Over your 4+ years of college, you and your backpack are going to be spending a lot of time together. Whether you live in the dorms or commute from an apartment, make sure you’re packing the right materials so you’re set no matter where you are on campus.

  • Backpack – When purchasing a new backpack, don’t forget to choose one with a multitude of pockets. This will help you keep everything organized.
    • If you have a laptop, jot down the dimensions before shopping so you can find one with a sleeve that will fit.
  • Planner – This is a lifesaver in college, as long as you actually use it! Write in the important dates from your syllabus or tape it to the inside of the front cover.
  • “Everything” Folder – Let’s assume you have a specific binder/folder for all of your classes. An ‘everything’ folder is nice for those times you’re in a rush – like the end of class and the professor waited until the last 2 minutes to hand out a packet. You don’t have time to dig through your backpack to find the right folder because you have another class to get to across campus. The ‘everything’ folder is great for storing random papers, packets and whatever you don’t want wrinkled until it’s relocated to the right place later.

Colored Pens & Highlighters – Taking great notes and color-coding go hand in hand. It also looks much prettier than boring penciled notes. Aesthetic is everything 😉

Photo credit: @jackieplans
  • Pencil Case/Bag – It’s important to have something to keep those pretty colored pens, highlighters, and pencils in so they don’t break under the weight of all our expensive textbooks you had to buy and likely can’t sell back.
  • Scientific Calculator – This may only be necessary if you’re taking science or math classes, but you never know!
  • Laptop, Phone & Chargers – We rely on technology for so much of our day – note taking, staying in contact with classmates and professors (you don’t want to find out a lesson cancelled once you arrive), navigating between university buildings, homework help etc. Pack your chargers so these devices don’t die on you when you need them most.

Headphones & Earbuds – Believe it or not, not everyone wants to listen to that one song you’ve been playing on repeat for 3 days straight.

  • Flash Drive – Yes, Google Drive exists, but having a physical backup can give you some peace of mind – especially if you’ve spent all night writing the essay you procrastinated on.
  • Tylenol Or Advil – Studying will give you headaches. Best be prepared.
  • Mints Or Gum – Stay minty fresh so your group project peers don’t suffer any more than they have to.
  • Hygiene Products – Travel deodorant, pack of tissues, band-aids, hand lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and floss are all essential if you’re spending a majority of your day on campus.
  • Snacks – Granola bars, protein bars, nuts, crackers, trail mix, pre-popped popcorn, and dried fruit make excellent travel snacks. Just don’t crush them in your backpack.
  • Reusable Water Bottle – Save the sea turtles and skip bringing a plastic disposable bottle every day.
  • University/College ID
  • Apartment Key
  • Wallet

For The Ladies:

Tampons Or Pads – Even if it’s not that time, you can always help out a girl friend in need if you keep extra.

Hair Ties – These are essential for science classes.

Extra Makeup & Makeup Remover – Nobody has to know you were crying in the bathroom before that organic chemistry exam!

Not Essential But Fun Additions:

Stress Ball

Adult Coloring Book & Colors

Fidget Spinner/Cube/Ring

Key Chains, Buttons & Sew On Patches