We may earn a commission through product links on this page. But we only recommend stuff we love.

Relevant To Your Interests: Back-to-School Shopping for Grownup Nerds

I. Love. School. Always have, always will. Here’s some nerdy-ass back to school goodies for ya.



Wonder Woman Backpack, $34.99. Boba Fett Backpack, $69.99. Steven Universe Burger Backpack, $45.99. A Literal BOOK Bag, $59.99.

School Supplies


Star Trek Paperclips, $19.99. TARDIS Journal, $11.99. Academic Passion Planner, $29.99. Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, $27.99. General’s Pacific Pencil, $0.80. Kum Long Point Pencil Sharpener, $7.11.

A quick note on types of nerdery — in this lil’ monthly adventure, I usually lean heavier on the kinds of things most people consider nerdy: cartoons, video games, sci-fi television shows (see Dr. Who and Star Trek in this very collage image). But I am deep nerd into something that I feel like some people don’t think about, nerd-wise, and that is: stationery? Do people think of that as a super nerdy thing to be into? Because I do. So I’ve also included a school pencil from my favorite brand and one of only two pencil sharpeners that I approve for use, plus the Passion Planner and the fine liners to write in it. AND I should also let you know that I listen to three separate podcasts about the stationery world, and one of the hosts of Art Supply Posse mentioned she’s a gay lady this week and I DID NOT KNOW THAT SO GO FORTH AND LISTEN QUEERMOS.

Desk Ish

desk ish

Give ‘Em Helvetica Sticky Note Set, $10.99. Memosaurus Desk Organizer, $12.99 (I will never not feature this). Have a Little Pun Notecard Set, $14.99. Easel Tablet Stand, $17.99.



Acer Chromebook, $269.00. See Concept Screen C Glasses, $65.00 (these aren’t reading glasses — for those who spend a lot of time on screens, this filters out some of the harmful LED light). Philips GoLITE Blu, $75.37 (this is supposed to help with energy and fighting the SAD). Sony Voice Recorder, $49.85. C-3PO Battery Pack, $29.99.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. Oh so cool. This is my time to proselytize for the best pen of all time, the Zebra F-701. It costs around 7 dollars (cheap for a nice pen), has a full metal body with a delightfully stimmy knurled grip, and writes in really fine, smooth lines that make even my most Dumblydore and hurried handwriting come out legibly.

  2. My partner has that pencil sharpener, which is super amazing overkill. Awhile ago I borrowed it and ended up sharpening every pencil in the house. Makes me laugh because in art school, everybody used a knife. Too cool for sharpeners, I guess.


    I always wanted glasses and now I can have some without just being that dork who wears glasses with the clear glass in them

  4. Ha, I never liked school, and just the phrase “Back to School Shopping” is enough to dredge up some not-so-fun memories. However, that Memosaurus Rex is absolutely adorable, and I can definitely see why it’s featured. =)

  5. Ahh! I have been looking for computer screen glasses that don’t look like shooting range protective glasses for months. Bless those cute as heck frames.

    • And!And!And! Did you see they come in tortoise?! They look almost exactly like my (expensive, but oh so worth it) Oliver Peoples glasses (AKA super fashionista!) I’m so excited!!!!!

  6. Ok actually yes this is relevant to my interests, wouldn’t you know it. I very much need a new laptop, but the thought of researching laptops right now…it’s just not going to happen. Should I just get that chromebook you recommend? If I really only need something basic for email and autostraddle and the occasional netflix-and-chill (in bed)? Is that enough memory to back up photos (yes they’re in the cloud…but where even is that, you know?) or is there another model one step up that would be better for that? Help me, @alioh! You’re my only hope.

    Also I’m ordering those punny animal notecards, thank you for sharing.

    • Okay, so about a Chromebook: really it depends. I put the exact one I have up there, and what that Chromebook really is for me is a portable writing machine. I can check emails, make presentations and bring them to class, hell, I’ve got 22k words of a YA novel about witches done on that Chromebook. I even have Linux on my Chromebook, not just Chrome OS. But when I’m doing anything with photo or video or art, I need my Macbook. If you’re not doing ANYTHING like that, a Chromebook of some kind might be a great option. As for photos, it really depends on a) how much you have and b) how much you edit.

    • I have a chrome book and while I love it for day to day basic use, just know that it is a paperweight when there’s no Internet. There are few apps that work properly when theres no Internet (not even the docs work to write BUT that could be my luck, and I have it set to work on offline mode, but I also go through 1 laptop per year take my advice with a grain of salt).

      The screen is tiny for Netflix and chill but the hdmi works fine. My other problem is it can’t print without using the cloud (I also own a Laserjet with no WiFi ability that tbh we found thrown out of someone’s house. So if you have a fancy WiFi printer, it’ll probably work…)

      But past that, it’s good for BASIC Internet use. I love it and it is my preferred laptop

      • What screen size do you have? Cause this one is 14in and on Amazon I have seen ones that are 11in, 15in model, and one that turns into a tablet.

    • As Ali says it depends on how much photos you have. But, you could always get and SD card(either full or micro depending on what it uses) or usb stick to go alone with it. I got a 64gb Samsung usb stick(non-metal) for $16 on Amazon that one can attach to their key ring. Also, now that many Chromebooks support android apps you can run Snapseed to edit images, and the Netflix app(which some like over the site).

  7. I am sorry, but in good faith I can’t agree with that suggestion of the Acer Chromebook. For a little more($290 on amazon) one can get the faster 2015/2016 model Toshiba Chromebook 2(13in Full HD display), which has the better Core based Celeron(starts with a 3 in the spec number and ends with U) cpu(w/i3 optional). If I remember correctly the N based Celerons are based on older Intel tech(based on their budget bay-trail Atom). I have an Atom device(which has a newer version than the one shown here) and while it’s great, it still has some lag when browsing certain sites or watching video in Chrome. For some college student’s maybe a problem if they have to watch a video or some heavier multi-tasking. Not to mention if one plans to use it for 2-4 years in school the non-N Celeron will work out better.

    I only know this cause I was helping a relative look at Chromebooks over the weekend, and have some knowledge on Intel products.

    • Is this really Valid Ali? Cause I prefer 13in over 14 and 15in machines as I found those to be bigger. But, is what Al saying correct?

  8. STATIONERY!!!! If anyone’s looking for a way to make their handwriting feel way more awesome (and maybe a little like they’re in Hamilton), Pilot does a disposable fountain pen (the Varsity) that’s real cheap and comes in like a bajillion colors.

  9. One of the best things about being a teacher is feeding my school supplies addiction and justifying it as “being for work”!

Comments are closed.