Only get writing items that you need, which depends on your habits. For example, I had fancy engineering paper, draft paper, a bunch of rulers and shit that I bought in my 1st year...... and they ended up in the dumpster after years of being unused at all. The reason for that is because I streamlined my note taking habits to nothing but plain A4 paper and a thin black gel pen, the rest was filler and waste of money.
For a laptop I usually suggest something with a big bright screen, since you will spend a lot of time looking at it, and you want to make sure your eyes don't pop out of your sockets by the time you get your degree.
I don't think you will need to run any complex power hungry programs or games (because Social Sciences don't need any and girls usually don't play video games (generally true)), so you don't need a powerhouse of a laptop. Hardware-wise anything on the market will do.
Asus, Lenovo are usually the first choices because they are good combination of quality for price. Apple if you are into the whole peacocking thing and your parents have deep pockets. American brands (Dell/HP) are usually overpriced for the quality/hardware, but they have a decent model every once in a while. Acer is super cheap, "straight to dumpster in 6 months" material. I personally am more of Lenovo fan, I love their keyboards, they are very springy and good for typing.
Software-wise, you will only need like a browser and a word processing suite. Browser is easy. For word processing suite, you can torrent Microsoft's stuff, or you can use a free alternative from Google or Kingsoft (neither as good, but Kingsoft is very close). If you pick Kingsoft, get the pre-2013 version and disable updates, that way it won't update to the new version with ads. You can also buy Microsoft Office if you want.
says thanks to GeorgeLucas for this post.