Monday, 14 November 2016

What Every University Student Needs in Their Backpack

I like to be prepared for everything at all times. So when I leave for school in the morning, that means having everything I could possibly need in my backpack. Throughout my four years of university, I have slowly figured out what comes in handy and what is best to leave at home. Like, maybe you don’t carry around a binder for every single class you’re taking (unless you enjoy breaking your back with a fifty pound sack.


I guess you have to have at least one studious object in your backpack. I love these mini notebooks from the Bookstore. They’re tiny and lightweight, but perfect for taking notes in and not weighing down your bag! The university actually stopped carrying them last year but brought them back this fall due to popular demand (AKA I sent in numerous complaints - I take my choice of notebooks very seriously).

Emergency Granola Bar

I have an irrational fear of being on campus and somehow dying of starvation regardless of the abundance of restaurants (shameless self-promotion of my Cheap Eats on Campus post). But granola bars are the perfect food item to store in your backpack. They don’t get squished and they never spoil! And they save me from getting hangry, which is a very real thing for every university student.

Favourite Pens

The most important thing that I have learned while at university is that the type of pen you use makes all the difference. There’s just something special about writing with your favourite pen. And I fully support the idea that some pens are just luckier than others. That’s the only way to explain how I got 96% on my Accounting midterm. My favourites include the super fine tipped ones from Korea (we’re talking finer than 0.3 mm here) and a few stolen (or borrowed) ones from the Fairmont. P.S. if anyone works at the Fairmont and would like to donate some pens to a worthy cause, hit me up. They just write so smoothly!

Stapler and White-Out

I’m the only one out of my friends who carries around a stapler, but boy does it come in handy! Profs are always handing out notes that aren’t stapled or I have a last minute paper to hand in that needs to be held together! Plus, this stapler has green staples so obviously I get extra points for style. White-out is another necessity. I don’t believe in writing in pencil, so during Accounting exams, I usually go through A LOT of white-out, oops.


What university student doesn’t need headphones? I often have a full on panic attack if I realize I left my headphones at home (I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve often bought headphones at the University Bookstore just to get me through those days). I can’t ride the LRT without being connected to music at all times. It saves me from having to make awkward conversation with people I really don’t feel like talking to. Plus, it’s always nice to listen to music while studying as well.


Highlighters are the key to studying. Or you could say highlighters are the highlight of studying (please ignore all my poorly attempted jokes in this post). I love using highlighters to colour code my study notes and separate the sea of blue ink to make it easier on my eyes!

Cold Meds

Everything might be going fine and dandy and then you feel a tickle lingering at the back of your throat and your nose starts running. That is my worst nightmare. I don’t take any risks. I load up on tons of Tylenol and hope for the best. Sore throat lozenges are always a life saver for when you have to present projects as well. But hint: sleep is always the best cure.


I think my worst fear might be my phone dying on campus. So, I make sure to never leave home without a multitude of chargers. In addition to just my regular phone charger, I also have a portable solar-powered charger and my universal charging cables to share with any friends. I’m so prepared. And did you know the university now has solar powered outlets outside the Admin building? You have no excuse for your phone dying now!

Ear Plugs

Does it make me the biggest nerd if I tell you that I have a stash of hundreds of ear plugs in my room? I rely on ear plugs heavily. If you get distracted easily like me, these will become your new best friend. Not only are they the best things so stick in your ears while writing a midterm, they also help profusely while studying. They block out every single distraction including that annoying kid in the corner sniffling, refusing to blow his nose.

Lip Balm

I keep a minimum of five lip balms in my backpack at all times. I wish I was lying. If there’s one thing that can distract me from studying, it’s dry lips. So I make sure to have lip balm with me wherever I go. I even make sure to have a lip balm with me during a midterm.


You would think that as a university student, I wouldn’t be getting hurt all the time and hence needing countless Band-Aids. But unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Somehow I need Band-Aids A LOT so I tend to just carry around a box in my backpack. For example, I stapled my thumb while studying for midterms last year (I still have no idea how). I was very grateful to have Band-Aids handy.

So, stop what you’re doing, grab your backpack and immediately fill it up with these ten essentials. I promise you won’t regret it. You’ll thank me, I’m sure of it. And if there’s something you carry around in your backpack that you absolutely can’t live without (that’s clearly an idiom, unless we’re talking about your Epi Pen here), let me know in the comments down below!

Taylor - YouAlberta Contributor

Taylor is in her fourth year, trying out her third faculty. After getting a taste of Sciences and Education, she decided Business was truly the faculty for her. When she is not studying for that elusive 4.0 GPA, you can find her glued to her computer, writing a new post on her personal style & beauty blog, And if she gets bored of that, you can most definitely bet she’s busy taking countless Snapchats of her Goldendoodle, Oakley. 


  1. Hi there Taylor! Do you know where I can find those super fine tipped pens from Korea?

  2. DYK that UA Libraries also have cell phone lockers where you can charge your phone in a locker? At Winspear Business Library we also have headphones to lend out as well as laptops, a SAD lamp, USBs, activity kits, calculators, etc. Oh, and bandaids in case you need one:)


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