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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

What you need (and don’t need) for university

August 24, 2021

Things you do need

Water Bottle 

You need a good water bottle, preferably insulated so condensation doesn’t ruin your papers or laptop. There are touchless water bottle filling stations all over campus too. 


Buy a good backpack, not a book bag or bag that goes over your shoulder. Books and computers are heavy and speaking from experience; the last thing you want is a bag that keeps falling off your shoulder. I would also recommend getting a phone charger just for your backpack. 

A Notebook 

Now, this can’t be just any notebook… it has to be THE notebook. Considering we’re always on the go as students, lugging our backpacks around we have to try to pack light. By getting one all-encompassing notebook you won’t have to carry around multiple ones for each class. Also while most things are done online, profs and TAs might ask you to pull out paper for an impromptu activity so it’s always good to have some on hand!  


Even if you don’t ever write with a pencil, make sure you have at least a few because almost 80% of my exams/midterms had ‘scantron’ for multiple choice. You cannot fill that out if you don’t have pencils. 

Social Media (optional, but helpful!)

Follow important departments and clubs and societies that interest you to stay up to date and get important information as soon as it comes out. Make sure that you also join all of the Facebook groups for things like textbook exchanges, what general electives (geneds) you should take, and information in general. 

Here are a few accounts you should start following:

Tiktok: @ontariotechu

Comfortable Shoes

Chances are you are either walking from your student housing, the bus stop or one of the large parking lots to get to class and then you’ll be sitting for at least a few hours during lecture so you’ll want a comfortable pair of shoes. Now I know what you’re thinking, "but I’ll be sitting most of the time!" Trust me, not even the guy at the end of the row shaking his leg (and the whole table) will be more distracting in a lecture than your sore feet. Bonus points if your shoes are waterproof (check out Vessi) so you don’t have to deal with soggy socks.

Things you don’t need

New Laptop 

Ask someone in your program about what computer you need, instead of strictly relying on what the website says. I could have saved myself $800 if I didn’t go out and purchase a new computer. Chances are, yours will work. If you do need specific software for a project, there is always the computer commons where you can go to use a computer on campus. 


You don’t need to get a textbook for all your classes immediately. If you would rather save money than spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks always wait until the 1st-2nd week of school has gone by and see which classes are reliant on textbooks and which classes are not. Some professors might even tell you that you don’t need it and it’s just an extra tool or even give you the textbook for free. So always wait and remember that you’re not going to need every textbook. 


One thing I purchased that I did not need was different binders for every class. I found that having one large binder and using dividers was an easier way to keep everything together and make sure I didn’t accidentally grab the wrong binder. 

Our Merch 

You don’t need to buy merchandise immediately, it can be pricey when compared to the many things you have to buy for your new school year. The temptations of rocking your school merch and representing can be high but always remember there are many events, giveaways and other ways that you may get free stuff from, so I say hold out before buying any merch. 

P.s I got merch on the first day of orientation, sooooo..  

Things you may need (optional based on program)


For some courses, I would recommend buying a printer. For labs and tutorials you often need to print out cases, or lab sheets, if you are in those types of courses.  When buying a printer make sure that you check the price of ink refills. Some of the smaller HP printers are only $20 for a black ink cartridge whereas some printers can be almost $60. If you don't need to print often there are printers on campus and it costs pennies to print a few pages, just be mindful there are often large lineups at the printer so make sure you leave more than 10 minutes before the start of class to print of an assignment.

Agenda/Day Planner

Even if you’re a super-organized person, having an agenda can be helpful in staying on top of all your assignments. With a full course load and two jobs, it was 100% necessary for me to write out what assignments were due and when so that I wasn’t surprised by a forgotten task at the last minute. After the first week of classes each semester I would sit down with my agenda and syllabus and write out due dates for assignments in the month view, the week before and the actual due date to give myself plenty of time to get each task done.

By Guest Author