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My School Supplies & Stationery

Welcome back to The Curiosity Concept! 

Firstly, this week marks one year since I posted my first ever blog post here on The Curiosity Concept! TCC is officially one! Thank you to everyone who has ever read a post, liked or shared a post and commented or given me feedback. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to visit The Curiosity Concept. And, yes, I am treating this occasion as a second birthday.

This post is a little different – I wanted to share the supplies and stationery that I use at university. I love getting insight into the things that other people use for their studies and I could genuinely talk about pens and highlighters all day, so this post is dedicated to all my fellow stationery addicts.

You can also follow The Curiosity Concept on Instagram to see the products I list below ‘in action’.


Backpack

Before uni, I was never a backpack person. Never. But carrying my laptop, notebook, textbooks and other essentials around campus in a shoulder/tote bag became too much for my shoulders, and so I decided it was time to adopt the backpack lifestyle.

With backpacks, I definitely look for comfort and convenience, but I also love a backpack that can go with my outfits and that suits my vibe. What can I say, I love functional fashion. There are plenty of backpacks that have a more athletic or edgy look, but that’s not really my style. Then there are other, more ‘fashionable’ backpacks but they’re just not practical – I cannot fit a 200-page Trust Law textbook into a cute, mini day backpack from River Island. So, as I was looking for a backpack to replace my well-worn Velvet Black Mi-Pac (available on Amazon), I was really surprised to come across this one from Berlin brand ZIGN:

My favourite features of this backpack include:

  • The square shape 
  • It’s so spacious! 
  • The laptop compartment is a little larger than the average size, so my laptop fits in very nicely
  • The zipped compartment at the front is very handy
  • The straps have a cool and unusual design 

Check out my backpack here: ZIGN Rucksack 

Laptop

I have to be honest, the only reason I have the laptop that I currently own is because I wanted to copy my younger sister. When I saw her laptop that was touchscreen and could be folded back into a tablet, I was in awe. It was the same feeling as when you see a young child with a smart phone and reminisce back to the days when your first phone was your parent’s old flip phone that could literally only make calls, send texts and play snake. 

So, after seeing my sister’s laptop, I got a gold version of the HP Pavilion x360. I like that it’s convertible and touchscreen because it means I can read and highlight e-books and PDF articles with more ease. It’s also useful for viewing content like videos. 

Some cons that I do have to mention are that although it can be transformed into a tablet, I wouldn’t say that it’s both a laptop and a tablet. It’s more of a laptop that has tablet-like features, so if you want dedicated tablet features, I would say just invest in a tablet, not a hybrid. It’s also not as light as the usual tablet. Additionally, the battery life of my version of this laptop isn’t amazing so I have to make sure it’s fully charged every night and I have to travel with the charger if I’m going to be using it for more than 3 hours.

Check out my laptop here: HP Pavilion x360 (this is the latest version of my model)

Planner/Diary

This may sound a bit strange and contradictory but when it comes to dairies and planners, I like to have a lot of freedom. Planning and freedom aren’t words you’d usually think of in the same context, but my Andante Dairy from Sticker Stack is the perfect embodiment of “planner freedom”.

The planner is undated, so you can start from whichever date suits you. I’ve found this to be incredibly useful because my academic year starts in late September/early October and ends mid-June but not many traditional or dated planners have these start and end dates. Also, whilst I got this planner at the beginning of my first year, I haven’t been totally consistent in my use of it (I was testing out other forms of planning), so whenever I came back to it, several weeks would have passed since my previous use of it, but I didn’t have to waste lots of weekly spreads – I could resume on the next page.

I also love the Andante’s aesthetic. The dairy features lots of pictures, some on a singular page and others featured as a double-page spread. There are also plenty of blank pages. This mix of images and free space creates a clean and calm aesthetic, which I think alludes to the meaning of the term “Andante“, i.e. a “moderately slow tempo”.

This dairy features:

  • 1 yearly spread
  • 12 monthly spreads
  • 54 weekly spreads
  • 20 pages at the back, with pictures and blank space 

Check out my planner here: Andante Dairy

Notebooks

This year I decided to buy a separate notebook for each of my modules, for taking notes in lectures and for my reading. I have found through some trial and error in the past two years that I learn really effectively by writing things down physically rather than digitally, so I’m trying to move away from relying solely on my laptop when learning and studying.

I’m someone who writes on both sides of the page. To be honest, I’ve never understood why you wouldn’t write on both sides, but I do admit that some paper can be quite thin and consequently the ink from one side can show through to the other. So, I chose to purchase a pack of the Oxford Campus Notebooks. The paper is 90 grams per square metre (GSM), with GSM indicating the thickness of the paper (the higher the GSM number, the thicker the paper). I really like this thickness because there is significantly less show through than with other notebooks I have used throughout school and university, which tend to be of 70-80 GSM. I’ve used gel ink, ballpoint ink, highlighter fluid and even washi tape on this paper and there is very little show through. The paper also just feels very nice.

The Oxford Campus Notebook tagline is literally “For people who write on both sides of the page” and I think the notebooks are very true to this statement. 

Check out my notebooks here: Oxford Campus Notebook (5 pack)

Pens 

Writing pens

I actually have two sets of pens, used for different things in my studies. For general note-taking, I use the BIC Cristal Grip pens – the staple of everyone’s pencil case, right? I’m sure we’ve all used the BIC Cristal pen at some point in time.

The ink in ballpoint pens definitely doesn’t flow as smoothly as it does in gel pens, and so you have to apply more pressure when writing, but I like that ballpoint pen ink dries very quickly and more importantly, doesn’t smudge. I’m an avid user of highlighters in my notes and I don’t like ink that smears. Ballpoint ink has a consistency that means it doesn’t become super wet and smudge when used with highlighters. Ballpoint ink is also the longest-lasting when compared to gel, rollerball and fountain pen ink. 

That said, I do generally prefer gel/rollerball pens because I’m able to write faster with them. My ability to write in exams was genuinely transformed when I switched from ballpoint to gel pens in exams. (Sidenote: sometimes a simple thing like the pen you use can have a big impact on your exam strategy. If you struggle to write in exams, maybe it’s because of the pen you’re using?) And because I don’t use highlighters in my exam answers, I don’t have to worry so much about smudging. I have been using the Pilot G2-07 Gel Ink Rollerball pens since first year and have recently started using the Uniball Signo Gelstick UM-170 pens.

Check out my ballpoint pens here: Bic Cristal Grip pens – 8 pack

Check out my gel pens here: Pilot G2-07 Gel Ink Rollerball pens / Uniball Signo Gelstick UM-170

Decorative and felt tip pens

When taking notes, I like to use different coloured gel and felt tips pens alongside my ballpoint pens. Colour coding your notes is a good way for differentiating between types of information in your notes and for making information stand out on the page. Colour-coordinating your notes can also generally make note-taking more fun. 

I have used the Muji 0.5mm gel pens for around 3 and a half years now and I love them. The ink flows so nicely, leaves a vibrant mark of colour and lasts quite a while. I actually need to get my hands on some more because I only have 5 left of the 12 pack I bought back in 2015.

In January this year, I bought the Muji Dual Tip Hexagonal Pens (it’s safe to say I’m a big Muji fan). I really like these pens and for essentially the same reasons as I love the gel pens, and I like how the pens look and feel. I also love the hexagonal packaging – it’s really nice for carrying the pens around neatly.

Check out the gel pens here: Muji 0.5mm Gel Ink Set – 12 pack

Check out the felt tip pens here: Muji Hexagonal Pen Set – 10 colours (note: I don’t think Muji sell the pens I have anymore, but these are very close)

Highlighters

I could have included my highlighters in the Pens sections, but I take highlighters very seriously and so they deserve their own section. I have tested a wide variety of highlighters throughout my life, from the random promotional highlighters that come in goodie bags, to the staple Stabilo Boss highlighters and the erasable Pilot Frixion highlighters. My criteria for a good highlighter are:

  • minimal show through i.e. doesn’t bleed onto the other side of the page
  • minimal to no smearing of pen ink underneath (but this also depends on the pen used)
  • no ink-skipping
  • long-lasting ink
  • non-blinding colour, i.e. non-neon (personal preference)

Stabilo Boss highlighters definitely have vibrant colours and the ink is long-lasting, but I’m not a fan of the neon bright colours and the ink can often show through. I used the Pilot Frixion pastel highlighters for a while – from Year 12 to my second year in university – but I often had to buy more throughout the years because they didn’t last very long.

When I was looking for new highlighters to use for third year, I was debating between the famous, aesthetic Zebra Mildliners (they are all over the YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram study communities) and the Iconic 2Way Pastel Pens. I decided to go with the Iconic highlighters and I am very happy with my choice. The colours are vibrant but soft and non-neon, the colour doesn’t show through to the other side of the page and having the choice of a thick nib on one end and a fine nib on the other makes the pens very functional. I also love their design.

Check out my highlighters: Iconic 2Way Pastel Pens – 5 colours 

Other useful supplies

Washi tape – for decorating my notes 

Check out my washi tape: Washi Tape Set – 40 rolls (yes, 40 rolls)

Post-it notes and sticky tabs – for marking my textbooks/reading and adding reminders to my notes

Purchased from Wilko and Flying Tiger

Pins and clips

Purchased from Wilko


As you can probably tell, I love stationery and trying out new and different products. I’ll update you when I change my supplies and stationery. Also, leave a reply or send me a message if there are any stationery products you suggest for me to try! 

Until the next post, onwards and upwards!

Anoshamisa 🙂

Disclosure: This post contains product links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. It comes at no extra cost to you, but it helps me to keep running The Curiosity Concept! I purchase all of the products reviewed on this blog myself unless otherwise stated and I always give honest reviews. I deeply value you taking the time to read The Curiosity Concept, so I am committed to maintaining integrity and authenticity on this platform.

2 Comments

  1. ABIGAIL GONYE ABIGAIL GONYE

    Very very interesting post. An eye opener indeed.

  2. Kunashe Gonye Kunashe Gonye

    Very insightful. Will make use of this information in the future!

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