College Backpack Essentials

Author: Savannah Carr

Backpack 2

Walking around campus, do you ever wonder what people typically carry around in their backpacks? Of course there is your laptop, notebooks, pencils, pens, chargers, and maybe even an ipad–but there are many other essentials that could better equip you for your daily life at Notre Dame:

Disinfectant Wipes 

I love to carry around some sort of Clorox/Lysol wipes in my backpack. I use them all the time to clean off surfaces I’m using throughout the day, like desks, keyboards, and even door handles. You never know what you’ll run into during the school day, so I always like to have wipes on me to clean up anything and everything!

Hand Sanitizer

Going along with the disinfectant wipes, I also believe that hand sanitizer is crucial to carry around. We interact with so many surfaces and people throughout the day (sometimes I can just feel the dirt and bacteria that has accumulated on my hands), so I’m always at ease when I know that I can lather up on Purell and get rid of 99.99% of those germs :) 


I’m a sucker for food and always end up getting hungry at the wrong times, like during class. I would recommend carrying around some sort of snack–like granola bars, candy, fruit, and even gum–to quench those random cravings you may have. Having a snack on hand can also save a friend in need when they get randomly hungry. Then they’ll be indebted to you and give you a snack next time–it's an awesome mutually beneficial system.


Having lip balm on you can save your lips from getting chapped, especially during these cold winter months. You can even choose to reapply lip gloss during the day, just do whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident! Also, try to avoid licking your lips when they feel dry–it will actually cause your lips to become even drier and can lead to a chronic condition.

Spare Money

Having some cash on you can also save you in certain situations. While it is rare these days, sometimes you’ll randomly need cash (like using older vending machines or stumbling upon a bake sale), so it's always good to have. Even if you can only spare some change in your bag, even that can add up and be useful!

Face Mask

Since COVID, I always keep a spare mask in my bag. Some places highly recommend wearing them, doctors offices for example, so whenever I see that sign I always put mine on for the safety of everyone around me. Personally, I’ve also found myself reaching for my mask if I’m in a high traffic area or on public transportation, so you may never know when you’ll want to wear one!

Water Bottle

This is your daily reminder to drink water! Sometimes it's easy to forget as you go throughout your day and float from one classroom to another, but it is so important to stay hydrated. There are so many cute water bottles to choose from, so it's a great way to express yourself and let your personality shine. Please remember to drink plenty of water :) 

What you keep in your backpack is ultimately your decision, and I always tend to over pack, but I would rather be over-prepared and have everything that I need rather than not have it and get stuck in a rut! Please take what resonates, and I hope you are all better prepared while walking around campus! As a bonus, enjoy this photo of me and my iconic purple backpack from sophomore year :)