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Grad. School Supplies?


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After reading through all 23 pages, I think I've managed to compile the most salient (at least for me) and still relevant pieces of advice as far as grad school supplies  Laptop - While most peo

What was valuable to me: -1TB hard drive to back up to -Bookcase (you accrue a crap ton of books) -Scanner (why have a filing cabinet when you can have a digital one that takes up no space at all)

FWIW, I recommend: A set of blank correspondence cards from Crane and postage to send thank you notes. Purell and lots of it. Your sense of humor--most notably the ability to laugh at yourself. At

I second the recommendation for a laser printer. Stay away from ink jets if you're going to be printing a lot.

You're initially going to pay more for the laser printer, but over the long-term there is no comparison. I've had the same toner cartridge for an entire year and have printed thousands of pages. I can buy another toner replacement for no more than $30 if I go off-brand. Compare that to an ink jet, where you'll be buying new ink every other month at $20 each little cartridge of ink (more if you need color).

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If you guys do buy inkjet printers, then I would invest in a continuous ink system to save on ink costs. Only get this if you do print a lot otherwise it will be a total waste of money.

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This is an awesome thread! Thanks!

I bought an all-in-one scanner/copies/printer for my thesis work, and I could not have lived without it. I specifically researched the price of the ink cartridges before I bought, and I paid about 150 for the printer, which was on sale. Highly recommended purchase.

Depending on your field, you might consider one of those flip cameras that record audio and video. Since I do lots of field work, it's invaluable.

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  • 1 year later...

I am researching old threads, hoping to dig out some useful info. This thread is great so I am reviving it for others to read.

Thanks for bumping this thread. Really makes me wanna go out and buy stuff! My supply prep has got to get started, as I'm t-minus 5-wks from my move across country.

My two cents on what to get after reading the thread (some of these things are not office supply things, so keep that mind):

Laser printer: I have an all-in-one printer which is nice, but damn is the ink expensive. Laser printers are cheaper in the long run for printing mass quantities of paper, which I'm we'll be doing in doctoral studies.

External hard drive: get as big of one as you can. Seriously, get a TB if you can. While you may not need the space now, you'll be glad you have it farther down the road.

Laptop/netbook: i can't justify purchasing a netbook when I already have a kick ass laptop, but it would be nice sometimes when I don't wanna lug the thing around. Pondering an Ipad and bluetooth keyboard here.

Ergonomic chair: I have a back condition, and need an ergonomic chair to sit for long periods. This is dedinitely an area where you get what you pay for. A $200 chair is going to be nowhere as good as a Herman Miller Embody Chair, which I purchased a few years back and been worth every penny.

Bed: Sleep is necessity, and if you have a mattress older than a few years, make an investment and get a good one. No single thing affects us more than poor sleep.

Lastly, question everything you purchase. Don't purchase stuff just because you can, but honestly question the utility of the item. Doing this while I move, and will continue this as I purchase needed supplies. If something small such as new mattress can help you stay focused and succeed in grad school, why not?

Edited by hejduk
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Good topic. Thanks for reviving it. I have no clue what I really need for my Masters degree. I have a netbook. I might need a more powerful laptop for design work though. Maybe a desktop computer. A printer, some pens and pencils maybe. I'll definitely buy a GOOD bag for carry stuff. I'll just wait until I fly out and buy stuff there.

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I'm going to have to wait and see what I'll need. I'll likely be running some very computationally expensive simulations, so any laptop or desktop I have will just be for personal use and maybe post-processing data. I have a fairly new netbook, a really old crappy laptop, and will be using my boyfriend's very nice desktop with massive screens.

Since I'm moving across the country I will have to buy anything when I get there. My main issue now is deciding what textbooks to ship/bring with me....

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If you don't have space for a filing cabinet or can't find an affordable one, you can always just put your files in a crate or box. I got a rectangular box that's kind of like a basket, rattan with a metal frame. Anyways, I just keep that on my desk and the extra wide manila files fit perfectly inside of it. I don't know what the proper name for these baskets is, but you'll see them at a lot of home furnishing stores and they're usually between 10 and 20 bucks.

A laser printer is a great idea, and I wish I'd bought one this year because the library printing facilities are very expensive. Instead I've just adjusted to reading articles on the computer and only printing things that I'll be handing in. But of course, having a printer would be great because printing an assignment off in a hurry right before it's due is very stressful when you are relying on public printers!

That ergonomic chair is also a great idea! You should be a personal shopper, Hejduk. I bought cheapo fold-up chairs for my apartment and they're impossible to work in. I do all my work on the couch, often slouching, and it's terrible for staying on task. I'd probably get my work done much more efficiently if I had a proper chair.

Something I'm looking for lately is a small library cart to keep in my living room, where I do my reading. I do most of my reading at home, so I always have lots of stacks of books all over the place, in separate piles for books I need to return, books I need to read for this project, books for that project, etc. And I tend to make these piles on the floor next to the abovementioned couch, so it looks as though a crazy person lives in my home. It would be great if I could get a small library cart and just get cardboard dividers to separate my books for various projects. Unfortunately, my online searching has only found me incredibly expensive carts - they're all over a thousand dollars, it seems. I know I can probably just make one out of wood, and probably will do so, but I prefer the metal ones for their library charm. I guess I will have to go in search for a closing library. But I'm getting off topic!

Mugs. I tend to use lots of mugs when I'm cramming for some project. There will often be 4 or 5 empty mugs scattered among the book piles next to my couch. Having lots of mugs means not having to do dishes quite as many times throughout the day or evening. It's also good to have some of those travel mugs with lids, so you can take your tea or coffee with you when you're running late for class, instead of scalding your throat by trying to chug it on your way out the door (what I do).

If you're a lady or just someone who prefers to carry a handbag, get a special, sturdy tote just for library books. Most days, my usual handbag works fine for the 1 or 2 books I'll be carrying around, but on those days when I go to stock up on books for a paper, or once I'm done with the paper, return them en masse, it's better to have a sturdy bag that you don't mind getting a bit worn. Repeated use of favorite bags for transporting library books will wear out your bags quickly, and since you're a grad student you probably won't be able to afford replacing them with anything nice :)

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Here's a random list of some things that have helped me:

1. A decent coffee/espresso machine. And a travel mug. (That is, if you are a caffeine addict.) Saves money and time.

2. A few outfits that make me feel very "put together."

3. As others have mentioned, a good citation program that you feel comfortable using. (Do yourself a favor and learn this ahead of time.)

4. The latest edition of whatever citation style your discipline uses. (Again, do yourself a favor and flag the most frequently used pages ahead of time. You will thank yourself when it is 2:00 AM and you are trying to wrap up a paper for the next morning. This will happen to you at some point. Be prepared.)

5. A gym membership/yoga classes/something that you can use to stay fit. Your body and mind will be much better off. For me, my gym membership was the best stress-buster (plus your school probably has a fantastic facility that you can use for free).

6. Most importantly: An external hard drive. I have heard too many horror stories about losing papers, research, and (gulp) even dissertations. I use a decent drive that I have hooked up to Time Machine on my Mac. Peace of mind.

7. Lots and lots of post-its. This is how I jot down thoughts/organize them in front of me/flag things in my reading.

8. Ohhhh, also important: a good planner. I use this one. $15. And free shipping with:

9. Amazon Prime! You should be able to get a one year free membership with your .edu email address. This has saved me tons of money on (new) books, even compared to used books on websites like Abe, Biblio, Half, etc.

10. Someone who you can call to vent/cry/talk to. Figure out who this person will be and warn them. Luckily, for me, this person is my husband. It could be anyone. You will need this person at some point, more than you think. No matter how fabulously you are doing, you will get stressed out. This does not make you a baby. You might have a bad case of impostor syndrome your first semester. I sure did. This is normal. Just make arrangements for times when you are feeling overwhelmed. You will be glad you did.

And to second some other suggestions:

11. A filing cabinet. Use it. Weekly, at least. I stick to one morning each week, when I just take a bit of time to file new things. It does not get overwhelming this way.

12. A decent printer. I have a laser. I refill my cartridges for about $6.00 (compared to the $70+ cartridges in the Office Supply store), by buying the toner on eBay and refilling it myself. It takes like 5 minutes. (I learned it from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smBYKSG7vCU.)

13. A good bag.

14. I love (love love love love love) Scrivener. I am not one of those people who can continuously sustain a complicated thought while I am writing for more than a few minutes. I have too many ideas bouncing around at the same time. This helps me to get all of my thoughts out/organize them.

I'm sure I'll think of more, but this is a start. Good luck!

Edited by goldielocks
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1. A decent coffee/espresso machine. And a travel mug. (That is, if you are a caffeine addict.) Saves money and time.

Yes, Yes, and Yes! I have a Tassimo, and it rocks. Chai, Espresso, or just regular cup o' joe. Starbucks, Keurig, etc: you name it, Tassimo has it. Only system out there that can do steamed milk packets, so you can actually do a decent (stress decent, but not cafe quality; nothing comes close to cafe quality except an actual cafe) cappuccino and latte.

Edited by hejduk
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Yes, Yes, and Yes! I have a Tassimo, and it rocks. Chai, Espresso, or just regular cup o' joe. Starbucks, Keurig, etc: you name it, Tassimo has it. Only system out there that can do steamed milk packets, so you can actually do a decent (stress decent, but not cafe quality; nothing comes close to cafe quality except an actual cafe) cappuccino and latte.

Don't think anyone here really tops my caffeine addiction:

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Pulled from a Nuova Simonella Appia 5.3qt and jimmied the sewage into our sink for easy cleaning

Really sad I have to sell it since I'm moving across the country for grad school, and this thing weighs a ton

Edited by Behavioral
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Really sad I have to sell it since I'm moving across the country for grad school, and this thing weighs a ton

That's some serious coffee pr0n there! Are you planing shopping for a replacement? Be interested to see where you go with your purchasing decision once you move. I'd love a good but simple espresso maker.

Having said that, I'm gonna start a coffee thread in the Lobby too!

Edited by hejduk
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-Scanner (why have a filing cabinet when you can have a digital one that takes up no space at all)

YES.

I say skip the binders, hanging file folders, filing cabinet, etc. Most profs and professionals in the throes of research seem to do most everything electronically anyway. Many class materials will be available on online web sites, like Blackboard, etc.

Now faced with the task of moving my stuff 3000 mi for school, I have been trying to pare down my amount of paperwork for weeks. Months! It is heavy to move, heavy to ship, a pain to find things again. The more I can get on my computer, the better. It is SO MUCH EASIER to find a crucial article from a computer search with an author's name or a few key words, rather than worrying where the hard copy is, or being in my office and realizing its at home, etc. (My organized files have been rearranged and disrupted by many moves).

And back it up often! I have two 16 GB flash drives, a 60 GB hard drive, and just bought (unopened) a 1 TB hard drive I plan to set up this summer.

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So many coffee addicts...

I find coffee has the opposite effect on me. It makes me feel sleepy and nauseous. All I drink is water and milk.

Fellow non-coffee-addict!!! :)

I also never drink it. My favorite drinks are juice and water.

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That's some serious coffee pr0n there! Are you planing shopping for a replacement? Be interested to see where you go with your purchasing decision once you move. I'd love a good but simple espresso maker.

Having said that, I'm gonna start a coffee thread in the Lobby too!

Definitely going to replace it once I'm in Evanston. Luckily I don't think I'm going to lose much of my investment with this machine since I actually got a great deal on it ($900 for a normally ~$4000 machine) from a small coffee shop going out of business near my apartment. I actually held some coffee and food pairings at my apartment as an undergrad with a lot of my friends, and that's why I bought a commercial machine.

I plan to get a personal--rather than a commercial--espresso machine next year since I don't plan on having enough time to host coffee/espresso tastings anymore. If I could find a used Rancilio Silvia in good shape. I had one before I got the Appia and loved it -- the water capacity was just much too low to be able to continuously keep pulling shot after shot in a night; for personal use, however, the Rancilio is great.

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Fellow non-coffee-addict!!! :)

I also never drink it. My favorite drinks are juice and water.

lol. I'm the same. Can't stand coffee. I love my green tea, water and orange juice. Yum. Once I forced a french vanilla down. Yuck.

Edited by cherylsafina
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I really strongly second (third?) the recommendation of some good travel mugs. I'd check out Contigo- they have 16 and 20 oz leakproof insulated mugs. And I stress leakproof. Throw it in your backpack and don't worry about it leakproof. Forget you're carrying it upside down leakproof.

I have the 20 oz, and it goes pretty much everywhere with me.

Klean Kanteen also has some very nice insulated bottles of various sizes- I have a 12 oz wide mouth that I use for smoothies/juice in the mornings, and it works really well.

Invest in either a refrigerator for your office, or some good tupperware to pack food in. Nothing will send your budget through the roof like eating lunch out, and you really need to get in a good lunch if you're working long days.

Good pens. I second the recommendation for colored pens. I have a set of Sharpie pens (Black/Blue/Red) that I use for writing and marking up- the blue and red both show up well on typed works, but the blue is a bit softer. I use the red for undergrads, and the blue for friends.

As was mentioned, invest in good paper/notebooks. I use the pads of 20lb paper for scratch work, and have some moleskin notebooks that I love for seminars/etc.

Good walking shoes- you'll probably be doing a lot of it, and good shoes making your feet not ache is well worth it.

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I'm watching this thread with interest now too, and not just because I love buying school supplies...

For filing cabinets, they look like they can be pretty pricey but craigslist typically has a lot of people selling them cheap or giving them away for free.

I got one at a local (not chain) thrift store for $3. Probably won't use it much, but nothing's worse than stacks and stacks of papers all waiting to steal your time when you try to organize them. And I know myself too well to think I'll actually scan 'em in.

My $.02

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Good walking shoes- you'll probably be doing a lot of it, and good shoes making your feet not ache is well worth it.

I really have a hard time finding shoes that are both good walking shoes and nice dress shoes. I'm one of those that truly dresses my part when teaching, and that typically includes a blazer and nice Kenneth Cole shoes. Dress shoes are notoriously bad for not having proper arch support. I also think shoes are truly an area where you get what you pay for. If you can go the way of truly casual shoes, get some Aasics: THE shoe for running and walking. For dress shoes, I'm leaning toward Cole Haan, which was purchased by Nike and includes their "Air" technology.

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Right now I'm using Keen shoes... They have several pairs that are really comfortable, but are a nice brown leather shoe that can go with most sharper outfits as well. It's not a complete dress shoe, but unless I'm really dressing up they work fine.

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I really have a hard time finding shoes that are both good walking shoes and nice dress shoes. I'm one of those that truly dresses my part when teaching, and that typically includes a blazer and nice Kenneth Cole shoes. Dress shoes are notoriously bad for not having proper arch support. I also think shoes are truly an area where you get what you pay for. If you can go the way of truly casual shoes, get some Aasics: THE shoe for running and walking. For dress shoes, I'm leaning toward Cole Haan, which was purchased by Nike and includes their "Air" technology.

I have a couple expensive pairs of Cole Haans (oxford and monk strap) and a couple of other 'designer' shoes, but in terms of comfort, nothing's beaten my Clarks. I typically don't wear my Clarks out on special occasion, but they were the only ones I would wear when I was still a wedding photographer trying to get through college (walking in dress shoes for anywhere from 6-12 hours, anyone?). I'm now a retired photographer, but I just bought a second pair of oxfords from Clark for the same reason as you--I like to dress well when in public, and if I'm at school/lab for 14 hours, I want something that fits the part and is comfortable.

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Right now I'm using Keen shoes... They have several pairs that are really comfortable, but are a nice brown leather shoe that can go with most sharper outfits as well. It's not a complete dress shoe, but unless I'm really dressing up they work fine.

I LOVE the looks of Keens (especially on guys... )

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