What to Bring to Class Day One

by Morgan Wilson September 21, 2019 4 min read

Chances are, if you’re reading this you’re either new or haven’t done very well prepping for the first day until now. Walgreens puts together ‘back to school’ shopping lists for kindergartenerswhat about us? Never fear, for IVO’s Declassified School Survival Guide is here. 

First and foremost, checkGauchoSpace(link attached) to see if the syllabus for any of your classes has been posted. Unless it’s changed in the past two years, Orientation didn’t even mention GauchoSpace, yet it’s such an integral piece to every UCSB students’ academic life. Basically, this is where many professors and TAs will post syllabi, lectures, homework, additional problem solutions and even previous exams. It’s important to check GauchoSpace for a syllabus, as some professors strictly prohibit the use of electronics while others encourage their usage. If they say no laptops, (you guessed it) don’t bring a laptop. They also might have some pre-lecture homework and some reading due day one (Legally Blonde flashbacks?). If there are assigned books, you’ll likely want to bring that week’s reading with you to class.

Going off of the assumption no syllabus has been posted, ideally bring the following:

  1. Unadulterated excitement and sheer enthusiasm for material you’re passionate about
    1. I hope you read that with extreme sarcasm. Sure passion and excitement are great, but let’s be real. There’s a whole meme thread about Monday lectures, and especially 8 ams, for this very reason. Learn to power through material you’re not particularly invested in early on. 
  2. Laptop
    1. Nothing too big or loud. It goes without saying, but make sure your speakers are off before going into the lecture hall and opening up your laptop. I’ve been witness to many a poor soul opening their laptop and, forgetting they had been on YouTube a day prior and didn’t shut down their laptop properly, had their less-than-remarkable choice of music blast through the hall. Don’t be that person. Size-wise, the desks at major lecture halls are rather small. To give an idea, think ⅓ to ½ the length of your thigh. A 15.6” laptop will mostly be off of the edge and crossing into your seatmate’s area. Definitely wouldn’t recommend bringing a laptop any larger than that. 
  3. Calculator
    1. Obviously this tool isn’t as necessary for Tibetan Buddhism as it would be for Microeconomics; if you think it’d be useful it doesn’t hurt to bring it. Most classes have a non-programmable calculator rule. For these, I’d definitely recommend the TI-30XS; if graphing and such is allowed, the TI-84+ is a smart way to go. 
  4. Notebooks
    1. Composition versus spiraled, wide-ruled versus college-ruled: it’s a matter of personal taste, as professors (unless specified) will never see it. That being said, spiraled college-ruled is definitely a common campus favorite (easy to turn pages, looks neat, can rip out pages easily if necessary). Bring a separate notebook to each class at least on the first day, as you don’t know if you’ll be able to use your laptop or not. Unlike high school, the first day is not just introductions and syllabus-readingyou’ll likely be getting into some of the actual material.
  5. Pens and pencils
    1. Definitely bring 2 or more pencils, a white eraser, and at least one black/blue and red pen. If you still think pink erasers are better than the white ones, look at your pink-streaked messy papers and think on your mistakes. 
  6. Water bottle
    1. Dehydration is real. Make sure you bring a water bottle with you to avoid an annoying cotton mouth, spitting when you talk, and ear-splitting headaches.
  7. Something to snack on
    1. Before you go on a “my class is only 50 minutes and I’ll eat right after” spiel, just know everyone has been in your shoes. What changes everyone’s mind to always have a bag of chips, protein bar, gum, etc. in our bags? It’s simple: it happens when for some reason unbeknownst to us, our stomachs give the loudest, most disruptive, ugliest cry for help. You don’t know when your hunger will go from containable to toddler tantrum levels of angry. Just be prepared and carry something small with you to tide you over. 
  8. Sweater
    1. Now, no matter what the weather may be outside, know that AC exists. Some classes will be unbearably hot and crowded. Others will feel a couple degrees above freezing. Until you know which of your classrooms are which, bring a sweater to be safe. You may live in a sunny beach town, but your classes are all their own separate entities. 

These are just a few examples of what to bring the first day to class. Obviously this list isn’t all inclusive and certain items (earphones as a key example) will make your first day loads better. This is just a tried and true list that’ll keep you above water for Day 1. 


Morgan has been through her fair share of first days of class for a variety of subjects during her many quarters as a Gaucha.

Morgan Wilson
Morgan Wilson

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