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Full Day On Campus: Must Haves In My Bag

Hate on public transit all you want, but I love taking the bus to campus (it’s free and convenient!). I commute to campus, so the bus is a pivotal part of a routine getting to and from campus. But that also means I have to make sure that I’ve packed up all my essentials before I leave. If you’ve ever realized you left your laptop charger at home and your computer is at 5% or you haven’t had a sip of water all day because your beloved Hydro is still sitting on your counter… yeah, trying to avoid that. Here, I will share with you what’s in my bag when I’m running around all day.

Bag

Having the right bag is the very first essential! I got this large canvas tote as a gift from my mom when I graduated from undergrad, and it’s been the most trusty companion since. It’s super useful to have smaller pockets for things like my office keys and my headphones that I need to keep accessible. The thick, double-stitched straps make sure my belongings are safe and secure. Alternatively, a sturdy messenger bag or a classic backpack goes a long way.

Face mask

Once I’ve parked at the bus station, I double check to make sure I have everything with me before getting out of my car. I take my face mask out of the bag I use to keep it clean and safe between its spot in my closet and its spot on my face when I get where I’m going. There are so many cute options, like these from Etsy, or maybe you are interested in a more accessible option, like these chains a la glasses chains you saw on your elementary school librarian. And yes I absolutely keep an extra in my bag just in case I forget to pack a new one that day.

Umbrella

I never know if the weather will change, so I make sure to bring my small umbrella along just in case I need it! Anyone who has studied at Boulder knows that we may get some rain in the afternoon, and it always seems random no matter what your weather app said this morning. 300 days of sunshine, but you have to be prepared for the other 65.

Headphones

While I’m sitting on the bus, I will either play some music and look out the window (have to be the main character, even on my way to school), or I will take advantage of the noise-canceling feature to get some quiet, so I can read something either for my classes, my thesis, or just for fun. Then, when I walk from the bus stop into whichever building I need to visit that day, I will be able to maintain a quiet work environment no matter what. Either that or I can strut around with an awesome playlist meant to boost my confidence.

Charger

Like most college students, I work entirely from my laptop throughout the day. My pre-recorded lectures, Zoom meetings, journal articles, and homework assignments can all be found online. With all of this tech-based work, I need to make sure that my laptop has enough battery to get me through the day. That’s why I always pack my chargers (phone and laptop), just in case we need a boost halfway through my busy day.

Water bottle

It’s so important for your health that you stay hydrated throughout the day, which is why I make sure to bring a water bottle with me in my bag. I can fill it up at the bottle refill stations on campus and rest assured that I’m staying on top of my daily water intake.

Snacks

Speaking of health, bringing snacks for the time between meals while I am working has become very important. I like to bring small cups of applesauce, packages of fruit snacks, granola bars, apples, or those small bags of chips. This is a quick way to give my brain a boost while I am working and keep myself focused.

However you get to and from campus, you’ll need to keep your bag full of goodies to help you get your work done. Hopefully this list has provided you with some tips for packing your own essentials!

Sarah Adams

CU Boulder '26

Linguist and cat person, most likely watching a hockey game, but I ought to be working on my dissertation.