Welcome to Leicester Law, and congratulations for getting in.
So, wondering into your first lectures you can feel a little bit blind – and it makes sense, so don’t fret. Everything is kind of new and if you went to a sixth form, as opposed to a college, you may have never had lecture-style learning. And it is different – lectures can be such a massive jump. Suddenly you’re in an environment where what you bring is up to you, what you do during ‘class’ is up to you, and no-one is going to check that you’re actually working.
At first, it can throw you. I know it did with me. Mainly in terms of what on earth I needed to bring to a lecture. Or to university, in general. Did I need to bring my textbooks? What about my notes?
Hopefully, though, I can help you some ease some of that stress and save you carrying a two-ton backpack into your lecture. Over the past year of Law I’ve figured how little you actually need to bring to university and I’m going to give you the complete rundown. Here’s everything I have in my backpack a.k.a everything you need to survive Law at Leicester.
Fjallraven ‘Kanken Classic’ in Black – £65.00
This, I think, is the perfect backpack for a number of reasons, but ultimately because it pairs style with practicality and durability. The Kanken classic has a notable and unique design, one you’ve probably seen across Instagram plenty of times, and comes in a huge selection of colors, meaning you can definitely find one that you like. The sizing is also really good – it’s not too large on your back, but also not so small that you can’t fit everything in. It’s the perfect size to hold the university essentials and still have a little room left over, in case you end up buying something along the way.
The bag is also very tough and water-resistant. Being made from a high-quality material, the bag can handle all the daily rigors of university, plus any city excursions, such as a packed tube on an insight day. Your Macbook and Papers will also be safe inside, as the fibers expand when wet, stopping any water from getting into the bag. Overall, I think the Kanken Classic is a must-have.
MacbookPro 13”, i5, 256 SSD with 8GB of RAM in Space Grey – £1449.00
+ iCloud Subscription (79p per month)
For university, this laptop, in the setup above, really is the perfect laptop. I like the MacBook Pro because it really delivers on the portability factor, whilst still maintaining power. This laptop weighs in at 1.3kg and is only 1.5cm thick. Having previously had an older MacBook pro, which was heavy in my bag and a pain to lug around, having some small and portable was super important, and the MacBook Pro 2017 really delivers for me.
I chose the MacBook Pro, over the MacBook, as well as the option to add an extra 128GB of storage, for my personal needs but honestly the base model would be fine for University. For me personally, I tend to stray into the creative fields, and I’m also the Brand Manager for LULS, so getting the pro, over the MacBook, gives it that little oopmh of extra power. Also, one thing to bear in mind is that the base model only comes with 128GB of storage, which personally is a no go for me. If I’m spending 1K+ on a laptop, I expect it to last me a good 5 years, and personally, I don’t think that 128GB is enough to last. Also, the screen and speaker are great, but that’s a given with most laptops nowadays.
In addition to this, I also pay 79p a month for 50GB of iCloud storage, which is vital to every student. It works seamlessly with the MacBook and ensures that I have a copy of all my notes and essays, both in the cloud and on my device, meaning I have safe copies of my documents no matter what happens. It also means I can access all my documents from my phone, or on any other device for that matter, including windows computers.
Macbook Marble skin – £35.00
I guess this isn’t really an essential, but it’s definitely nice to have. It’ll stop your MacBook from getting any smudges or scratches, and just makes the device look even better than it already does. I can’t actually remember where I bought mine from, but I think it was from a shop on instagram.
ACdream Leather Macbook sleeve in Brown – £10.99
Having a way to protect your device is vital. Your bag will take a lot of bangs and bumps, so ensuring you have some padding around the expensive stuff if important. Laptop sleeves are easy enough to come across and you can get them cheap, but me being me means that if I’m going to buy something I’d rather spend a little more for something that both looks nice and has added functionality. The ACdream leather case does both. This case is a good quality faux leather (I’m completely against the real stuff, being a vegetarian and all), strong, sturdy, padded and secure with a magnetic clasp. It looks smart and sophisticated, but what’s more is it does an apple smart-case-eque thing, where the flap can fold into a triangular stand for your laptop if you prefer to type on a tilt. I’d definitely recommend this case.
Mildliners – £5.00-£7.00 for a pack of 5
You’re probably wondering what Mildliners are. They’re a Japanese brand of highlighters, and highlighters are an absolute necessity for the law student. Honestly, you never know when you’ll suddenly need to highlight something, whether it’s a textbook, handout, form or anything. So many times having a pack of Mildliners has been a savior. I lean towards Mildliners for a few reasons. First is the colors; they come in comfortable pastel tones that are soft, subtle and lacking of any neon. I find it makes them much nicer, both to use and to look at when going through work. What’s also great about them is that they are double-ended, with one medium end and one fine end, meaning that you can also write in them or easily highlight smaller text. I mainly use them to highlight printed text, which they work great with. With ink, though, it’s best to use biro as they can smear gel or fountain. As for sourcing them, they’re easy enough to grab from Amazon – just expect to wait a while for delivery as they are a Japanese import.
3x Papermate RT 300 – £15.00 for a pack of 12
Again, having normal pens in your bag is a must. For starters, you’ll need one to sign in at your tutorials, and forget law specifically, university life with a pen at all times is so much easier, for obvious reasons. You’d be surprised how many people don’t carry a pen on them, so make sure you do. My pen of choice is the Papermate RT300. Firstly, although a biro, it writes so insanely smooth it’s unreal. I love how little friction there is between the nib and whatever I’m writing on. Also, the thickness really works for me – I find I struggle with thin pens, my fingers aching and unable to write as fast. The thickness of a pen is something that is really overlooked but can make a huge difference. Making sure you find the correct pen for you is actually so important.
Paperchase 75gsm Lined Pad – £2.50
Again, for pretty much the same reason as above. Having a pad of paper with you at all times is just super handy. Yes, we have our phones to take down quick notes etc, but nothing can replace an A4 sheet of paper and a pen. Whether it’s impromptu planning, a computer crash in lecture, or anything else – do not walk into university without some paper in your bag. I like to use the Paperchase pads because the paper is good quality and very smooth, whilst also having fairly faint lines.
Bobble Water bottle – £10.99
Carrying water with you is a must, as it is so important to stay hydrated. Not only does it increase your alertness and cognitive functions, but it also just makes you feel and look much better. The fact that it’s great for your health is a bonus. I usually aim to drink 4-5 liters of water a day, and naturally, with having that goal, it means I am always sipping. Hence why it’s so vital to have a bottle of water with you at all times. Beyond that, you never know what might happen – last minute plans might take you into town, or what if your bus breaks down in the summer. Having that bottle of water is going to be a lifesaver. I like the bobble bottle because it has a built-in filter (even though my water is already filtered) to help keep the water clean and tasting a little better. The bottle is also small and compact, meaning it doesn’t take up too much space in your bag.
Having this in my bag at all times has saved me so many times. Living in England, temperamental and wet weather is a given – you can go into a lecture, the sun shining, and walk out to torrential floods. A small compact umbrella can just sit in your bag at all times, easy to whip out when the heavens decide to open.
This one speaks for itself, to be honest. Emergency food for whenever you might need it. If you suddenly find yourself hungry in a lecture this can be super handy. Also, I’ve often found myself ending up having to stay at uni longer than expected for whatever reason, and with a lot of the stuff in the SU not being that healthy, it helps to have an emergency snack in your bag. I usually have something like a granola shot, Stoat porridge bar, mini rice-cracker crisps, or a pack of Pete’s Yard lightly salted sourdough crisp bites.
A carrier bag
This one is not so much for law, but rather something just to always have. So many times I’ve ended up going to town without planning to, and ended buying something (usually clothes.) Having a carrier bag is always a lifesaver, especially if you’ve bought too much to fit into your Kanken.
A copy of all the current lecture handouts
Personally, I rarely ever use the paper handouts, doing most things from my laptop. But I still collect all the paper handouts and leave them in my bag, because you never know when they’ll come in handy or you might need them, whether it be a lecture, tutorial, or just study time.
As for textbooks and lunch, I don’t take these, but I was and still am situated in city living, only five minutes away from uni. This means I never have to stay at uni and I am able to return home, even just for an hour. However, if traveling from oadby, or further out in the city, you might need to bring textbooks or lunch, if you plan to stay at university longer. The Kanken bag is both strong enough and spacious enough accommodate this.
So that’s a not so short summary of what you’ll need to survive law school. Hopefully, it will make starting university a little easier, and help out with packing the right things and the right amount!