5 Unexpected Items You Should Keep In Your Backpack

By this point in your education, I’m sure you’ve learned what items are important to bring to class: pencils, paper, notebooks, folders, textbooks…etc.

However, now that you’re in college there are some other important items you should keep in your backpack.

While these items are not traditional school supplies, I guarantee at some point in your college career you will find yourself in desperate need of one of these items. In order for you to be completely prepared, I compiled a list of unusual items that I keep in my backpack that always come in handy.

1. Umbrella

Most stores sell miniature or travel size umbrellas that will become extremely important for you as a college student who will have to walk to class. I always like to keep a miniature umbrella in the side pouch of my backpack just in case it rains.

Occasionally, I have left my umbrella in my dorm room because the weatherman didn’t predict rain. However, random downpours could happen at any time (or at least this is the case in Ohio). It’s better to be safe than sorry and just stash your tiny umbrella in a small compartment of your backpack. This will guarantee that you stay dry on your walk to your next class or dorm room.

2. Snacks

Snacks are mainly important for college students who either have classes back to back or classes around meal times. This semester, I have class from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and I often don’t feel hungry enough for lunch before I head to my first class. So, I usually keep a granola bar or other small snack bag (Cheez-Its, pretzels, almonds) in my backpack in case I get hungry during my second class.

Unlike high school, (most) college professors are not offended by students eating snacks during their classes. I’ve found the professors in classes at noon or 6:00 in the evening are the most understanding because those are the prime lunch and dinner hours. Having a small snack (if you’re allowed to have it in the class) is an easy way to tide you over until you’re able to eat your lunch or dinner.

3. Gum

Whether you’re coming from a dining hall or just finished one of your snacks, you’ll probably want something to freshen your breath (who knows if you’ll see your crush in your next class)! I always have a pack of gum in my backpack.

In addition to using gum for after you eat, there are just some instances where you want to chew on a piece of gum during class. It makes your breath fresher, it tastes good, and peppermint gum has also been shown to increase your brain stimulation—all of these factors promise a better experience for you during your class!

4. Planner

I know a lot of students who don’t use planners, but I know even more that do. I always bring my planner with me to class first and foremost to write down the homework assigned for the next class period. Some people can just remember what the professor said, but I always find it helpful to write important assignments down during class so I don’t forget.

Also, having a daily planner allows you organize your school and social activities. By placing all of your events in this calendar, you can see if your assignments or projects conflict with anything else scheduled in your week or month.

5. Purell

I would say this is the MOST important item to keep in your backpack. Regardless of your high school or college size, you are now going to school with thousands of people from all over the world. You know what this means? There are germs everywhere.

I used to occasionally use Purell when I touched bathroom stalls or doors to the academic buildings…now I use it whenever I’ve touched something that everyone else touches on campus.

Last year, I got strep throat from (according to my best prediction) touching a classroom door handle that had been touched by a student who was still contagious. Since then, I use Purell all day. I promise hand sanitizer is a crucial way of staying healthy in college!

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Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk is a junior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in communication with a concentration in electronic media as well as a minor in English. While not in class, Stephanie is involved in a service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and a honors professional fraternity, Phi Beta Chi. Outside of academic and community activities, she enjoys dancing hip hop, reading, spending time with friends, and doing yoga.