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15 Items to Keep In Your College Backpack
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 15 Items to Keep in Your College Backpack

May 16, 2018

College students carry their backpack everywhere: to class, the dining hall, their workplace, and all across campus. So what should you always have in it?


1. Your ID. On campus, your student ID is extremely valuable. You don’t want to be locked out of a building or not be able to scan for a meal, so keep it on you! If you commute or drive off campus regularly, it’s a good idea to keep your driver’s license on you too.

2. Security items. Always have your dorm keys and car keys! Not only so you have access to those places, but also to keep others out and your stuff safe. If you ride a bike on campus a lot, keep an extra bicycle lock in your backpack.

3. Extra writing tools. Whatever you use the most for school (pens, pencils, markers, even a digital stylus), make sure you have extras just in case you forget them or loan them out to someone.

4. Band-aids. Not many people think of this one, but this habit saved my life a few times in college. Even if it’s for something as little as a bad hangnail, you won’t want to be trekking all the way to the nurse or searching for a first aid kit just for a band-aid.

5. Flash drive. You never know when you might need to exchange files or your wi-fi will cut out and you need to print something quickly. Don’t keep a lot of files on it, in case you leave or lose it somewhere on campus, but it’s very useful in technology emergencies.

6. Charging cords. Keep your phone cord, laptop cord, and cords for any other electronic that you use regularly with you. If you’re going from class to class to work and don’t have time during the day to make it back to your dorm, you don’t want your phone to die. And taking notes on your computer during class is only useful if your laptop can make it all the way through class.

7. Hand sanitizer. It’s really easy to find the small pocket sized sanitizers to keep in your backpack. It comes in handy after eating or if you spill something sticky.

8. Tissues. I always kept a pack of Kleenex in my backpack, especially during the spring and summer when my allergies would act up. Your classmates will get quickly annoyed if you’re constantly sniffing in class, so have them just in case.


9. Loose paper. Professors can unexpectedly give a pop quiz which you may need paper for. Or you might need to take notes and you realize you’ve forgotten your notebook for that class. Even if you just need to write something down to remember later, it’s useful to have loose paper or a scratch notebook with you.

10. Water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day! Get a reusable water bottle that you can keep in the side pocket or clip onto your backpack. Fill it up every time you see a water fountain or in the dining hall and you’ll hit your daily quota in no time.

11. Headphones. This is a must! If you’re working on your homework in the library or at a coffeeshop, nobody wants to hear your music when they’re trying to focus. Lots of students use headphones just walking across campus as well.

12. Mints/gum/cough drops. You don’t want to get caught with bad breath if you have a presentation in class or meeting with your advisor. Keeping an extra pack of gum in your backpack will help your breath stay fresh! If you get a weird tickle in your throat or you’re struggling with a bad cough, people around you will be thankful you have cough drops to silence your cough.

13. Weather items. Here in Indiana where the weather fluctuates as it pleases, it’s a good idea to be prepared. During the winter I would have an extra pair of gloves in my backpack, and switch it to an umbrella during the springtime so I was never caught in the rain.

14. Daily personal needs. If you struggle with asthma, keep an inhaler with you. Have long hair? Throw a couple extra hair ties in the front pocket of your backpack. If you take medication for anything daily, keep it with you. This will be different for every single person, and that’s ok! Anything you know you will use daily, keeping it in your backpack will be a good idea.

15. Snacks. College students have weird schedules. So if you miss a meal or don’t have time to eat, your stomach will thank you for that granola bar or fruit snack pack or apple or peanut butter crackers. Try to keep it healthy, and have something with a little protein in it.


This list may sound like a lot, but most of these things are small and will fit in the front smaller pocket of your backpack, so don’t worry about space! You’ll still have plenty of room for your laptop, textbooks, and other necessities. 


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