12 College Backpack Essentials
by Jasmin Suknanan
As you prepare to begin your first year of college (or head back to college) you might be thinking about the cute bed sheets you’re going to buy for your dorm room, or outfits you’re going to need to bring, but what about one of the most important aspects of studying in college — your backpack supplies! With back-to-college season among us, you need to be prepared with an arsenal of all the absolute necessities right there on your back. You don’t want to have an over-stuffed backpack, but you also want to make sure you’re prepared. So here are 12 essentials that you should definitely carry around with you every day.
- Always have a writing utensil and paper. Good, old fashioned pen and paper can work wonders in a classroom. Even if you prefer taking notes on a laptop, it’s still good to at least have a notebook on you at all times in case you need to write something down in a hurry and can’t whip out your laptop in time. Plus, if you’re beginning freshman year you will likely have at least one class in your schedule where typing your notes is just inefficient and basically a nuisance *cough* math class *cough*. I love taking notes using colorful pens — they just make everything so much brighter, so I always make sure I have my pack of colorful pens and one black ink pen.
- Keep a planner on you at all times. Need a place to jot down the due date of that surprise extra credit paper your professor blessed your class with? A planner is the perfect place to do this. Overall, planners are great ways to keep homework assignments organized. Some colleges give you your first planner free as a freshman, so make sure you put it to good use! I have also seen some really cute planners that have inspirational daily quotes in them, and that’s a really nice touch.
- Have at least one folder. Even if you only use one! Crumpled up and crushed papers are super annoying, whether it’s a paper you have due or notes you took for a class (because you didn’t use a notebook!). You should always aim to turn in neat assignments, and to also store your class notes properly since you took the time to record them.
- Carry a packet of tissues. You never know when you might need to blow your nose or clean up a spill. In the past, I have forgotten to keep tissues in my backpack at all the worst times — allergy season, when I have a cold — and let me tell you, life is temporarily miserable when there’s a river of snot flowing from your nose, ruining your foundation, and you’re trying to sit in class like there’s nothing wrong. You can buy these small tissue packets in bulk so you can just grab and go, or you can place a few sheets of tissue in a resealable bag and leave it in your backpack.
- Trust me, you need a pencil pouch. Don’t you just hate when you need a pen or pencil and you have to dig around the dark depths of your backpack for like five minutes? Use a pencil pouch and don’t keep your writing utensils scattered all over the bottom of your backpack! Make sure you have one that’s big enough to fit all of your essentials such as pens, pencils, a mini stapler, and maybe a highlighter or two.
- Always, always, always, ALWAYS have your student ID and dorm/car keys. This is one of the worst things to not have on you at all times! If you live in a dorm on campus, you probably know that your student ID and room key are basically your lifeline; if you don’t have your student ID you can’t get into your building or buy food using your meal plan, among other things. Always double check to make sure you have both on you before you leave your room; taking an extra 10 seconds before you leave wouldn’t be the end of the world.
- Phone chargers are super handy. Not to sound like a technology-obsessed college kid, but I always make sure I carry my phone charger in my backpack when I go to class (especially when I have long days) because sometimes I forget to charge my phone before leaving in the morning. You never know when you might need to make a call in a hurry, or when somebody needs to reach you in a hurry, so it’s important to make sure that you have some means of getting your phone back to life or keeping it alive. Little charging banks are also really useful because you won’t even need to find an outlet in order to charge your phone.
- Carry around lip balm. Personally, I get super distracted when I feel my lips starting to get dry! Don’t you also hate that feeling when your lips are dry, cracked, or stiff feeling, especially during the winter months? Lip balm is also pretty inexpensive, so you should always keep your favorite lip balm in your backpack at all times. I personally love the ones that are flavored like candy and chocolate, and even some strange ones like popcorn flavored lip balm! It makes me even more excited to apply it!
- Headphones/earbuds are super useful. Headphones are life savers when you really need things to be a little bit quieter but you can’t or don’t want to move from where you are. Sometimes you just need to listen to your own noise in order to focus. If you keep earbuds in your backpack, make sure they’re in a place where you can actually find them (a.k.a. not squished in between your books). I like keeping mine in my pencil case because they’re safe from getting crushed and I’ll always know exactly where they are.
- Always have a pack of mints or gum. If you think you have bad breath from the garlic knots you had for lunch, some mints or some gum can definitely help alleviate that. These are also great if you find that you can concentrate better in class, during exams, or while studying if you’re chewing something. Be warned: grab and go items like gum, mints, and small snacks on college campuses are more expensive than the ones off campus!
- Bring band-aids. You don’t need a first aid kit in your backpack, but always keeping at least a band-aid or two in your backpack can make certain situations so much better. How many times have you worn flats to class or to your part-time job only to have painful cuts on the backs of your feet as a result? Been there, done that! And don’t get me started on paper cuts — they can happen at any time to anyone and even though they’re really tiny, they sting. There are definitely other things that warrant the use of a band-aid, so make sure can get one when you need one! At some events at my college, they give out band-aids for free in little cases that fit comfortably anywhere and prevent the band-aids from bending.
- Always pack a quick snack! Your stomach will thank you for remembering to pack that granola bar before you left for class! We’ve probably all been in the situation where we’ve been going to class or doing work all day and we just need a little snack break, but we haven’t had the chance to take one yet (and if this hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t worry, it probably will!). Focusing on an empty stomach is really hard, so make sure you at least pack your favorite snack. Last semester when I was in class until 10pm most of the week, I began making little ‘snack packs’ for myself so I could eat something throughout the day rather than have my stomach grumble until late at night when I finally got back to my room. In my snack pack, I’d have a small banana, a packet of my favorite crackers, and a piece of my favorite chocolate all inside a resealable Ziploc bag. It was super convenient for me and helped me stay awake during the day. Also, don’t forget to bring something to wash it all down with!
Now you can strut through campus confident that you’ve got all the right things to conquer your day. You’ll be able to avoid some less than desired situations and be super ready for anything college life throws at you!
Guest Blogger: Jasmin Suknanan from Macarons & Mascara
Jasmin is the owner and blogger at the college, lifestyle, and beauty blog, Macarons & Mascara. She’s a current college student who loves writing, Zumba, iced green tea lattes, and baking enough cupcakes to feed a college campus. She loves writing tips for fellow college goers on just about anything — from how to take notes in class, to what to wear to your first internship. Follow her on social media for tips, blog updates, and pretty things!