As a college student, it is essential to pack our bags strategically because you have to carry it around with you all day. Without an alternate place to store all of your things (like lockers for high schoolers), you need to maximize the space in your backpack while still having everything you need for class and the day as a whole. Below I talk about my backpack essentials!
Naturally, for this post to make any sense you’re going to need a backpack or another larger bag of your preference. I have a bad neck and back, so I opt to use a backpack with good support to lessen my physical discomfort. I also find it to be essential that your bag of choice has many pockets to aid in the organization of all of my things.
My current backpack has lost its support and needs to be replaced, however, I cannot seem to find one with pockets that I like within a decent price range. It has two large compartments, a medium compartment with smaller zipper pouches in it, a small front compartment and two water bottle compartments on the sides. I utilize each of these sections.
Everyone is different, so when choosing a bag, make sure it suits your needs!
Textbooks and Binders
In many cases, the largest contents of a backpack are the textbooks, notebooks, folders, and binders. I generally take one to two textbooks at one time because of their weight and how it affects my neck. If you can fit and can carry more than two and you’d like to, go for it!
In addition to the textbooks required for my classes, I take the binder that is associated with the class I will be attending for the day. I use binders instead of notebooks and folders for multiple reasons. The first reason is that I have hundreds and hundreds of pages of loose-leaf notebook paper and absolutely no notebooks. So, having a binder gives me a place to keep the paper.
The second reason I use binders instead of folders is that the binder organizes everything I will need for the class including the loose leaf paper, handouts, a folder for the handouts, folder compartments for projects that need to be turned in, and a clear area to put the syllabus or course schedule on the front. This way I am not digging through a cluttered notebook to see what is due next. The downfall of using binders are the bulk. Again, use what works best for you!
Planner / Scheduler
My next backpack essential is potentially my favorite part—my planner. Personally, I use a bullet journal (check out my bullet journal here}}). I keep my journal in a pouch to protect it from spills and page damage, though this is not necessary.
I HIGHLY recommend that you get an agenda or planner if you don’t already have one. It is essential to keep all your due dates, classes, appointments, and other events organized in one place. Plus, there are a million different types of planners so you are bound to find one that you really like.
This next backpack essential isn’t really an essential but for some people, it is immensely useful to have on you. I keep my laptop on me because I work on campus and use it at work. However, it is also extremely helpful in between work and class when I do not have time to go all the way across campus to go to the library, or if there are no computers available in the student lounge in my building. I am able to pull out my laptop and work on homework or even complete blog work in my free time instead of sitting around playing on my phone. If you choose to carry your laptop around you need to be mindful that it takes up a lot of space, requires protection, and will probably need you to have a messy mop of cords in your bag too.
You can’t be expected to take notes in class without writing utensils, so these are a MUST. I keep my pens, pencils, and highlighters in a zipper compartment in my medium zipper section, though you can also opt to keep them in a pencil case or makeup bag. I always keep a plethora of colors on my person because I like to take notes in color, but this is not something that you need to have, a few black pens and a pencil are good enough.
Water Bottle & Snacks
One of the most important parts of the college student’s backpack is a water bottle. By keeping a water bottle on you, you are more likely to stay hydrated without having to use public water fountains. Water is good for you, so don’t forget to bring your water bottler!
Regardless of how long you plan to be on campus, you will need snacks. Snacks are an awesome way to remain focused, refuel energy, and if you’re on campus all day—you will need to eat. I am generally on campus all day because of work and class, so I not only pack a lunch but also keep granola bars and various chips or crackers in my backpack. My small pouch of my backpack is designated for snacks.
It’s not a necessity in some places, but I always keep my umbrella in my second water bottle pouch in case of rain. Where I am from random bouts of rain are not uncommon, and I prefer not to have to run to my car with my bag over my head.
If you have any interest in having an ID on you, student card, money card, cash or anything else you probably keep your wallet on you. This is easy to add to your backpack because it probably does not take up much space.
The final backpack essential is charging cords! This might not be a necessity for you, but if you have your laptop or phone on you, you probably do not want it to die in the middle of the day. I keep my cords in the pouch with my snacks for ease of access.
There you go! Those are my backpack essentials, what do you keep in your school bag??