Student Success Strategy #12: Get your supplies out

One of my students came to his final exam looking sheepish.  “I’m really embarrassed.  I don’t have a pen.  Do you have one I could borrow?”


I want to believe that college students are responsible adults.  I recognize that new studies show that parts of human brains, including parts that make decisions, are not yet fully developed at 18, but I’m not asking for critical thinking here.  I’m just asking for common sense.

Common sense is to have the supplies you need, bring them to every class, and have them on your desk and ready to use when the class begins.

In most cases, that means paper, pens and pencils, and any subject-specific supplies like a calculator for math.  It may also mean the textbook for the class.

Not every instructor requires the textbook to be brought to class, and carrying books for several classes can be inconvenient.  Ask whether you need your book for every class, for some classes, or not at all.  Write this on your syllabi to remind you which classes need books in the classroom.

At the beginning of class, you should be ready with your supplies.  Don’t wait for your instructor to tell you to get your paper.  Have it out.  Waiting for students to get their materials from their backpacks takes time.  It disrupts the rhythm of the class, wastes the time of those students who are ready, and it definitely irritates your instructors.

What if you never take notes?  That’s another issue, but at least look like you are ready to do so.

Student Success Strategy #12:  Get your supplies out.  Be ready to begin class.


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