Just some thoughts:
Thermometers: Always up grade to digital if you can spare the ($10-15) bucks. Be sure to get one that has a "lowprofile" so it won't snag on things, and make sure it has a good clip. I lost more thermometers then anything else during school. Nowdays, I tend to keep my thermometer in my pants pocket so I dont loose it.
Markers: I like the Sharpee Fine Point Permenant Marker. Get yourself a pack of 24 for $12 at CostCo. Be sure to keep a couple extra in your locker and your roll. People are always borrowing them, just like pens.
Peelers: Definatly shop around for this item. There is a huge variety of quality. The kind I like are this small y-peelers with a light plastic body. They look sort of cheap, but they have the best blade and configuration. They even do a decent job on fat eggplants.
Knives: I like the Brazilian brand Mundial. They use a very good steal blend, and they are cheap enough to replace if they get stolen. I also use a Forshner brand slicer for roasts.
Sharpening Gear: Since you're in school get a two tone (two different grits in the same stone) aluminum carbide stone. I got mine for around $3 bucks. Never use oil on it, only water. Be sure to read THIS!
For convinence I got an AccuSharp Knife SharpenerAccuSharp Knife Sharpener
, but you really need to learn how to use the stone.
Steals: I like a long 14" steel. Be sure to get one that doesn't have diamond dust in it. They don't last long and they eat up your knife. Steals are usefull for more then just maintaining knives. I've used them for making suger spirals, poking holes in creampuffs, and even for larding roasts.
Rubber spatulas: Always get the high temp ones (They have the red handle). In order to protect your hand, don't get one with too short a handle. These are must for egg cookery.
Zesters: Microplane makes the best ones ever. Decent price for $11 bucks.
Where to buy: Try to seek out the industy dealers. Smart and Final and Restaurant Depot are probally the best national chains to shop at. Where ever you go be sure to shop for substance over style. Also be sure to ask for Studant Discount. If you live in Los Angeles, PM and I can hook you up with some good places.