So last year before I started my course I wrote an essentials list for midwifery students (which you can read here). After a year of working with what I had and envying some of the things my classmates had, I thought it would be a good idea to update a little! This is the college list, for when you’re in every day. The placement list will be posted soon!
Plastic folders: I prefer to use one plastic envelope folder for all my class notes everyday. It’s pretty durable, keeps all the notes safe from leaking bottles or rain soaking through my bag. I also find that I’m less likely to forget things if it’s all in one folder that I ideally prep the night before.
Ringbinders: I used one gigantic ringbinder to keep all my notes from the semester. So I’ve one for first semester and one for second semester of first year and I plan on doing the same for second year. I have little dividers in to separate each module (and everything is colour coded).
Notebooks: whatever you want to write in. I use unlined A4 paper, one book at a time rather than one book per module just to reduce how much I’m carrying around.
Pens, pencils, highlighters: all the regular stationary bits. My pro tip comes from my mam – I have tendonitis in the hand I write with so during my Leaving Cert my mam bought me like a million pens with all different widths. When my hand started to get sore I just changed to a pen of a different size.
The books: The two main books are Mayes and Myles. I do not recommend buying a textbook before you start. Wait until you get in, talk to the lecturers, and have a nosy at the different kinds of books in the library. Textbooks are pretty expensive (I paid about €45 for my Mayes on http://www.bookdepository.com). However you’re probably safe enough investing in a skills book like this one.
A diary: I have always gone with the Happy Planner Company but any planner will do the job as long as it fits your needs. Your timetable will likely change from time to time during the semester, and midwifery comes with a fairly busy schedule so it’s important to keep track of things somewhere you can check easily. Some people use their phones which is perfectly fine, I’m just a pen and paper kind of person.
Reusable coffee cup: you will drink copious amounts of your favourite hot drink throughout your career, and it’ll start in college. Lots of colleges and cafés offer discounts for using your own cup which is great for saving money as well. And you’ll be helping the environment, which is good for everyone, especially all the babies you help into the world.
A decent lunchbox: I went for an insulated thermos type lunchbox, purely because I prefer my dinner in the middle of the day rather than the evening. It’s not a bad idea to invest in a really good leakproof box because you’ll use it in college, on placement, everywhere. I sometimes carried my lunch in a separate bag just to keep it away from all my college gear.
Powerbank: this is my lifesaver. Trying to get a socket in college is near impossible. I’m constantly on my phone checking timetables, reading emails, messaging classmates if we’ve a group project on, chatting to my friends at home and abroad on their lunch breaks. It’s also very handy placement when you accidentally leave your phone on in your locker all day and the power is drained when it’s time for you to get home.
A backpack: not a shoulder bag. Not a handbag. Looking after your back health starts now. A backpack with proper straps and supports is the best choice you can make. Make it big enough to fit an A4 folder or laptop, whatever your essential bit of kit is.
Laptop case: I tend to not bring my laptop to college because it’s a bit chunky and heavy, and I prefer hand writing my notes. But if you’re bringing one, protect it! Put it in a case that seals all the way up and ideally is waterproof (be prepared for every disaster).
Water bottle: I use the bobble 1L bottle because we only have two water fountains in our building as well as the café which will refill bottles for free, but I hate queuing so I like being able to just use any tap. Staying hydrated will help to keep you alert in classes.
So those are the essentials as far as I can remember. If you think I’ve left anything out let me know in the comments!