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College Survival Kit

Send your recent high school grad off to the dorms with these must-have campus-ready products.


Going away to college can be both exhilarating and scary for teens—and their parents. The right gear, however, can immeasurably enhance a student’s freshman year. From care packages to study aids, here are some Bay Area–made items that will give undergrads an on-campus edge—and maybe even remind them of home.

Photo courtesy of Boosted

To get around campus:

At many colleges, skateboards have usurped bicycles as the top transportation choice. The electric Boosted Board—made by the Mountain View–headquartered company Boosted—encourages students to get to class on time thanks to its fun-inducing speeds of 18 to 24 miles per hour. boostedboards.com.
A student’s thoughts: “I would totally use the Boosted Mini S,” says 18-year-old Alex Haider of Clayton, who will attend San Jose State University in the fall. “Getting around a big campus can be tedious, but with the Boosted Mini S, you can have a convenient lift without carrying a huge skateboard.”

Photo courtesy of Timbuk2

For carrying school supplies: 

When it comes to lugging loads of heavy books, a backpack offers ergonomic advantages over a messenger or tote bag. Pick up a stylish one designed by the trendy San Francisco brand Timbuk2—at a discount of up to 40 percent—at the company’s Livermore store in the San Francisco Premium Outlets. timbuk2.com.
A student’s thoughts: “I really like [Timbuk2’s] Lug Recruit backpack,” Haider says. “It has just enough pockets where you can put your daily necessities, and it’s a great size.”




Photo courtesy of Livescribe

For taking notes in class: 

Laptops may be ubiquitous in lecture halls, but studies show that people are more likely to retain information if they take notes by hand. To bring old-fashioned handwriting into the digital age, Oakland-based Livescribe has created a smart pen that uploads anything it scrawls—in a searchable format—onto a computer or tablet. The Livescribe Echo records audio, too. livescribe.com.
A student’s thoughts: “I struggle with anxiety in [class] when I feel like I am missing important information,” says Natalie Johnson, 18. “[So, this] is definitely something I would utilize a lot.”

Photo courtesy of Food With Love

To fuel study sessions: 

College students are not exactly known for their healthy eating habits. By sending them a monthly subscription box filled with nutritious snacks—courtesy of Foster City–based Love With Food—parents can rest assured that their kids are ingesting something wholesome during those late nights spent cramming for midterms. (Bonus: For every box shipped, Love With Food donates at least one meal to a child in need.) lovewithfood.com.
A student’s thoughts: “I would be beyond grateful … to constantly have a stash of natural, healthy snacks on hand,” says Johnson, a Clayton resident who starts San Diego State University later this month.

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