10 Things Every Female Grad Student Needs

Helpful tools are always welcome when you’re dealing with the challenges that come with being a graduate student! This is particularly true for female students whose needs are significantly more different than their male counterparts. 

The focus on female graduate students in this article is understandable considering the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) statistics. Women outnumbered men in most of the master’s and doctorate degree program enrollment in Fall 2020 – 59.7% versus 40.3%, respectively. Women also earned most of the doctorate degrees in 2020, and it’s for the 12th straight year, to boot! 

In terms of areas of study, women with graduate degrees also outnumbered men in seven of the 11 fields in the CGS study. Health and medical sciences was the most popular among women followed by public administration, education, and social and behavioral sciences. 

Female Grad Student Needs - fact

Attention Ladies

As a woman, you can step up your game by seeking out things that will help you keep on track. You have come a long way since graduating from college, but gone are days of partying late or skipping classes. You are now a graduate student. Your decision to pursue post-baccalaureate will require intensive planning, but no one can tell you how to live your life except for yourself. 

Besides tons of flashcards, notebooks, pens, and other school supplies, you have to prepare for other graduate school necessities. Graduate school life is slightly different than in college and high school years. Expectations and goals are all higher! 

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Other than the overwhelming tasks and deadlines, some of the biggest challenges you will encounter are time management, procrastination, lack of support, and even stress from uncertainty and the unknown. As you step forward into the next stage of your life, manage and pace yourself well to reach the finish line. 

It won’t hurt to get a few tips and read a guide to help you overcome the challenges. But first things first, the stuff every female grad student can’t be without! Check out the top 10 on our list—including the brands and products we believe will get you through in grad school:

things every female grad student needs

Laptop
Backpack
Smartwatch
Comfortable Shoes
Concealer
All-in-one Printer
Pen-sized Scanner
Portable Hard Drive
Book Rentals
Self-Care Essentials and Practices


Laptop

Laptops have become an essential tool in the successful completion of nearly every education-related task! The wide range of tasks range from attending online classes, submitting assignments and interacting with others to researching for and writing the dissertation. 

Indeed, a laptop with sufficient technical specifications should be on top of your to-buy list. But be sure to check the specific technical specs that your graduate program requires from its students. These technical specs are relevant to your ability to keep up with the coursework, maximize the use of the learning platform (e.g., Canvas or Blackboard), and perform a myriad of tasks in graduate school.

Ladies will appreciate a sleek, slim, and stylish laptop because it’s light enough to carry yet powerful enough for the files, apps and tasks that it will carry. Function, however, must not be sacrificed so look for excellent durability and performance, too. Your laptop being a major investment, you must consider form and function as a whole, not as separate aspects. 

You may want to consider the Acer Swift 7 because of its just-right balance between form and function. It’s among the world’s thinnest laptops with only 9.95 mm chassis and weighs 890 grams, so you can carry it in your bag all day along with other school supplies without breaking your back. 

Not only is it incredibly compact, but it also features a 92% screen-to-body zero-frame display for stunning visuals and presentations. It is known for its efficient mobile performance with the built-in 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor2 for excellent multitasking and multimedia tasks.

This valuable gadget for every female graduate student is thin and light but sports a full-size, comfortable keyboard with an integrated fingerprint power button and a battery life of 12 hours for students on the go. It impresses even more with its Nano Sim slot for a 4g-LTE connectivity/ eSim technology so you can send essential emails and projects anytime, anywhere. In a world of overwhelming laptop choices, Acer Swift 7 is one of the best for grad school women. 


Backpack

backpack

Between academic coursework, research activities and meetings, graduate students will find themselves running to and fro. This is where backpacks are useful and convenient! 

We suggest looking for a backpack that provides excellent support for your shoulders and back through thick padding and straps. When you wear it, the backpack should distribute the weight of its contents evenly between your shoulders and back. This way, you can prevent the onset of shoulder and back pain that, in your age, may be more painful than in your younger years. 

Look for other desirable features, too, particularly durable materials and construction, plenty of space for your laptop, books and supplies, and security features like zippers and locks. Consider a backpack that fits your personality, too, while also demonstrating a professional image.

Ditch the satchel or large purse, and go for the KOPACK Slim Women Laptop Backpack. This backpack is designed for gals who want a stylish bag that is classy enough for interviews and presentations. Not only will you lust over its lush purple color, but this backpack is also created with an anti-theft feature to keep your belongings secure. It has a built-in USB charging slot, so you won’t have to whip out your power bank when your gadgets are low on battery. 

The backpack has luggage straps, a great weight balance, and it fits any 15” laptop, which is perfect for commuting students. It is slim but has more than ten compartments that keep your documents and other things in place. It’s time to stop worrying about the rainy days or water spilling from your cup because this backpack is waterproof. Lastly, its suitcase-style opening makes for an ideal convertible bag for graduate students.


Smartwatch

watch

Doing your best to be on top of your work in graduate school may mean attending nighttime classes. This, in turn, can lead to late-night cram sessions, sleep deprivation, and other actions that eventually become unhealthy habits. 

But this shouldn’t be as your health should be your topmost priority! Without good health, you won’t be able to deliver on your personal and professional responsibilities. Your outputs in graduate school will also be adversely affected when you’re sick.  

This is where a smartwatch is a worthwhile investment! Not only will you be able to keep track of your sleep and fitness patterns, but a smartwatch will also keep track of your activities on time. You have a useful tool in managing your time as well as your health vitals and stress levels!

Graduate school ladies will love the chic Fitbit Versa that comes in a variety of bold colors. It’s compact and easy to operate with features for fitness metrics, apps, and notifications. Since it’s sold at a reasonable price, you will get the best value for your money – more features, less cost. 

The Fitbit Versa features a health tracker for females, along with other third-party apps that you can access with a simple tap. This watch is super slim and casual enough to wear during classes and at work. Its customizable clock face and accessories allow you to wear your watch the way you want it. You can even enjoy playing 2048 despite its tiny screen. 

You can easily register every move you make, record your classes and appointments, and get yourself some help while you study without the distraction of your smartphone. This is a smartwatch that goes beyond telling time – it’s a useful tool for managing your hectic life as a graduate student!


Comfortable Shoes

A pair of shoes can make or break your overall outfit. But when you’re in grad school, you need to walk around classrooms or campus often, travel from the workplace to school, even walk or drive from school to your house. You can’t go wrong with the right shoes in grad school.

In addition to achieving that professional look, you will need to pay attention to your feet. You will get into presentations every once in a while, so you need a good pair of shoes that won’t hamper your movement while giving the presentation. 

You can go for well-fitting Black Pumps for a classic look or Statement Heels tailored to your style. Ballet flats also give you that effortlessly polished look if your feet are wobbly when walking with heels. You can slip into flats when your feet are tired or when you’re ready to go home after a long day. 

Wearing well-fitted, comfortable footwear is a must, too, because walking for extended periods can increase the risk of foot, ankle and leg issues. These include arch pain, heel pain and shin splints that adversely affect your ability to walk in a natural, non-painful manner. Pain in your lower extremities will also have a negative effect on your concentration and cognitive function. 

When choosing footwear, look for shoes that provide sufficient support for your arches, follow your feet’s natural shape, and provide enough wiggle room for your toes. Avoid shoes that slip and slide when you’re wearing them as well as shoes that pinch any part of your feet; otherwise, you’re at risk for corns, calluses and blisters, and these aren’t just ugly but painful, too. 

Tip: Avoid wearing flip-flops when reporting to your college and engaging in coursework-related activities in professional settings. Not only are these too casual, these offer little to no support for your feet. 

Take good care of your feet and ankles, too, by stretching, massaging and grooming them on a regular basis. Remember that they carry most of your weight and carry you around!


Concealer

With millions of make-up tutorials on YouTube, it’s challenging to find the best one that fits your daily routine. You need easy and quick make-up to make you look presentable and put together despite the late-night study sessions. Full-face make-up is not necessary for your daily grad school routine; what you need to feel confident about your looks is an all-weather concealer! 

A concealer covers those dark under-eye circles and blemishes caused by all the stress and sleepless nights. The NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand has a variety of shades for every girl’s skin tone. It’s one of the best-value concealers on the market that is easy to apply, spread, and blend. It is formulated to create coverage that gets rid of discoloration and redness. 

But of course, you only apply concealer to the areas in your face that need it. With a touch of a good concealer (in just under 5 minutes), your beautiful peepers can get even more attractive, and you can take your exams without anybody knowing the graduate school work the previous night had you sleep-deprived.

You may also want to use two shades of concealer – the NYX has several shades, as previously mentioned – to effectively hide unsightly under-eye bags. 

  • Apply a darker shade directly on the eye bag itself. Pay more attention to the swollen skin but use gentle strokes to blend the concealer into your skin. 
  • Apply a lighter concealer below the eye bag and blend. The second application adds more depth by contouring the under-eye area and gives the illusion of lift. 

With the right technique – it takes practice but it’s possible to do it like the pros – your under-eye area will look radiant without the swelling, fine lines and discoloration.


All-in-one Printer

things every female grad student needs

Getting the best printer means you do not have to go to the library or an internet café to print your notes, research, and assignments. Canon PIXMA TS9521C is a perfect pick when you want quality, low price, and a convenient all-in-one printer. 

This compact printer can handle printing capabilities such as photocopying, scanning, and faxing. It sports top-rated printing speeds that you need for that dreaded term paper deadline and the first-class print quality that delivers vibrant photos with smooth textures and detailed graphics. There are built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for convenient wireless connectivity to your smartphone or laptop.  You can also pop in your SD card for printing.

The Canon Pixma TS9520 is available in 3 different colors, controlled with an adjustable 5-inch colored touchscreen, comes with six individual cartridges, is compatible with Google’s Cloud Print and Apple’s AirPrint technology, and even supports CD/DVD/BluRay disc printing. All of these simplify one aspect of grad school life… allowing you to print stuff you need while juggling classes and work. This is an excellent choice for your versatile inkjet printer.


Pen-sized Scanner

things every female grad student needs

Copy texts from books into your laptop the easy way. A pen-sized scanner is remarkably helpful for students who need to take tons of notes and cover heaps of documents in books. You can use it to scan, save, and transfer selected lines, numbers, passages, images, and hand-written scripts. 

With numerous choices, you may have a challenging time choosing the best pen-size scanner for your needs. You can, however, keep the following features in mind when considering your choices: 

  • Sufficient storage space for your unique needs is a must. Otherwise, it’s necessary to clean the pen scanner at regular intervals or as needed. 
  • Long battery life is necessary, too, since you will use the pen scanner away from an accessible power source. 
  • Fast scanning speed means scanning more documents within a shorter time, a convenient feature in your busy schedule. 
  • High resolution images – look for at least 300 DCI value – make reading more enjoyable. 
  • Wide range of compatibility with devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops is an obvious feature in an interconnected world. 
  • Useful features like language recognition, text translation and built-in dictionaries make life easier for graduate students, too. 
  • Ergonomic design, light weight, and durable construction are also must-have features. Reasonable prices mean great value for your money but don’t sacrifice quality for price either. 

With these features in mind, we recommend the IRISPen Air 7 Wireless Digital Highlighter Pen Scanner. It’s the best value pen-sized scanner you can get for less than $100. 

It offers features that are as useful as its more expensive competitors, such as portability, Bluetooth connectivity, and MAC, PC, IOS, and Android compatibility. Software and an application are provided for an easy setup with any operating system.

The IRISPen Air 7 is lightweight, so you can keep it in your bag or conveniently carry it around in your hand. You can scan almost everything, convert photos into digital files, depending on its OCR solution that recognizes more than 130 languages, and a text-to-speech feature. This technology addresses every girl’s concern in maintaining organized files and documents. Note-taking has never been this easy, and digital highlighting with this technology saves you time and money.


Portable Hard Drive

As you head off to grad school, you will need the best tech you can get. Besides your gadgets and other devices, a portable hard drive makes it easier for you to store data for school (or work). 

This is an excellent instant storage option for all your thesis, term papers, research, photos, and other essential documents. Plus, it’s so easy to use – just connect your personal computer with an external hard drive using a cable and start transferring your files. You will then have a portable storage device with files that can be accessed even when you’re away from your laptop or working in offline mode. 

With an external hard drive, you can make digital backups of every file vital to your success as a graduate student. Large volumes of text, photos and graphics can be stored in a single hard drive and, thus, the risk of losing the information decreases.

Storing files on an external hard drive also means retaining full ownership of the information contained therein. Cloud services like Google Drive may be able to use data stored on its servers, not to mention the security risks associated with accessing data through cloud storage.

Malware, spyware and other cybersecurity threats can make your all-important research materials and dissertation vanish into thin air! With that said, the Seagate Expansion Backup Plus Slim is perfect for women who are looking for a pocketable and inexpensive hard drive for grad school. It is only .38 inches thick and weighs about 4.8 ounces.

This reliable hard drive supports 1tb-2TB storage capacity and has a Sync Plus tool that backs up files with just one click. It comes in different bright colors and styles to match your academic look. It’s lightweight and fits even in the smallest purse.


Book Rentals

Whether it is for a presentation or pleasure, you are going to read plenty of books in grad school. Pick up or download a bunch of books you need for your graduate program or your daily dose of great novels and fiction.

things every female grad student needs

Thanks to Amazon Rentals, you can explore textbooks on the cheap! How does it work? You choose your rental length and pay for the rental duration selected. Amazon provides you with a preview and a seven-day trial of some books. They also offer Free 2-day shipping when you sign up for either an Amazon Student or Prime account, Free Return Shipping, and 15-Day Extension and Discounts for extra semesters. 

Since it supports different sellers, Amazon has a wide variety of book selections and gives the best pricing for each book. You might find yourself puzzled with Amazon’s rental rules at first; you have to review them thoroughly to enjoy this service.


Self-Care Essentials and Practices

It’s not unusual for modern women to have a lot on their plate. Busy schedules could result in neglecting self-care. The most important thing you need for surviving graduate school is self-care. Yes, there will be nights you won’t get enough sleep for doing coursework, writing dissertations, working with a research team, long hours at the lab, and thesis, but you need to take care of yourself, keep your sanity and well-being.

Getting an advanced degree could be demanding especially with a job outside the program. Use self-care strategies to manage stress and avoid burnout. You should nourish your mind and body to fuel you throughout your grad school life. A fail-proof self-care practice is eating healthy and drinking lots of water to keep you hydrated. Make sure you get the basics like exercise, sleep, and even social time. 

Manage your time to keep all these tabs checked. Connecting with family and friends is integral to your well-being. It’s alright to ask for help and build a community that will help you get through tough times and talk about something that is not school-related. The Confidence Code may be the food for thought you never knew you needed!

But it can be challenging to adopt these self-care methods, too, for a wide variety of reasons. You may think that it’s a selfish act, for example, to get some time off for yourself, particularly when family, peers and advisors need your physical presence at different times. 

Well, it isn’t selfish to take good care of yourself! In the end, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You must then adopt self-care practices on a daily basis so you have the energy and enthusiasm for whatever lies ahead.

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor