As a first-year student, you will quickly figure out what it takes to survive on campus with a full day of class ahead of you. To be prepared, there are a few essentials that you will be glad you remembered to pack.

It is essential to bring water to campus to stay hydrated throughout the day. Staying sufficiently hydrated is crucial for clearer brain activity, energy and overall health and well-being. Buying bottled water on campus daily can be expensive, consider bringing a bottle to campus and fill it up throughout the day.

Packing your own food is another simple way to ensure that campus days are more tolerable. Days at university can get long and exhausting, a healthy lunch will spike energy levels and stabilize GI (Glycaemic Index). Many people experience feelings of frustration or anger when they are hungry, this is colloquially referred to as being “hangry”. Scientifically this can be explained by a drop in sugar levels that is caused by the brain craving glucose. The neuropeptides and receptors that maintain hunger also maintain anger and aggression. So, to avoid any “hangry” incidents, be safe and pack a few extra snacks in for class. Packing a lunch can also save unnecessary expenditure.

Chewing gum can also be useful during long days of classes. Chewing gum not only ensures fresh breath, it can also help with studying. Various studies have found that chewing gum can help with memory recollection. This is due to an increase in activity that takes place in the brain as you chew. This increase in activity increases alertness and makes it easier to focus.


“The neuropeptides and receptors that maintain hunger also maintain anger and aggression”


An umbrella is a useful addition to any campus survival kit. Weather in Pretoria is often unpredictable and an umbrella can offer protection from both the sun and the rain. Large umbrellas can be awkward and bulky to carry around and can increase the chance of misplacing it. Investing in a small compact umbrella that can easily fit into a campus bag will ensure it will always be nearby.

Comfortable shoes are crucial. Campus days involve a fair deal of long walking distances between classes, and sore feet will only make the journey unpleasant. A good pair of sneakers suit most conditions. On hot summer days, open-toed shoes with straps to keep the feet stable are a comfortable and convenient alternative to sneakers.

Some smaller essentials are convenient to have on hand and are easy to keep in carry-on bags and around campus. Wet wipes, hair ties and tissues come in handy for many reasons. Hand sanitiser is a simple way to ensure that your hands are always clean and free from any unwanted germs and is easy to pack.

Keeping a well-packed bag with these campus essentials can increase convenience and comfort for busy days of classes and semester tests without unnecessary or careless spending on campus.


Image: Cletus Mulaudi

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