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The College Utility Belt 

Clip this ‘round your waist before doing battle with scholastic evils.

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1. Flash drive:
Every superhero has his lifesaver. This will be yours. Think your lit professor provides deadline elasticity for students who spill lattes all over their keyboards at 2 o’clock in the morning and fry their hard drives? Not likely. Never overestimate a laptop’s durability or lifespan. Shit happens. Be ready for it. Back. That. Assignment. Up. Are we coming across as paranoid? Try re-writing that 15-pager for Communication Ethics an hour before it’s due.

2. Noise-canceling headphones:
For some, the thrill of being free from the parental units is too much to handle. These giddy gigglers treat every night like it’s their first sleepover — all year long. And then there’s your reclusive neighbor, the one who watches Friends DVDs at high volume 24/7. And don’t forget the social butterflies — the ones who see college as an extension of high school, take easy classes and stumble home (loudly) from beer pong tournaments. You’ll encounter all of this. And God knows what else. Sleep is valuable. Get some.

3. Small, long-lasting battery laptop:
Re-location is everything when you’ve been secluded in a tiny-ass library study room with no windows for three hours. But nabbing a free table — complete with power outlet — in a trendy coffee shop can be equally frustrating (and time-consuming). Laptops the size of dictionaries are so 2002. Invest in something simpler.

4. Headache medicine:
Headache, hangover; tomato, tomata. Whatever the cause, nothing sucks up study time like a knockin’ on your noggin. When your think-tank is trapped in a war zone, all you can do is eat grilled cheese sandwiches, nap or watch TV — none of which gets your math homework done.

5. Contraception:
Babies are expensive. Babies cry. Babies poop. Trojans are less than $10 at Wal-Mart. Birth control is free at Planned Parenthood (the staff at 123 East Indiana Ave. is the nicest you’ll ever meet). And syphilis sucks! Be your own superhero. Wanna play? Get protection.

6. Shark Repellent:
Spray this on to avoid scams from credit card companies. You’re legal and young (and some of you are really stupid with money — sorry, it’s fact). Trust us, you’ll be in enough debt when you graduate. Before you swipe, ask yourself: Will I DIE without this?

7. “Ginger Ale” bands:
You know, for carrying around ginger ale when you want to set it down at the non-alcoholic parties you freshmen will be going to. Boo Radley’s on 232 N. Howard carries packs of these nifty doodads, which slip onto your bottle of Crystal Light and distinguish it from everyone else’s. It’s the same concept as wine stem charms, only more colorful and obscene.

8. Reusable water bottle:
Because staying hydrated is important (obviously) and so is Mother Earth. This is one of the cheapest, easiest ways not to contribute to landfills. Get yourself a stainless steel water bottle — maybe one with radical art and designs. Refill this thing about 12 times, and it’s already paid for itself.

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