The list of school supplies gets shorter as students advance

Julie Sickel

Before Chris Baldwin arrived on campus this fall, he made sure he had two supplies: soap and nylon rope.

He wasn’t worried about the trendy room accessories on sale at Target, or the storage supplies advertised at Walmart.

“I didn’t waste any money on things like that this semester,” Baldwin said.

A junior theater major, Baldwin has already lived on campus for two years. This year, he’s keeping it simple.

“Rope is always important,” Baldwin explained. “Anything that starts to fall apart, you can use rope or duct tape to put it back together.”

Baldwin is just one of many Kent students who has demonstrated that student purchases to start the school year depend on where they will live and what year they will be.

Mike Nicolino, a freshman exploratory major, bought a laptop at Kent’s new Mac Store for his introductory year at school, while Heather Benya, a freshman mathematics major, bought new bedding for her on-campus dorm room.

After the first-year frenzy of futons and shower caddies, figuring out what to purchase for the next school year gets easier, said Kate Kaschalk, junior art history and anthropology major.

“I didn’t have to buy lots of school supplies or anything because I had stuff from last year,” Kaschalk said. “I just had to buy the basics like pens, pencils, that kind of stuff.”

Likewise, Terry Turner, a junior English major, said a pair of headphones was the most “standout thing” he purchased after textbooks.

For students moving off-campus, however, the inventory of items needed to start the school year may be similar to freshman year.

Amanda Finchan, senior English major, found herself in need of furniture for her new off-campus house.

“My move off campus basically consisted of taking everything from my dorm room that didn’t belong to Kent State and having my parents bring a bed,” Finchan said. “I needed to look on Craig’s List for furniture, like couches, which turned out to be fairly inexpensive.”

Students, new or not, tend toward bargain superstores to find everything on their back-to-school lists. It seems that Target and Walmart are the big winners in Kent.

“I’m such a Target person,” Banya laughed. “I get everything at Target.”

Baldwin, like Finchan and Nicolino, said he found all of his supplies and last-minute purchases at Walmart.

“I’d like to go other places,” Baldwin said, “but Walmart is the closest as far as I know.”

However, if students are in the market to buy higher-priced items like furniture or appliances in the future, they may want to take the advice that Finchan offers to her friends.

“I tell everybody, as soon as I learn that they’re moving: Don’t go out and buy it new. Find it on Craig’s List first.”

Contact Julie Sickel at [email protected].