The Joy of New Beginnings: Back to School and University

As the languid days of the UK school holidays 2023 give way to the crisp beginnings of autumn, the familiar yet thrilling hunt for uni kit and back to school supplies takes place in earnest once again!  From uniform and shoes, gadgets and gizmos, to pretty notebooks and journaling pens, the search for the perfect school stuff and college supplies begins anew.

Let’s just admit it, back to school shopping and picking out the perfect student supplies – when done in good time – is an intoxicating mix of adventure, promise and eager anticipation. 

After all, nothing quite embodies the spirit of a fresh academic year like the sight of immaculate shoes, pressed shirts and new stationery supplies. Everything is pristine and shiny, signifying the start of something exciting.  There really is nothing quite like a fresh start; a term time about to begin again.   

Here is our brief walkthrough of the stationery essentials that every school or university starter and returnee alike will need this autumn, so you can make your very own back to school list or uni essentials inventory:

  • The Power of Pens and Pencils: Linchpins of Learning

Gone are the days when a pencil case was filled with a simple, yet dependable ballpoint pen, a bog-standard pencil and often prone to inky mishaps, fountain pen. 

Today you can choose writing tools that are ready to capture every thought, idea, mathematical formula and artistic endeavour, perfectly.

From the delicate finesse of Pigma Micron pens and gelly roll pens to the bold paint strokes of a sought-after Posca pen set.

Then there’s the joy of Fudenosuke brush pens and colourful Tombow pens, as well as Faber Castell coloured pencils – all powerful tools for bringing diagrams and notes to life, whatever the subject being studied. 

When it comes to writing tools, there’s a wonderful array of choice for students of all ages; ones that will actually inspire love of learning, rather than hinder it! 

  • The Icing on Your Stationery Cake

Then there are the delightful embellishments that add personality to any back-to-school stationery set.

For instance, one can’t discuss note-taking without honouring the humble highlighter!  A single stroke of the Zebra highlighters or midliners can help de-code the most convoluted Shakespearean sonnet or complex chemical equation.

Then there’s Ecoline brush pens; a must for anyone trying their hand at calligraphy skills.

Whilst washi tape, (whatever washi tape designs you choose) is incredibly versatile for sectioning worksheets or revision pages, it’s also perfect for creating simple tabs in your journal notebook.  

And, don’t forget cute Midori paper clips – they are always a fun way to section pages and mark important sections.

  • Notebooks: AKA Personal Knowledge Vessels

In the vast universe of school stationery, some items inevitably steal the spotlight.  And that’s the world of note books!

However, the quest for the perfect school notebook is a journey unto itself. Notebooks for school are not merely vessels for note-taking but sacred spaces where knowledge intertwines with creativity.

And whilst cute notebooks are always fun, nothing beats a durable hardcover notebook in practical terms.  After all, you want your chosen journal to last!  It’s why we’re pleased to say that our luxury journals are both!

In addition, The Ink Pot gives you so many different journal options to choose from: 

Do you want something that’s easier to carry around?  Pick an A5 bullet journal.  There’s the dotted paper option, if you want something that works for many different applications – from writing to drawing. Whilst an A5 lined notebook with its guiding lines is perfect for aspiring English scholars.  Those with an artistic bent will prefer paper with blank pages. 

Whilst anyone who wants more space to work, should opt for a bigger, B5 journal.

But the most exciting and adaptable feature of our custom notebooks – is just that….they can be customised.  You can select your own notebook design. 

This means you can dedicate each notebook to a different subject – with that subject clearly stamped on the front – in the foil colour of your choice, of course!  Or you may prefer your notebook to feature your name, initials and the term date. The choice is infinite….and it’s yours.   


As you transition from the cosy corridors of school to the bustling campuses of university, your wants and needs evolve, as do your stationery requirements.  Indeed, stationary for university, just like your day-to-day necessities, demands versatility, durability and a dash of personal flair. 

So, whilst packing for university can feel a tad overwhelming, with a well-thought-out uni checklist, it doesn't have to be. Take it one step at a time; carefully consider what you'll need for your lifestyle and course, and remember - if you forget something, you can always pick it up later.

Here are some university essentials to consider: 

  • Journal Pens: Remain Your Academic Allies

Whether you're scribbling quick notes during a fast-paced lecture or meticulously charting out complex concepts for final revision, good quality pens remain your steadfast allies.  So, pick ones that won’t fail you.  In short, those that write smoothly, won’t run out of ink quickly or leave giant ink globs all over important work. We say invest in some Sakura gelly roll pens – you won’t be disappointed.

  • Notebooks Remain Trusty Companions of University Life

University notebooks are more than just containers for lecture notes - they're the repositories of knowledge, ideas, and yes, even the occasional doodle during a not-so-interesting lecture.

A hardback lined notebook is a robust choice for daily note-taking. You might also consider investing in an A5 dotted notebook – it’s great for creating mind maps or diagrams for complex subjects.

  • You Need More Than Just a University Notebook

Of course, a good uni essentials list encompasses more than just pens and paper.  Moving to university is not just an academic transition, it’s  a significant lifestyle change as well.  For many it’s the first time they have every been away from home.  Unlike dreaming of back-to-school supplies, you need to be thinking about a much wider set of needs as your set up your new life. 

  • Building Your Home Away from Home

Whilst academic essentials like notebooks and pens are always important , so are the personal items and living essentials that will make your dorm room feel like a home away from home.  It’s the personal items, that will help you settle in more quickly.  

These are the little things that make a space truly feel like yours. It could be a favourite photo frame, a beloved teddy bear, or even a cosy throw blanket that adds a splash of colour to your bed.  

Don't forget practical items too, from a hot water bottle and additional warm clothes for winter, to outfits with flair for going out on the town, back-ups of your favourite toiletries, and maybe a small sewing kit for emergency repairs.

  • Tech Gadgets: Your Digital Companions

In the age of digital learning, a reliable laptop or tablet is a must-have on any uni packing list.  Along with this, consider including a USB stick for backing up important work, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones for those late-night study sessions, and perhaps a portable phone charger to keep you connected on the go.

  • Living Essentials: Making Your Dorm a Home

When it comes to university living essentials, start with bedding — pillows, sheets, and a duvet; after all, nothing beats a good night’s sleep!  Check if your university provides any of these before you start packing.  Towels, both for bathing and for the kitchen, are another must.  And speaking of the kitchen, you'll need some basic utensils and cooking equipment (again, check what your university or accommodation provider supplies).  A laundry bag, hangers, and some washing capsules are also a good idea.  If you write down all wants and needs in your dot grid journal you won’t leave anything behind!

  • Health and Hygiene: Staying Well

Keep a first aid kit stocked with plasters, antiseptic cream, and any regular medication you take.  Add some basic cold and flu remedies too - you'll be thankful for these when the infamous 'Freshers' Flu' strikes!  Don't forget your toiletries - shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, and maybe some luxury items like your favourite bubble bath for when you need a little pampering.

  • Study Essentials: For Your Academic Success

Apart from your hardback notebook (a must of course!), and other stationery essentials, consider a desk lamp for late-night study sessions, sticky notes for marking important textbook pages, and a robust backpack for carrying your laptop and books around campus.

New Start, New School Supplies

No doubt we all remember, with clarity, the days when we started the new academic year – be it at school or university.  We were proud of our new pens, lined up beautifully in pencil cases and our pristine notebooks; with shoes polished and clothes ironed and unmarked, it signalled the start of a new era. It’s a rite of passage that’s still enjoyed today. 

On that note we would like to say GOOD LUCK to all school and university adventurers – old hands and newbies alike!  May your stationery be the loyal companion that carries you through an educational journey marked by discovery and delight!