through the school year for that purpose, and they are Glossier’s Haloscope highlighter and soothing face mist. Other things you could put in your glam-pack: body glitter (in case you want to spice up your look midday) and lip balm.

5. A portable phone charger.

Sometimes it’s hard to put your phone down, even during school. I’m very guilty of having a dead phone by lunch almost every day. If your teacher won’t let you charge your phone during class, then a portable charger is the way to go. Keep it in your bag with your phone connected to it, and wow, now you’re paying attention AND charging your phone. A+!

6. A water bottle.

When school gets really busy I forget to drink water throughout the day. Having a cute water bottle really helps because it’s like, “Hi, look at me! Look at me! Drink some water!” You could invest in something sturdy (I like these stainless steel water bottles by S’well) or pick up a reusable plastic bottle from the dollar store and spell your name out on it with stickers.

7. Snacks!

In the past, I was too embarrassed to eat during class, even if the teacher said it was OK. I don’t know why! But I was very hungry by the time lunch came around. Eventually I got over my shyness and thanked myself for it. Especially when I started bringing Brownie Brittle to school with me. You know what your favorite snack is: Now, bring it to school!

I hope some of this comes in handy. Have a happy school year, Rooks! ♦