Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

What’s in My Backpack: Commuter Edition

By Sarah Chew


The 2017 school year has begun, and like with any battle, you must go into it fully prepared. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a commuter. As a commuter, you’ll have to survive longer days due to transportation and you definitely don’t want to leave home missing something vital in your bag. Here’s a little checklist of things you can go over to prevent that situation from happening.


1) Laptop


It’s pretty much common sense to not leave your laptop at home — how else can you scroll through social media feeds in class under the pretense of taking notes? Pro tip: Keep your precious electronic baby in a secure, padded case to protect against rainfall and (God forbid) accidental drops.


2) Books and pencil case


If you can’t go running to your nearby dorm if you forget a textbook, this applies to you. Don’t forget any textbooks that you’ll need for class by packing your backpack with them the night before. It’s easy to forget items in the midst of the morning rush to catch your train, so prepare at night. Pack a pencil case too, for those particular profs who don’t allow electronics in class in 2017…


3) Weekly planner


Let’s not begin the year disorganized — get yourself a weekly planner, a.k.a. an agenda, and write down all the assignments, tests, appointments, etc. in your life to keep track of what you need to get done. Procrastination? You’ve never heard of her. (Side note: Check out Indigo or Winners for the cutest selection of agendas.)


4) Headphones


Forgetting this item can change the tone of your entire day. Sitting in a bus, train or subway car without music is pure torture. Plan ahead and keep a pair in a small bag (be it Ziploc or Kate Spade) and tuck them into a pocket in your backpack to ensure you never lose them.


5) Makeup essentials


If you wear makeup, you already know to bring some blotting sheets, face powder, and a lipstick (at the very least) to school. These products will save your life (or rather, your face) in the case of sweat, smudgy eyeliner, or just to maintain the stunning look you spent an hour on in the morning. Keep these essentials in a small makeup bag to limit mess and shorten search time.


6) Wet wipes and hand lotion


The city is a dirty place. To prevent against the spread of sickness and overall icky feeling after clinging onto the poles in the subway, use wet wipes! As they say, wet wipes are a girl’s best friend. They come in handy if you’re too lazy to walk to the washroom before eating in class, and also if you need to wipe off a stain on your clothes. Following a wet wipe, your hands are often dry, so hand lotion can be a handy item (pardon the pun) to keep in your bag. A few recommendations: travel-sized Aveeno, for those with fragrance allergies; the classic L’Occitane hand creams that come in a million different scents; and lastly, raw shea butter (a little goes a long way) for those with seriously dry hands.


7) Tissues, band-aids, hair ties


Oh my! These three everyday items are must-haves in your backpack. If you have a sudden runny nose or nosebleed, or if you just need something to wrap your mushed up banana in, tissues come to your rescue. Band-aids simply offer comfort and protection from blisters and cuts. You know, for when you wear those cute new booties that look amazing but feel like knives AND sandpaper against your poor feet. Finally, who DOESN’T need hair ties? Albeit useful and convenient, those tiny bands seem to disappear almost instantaneously once you untie your hair — hence the reason you need to pack several. Try sealing them in a small ziploc to reduce your chances of losing them too easily.


8) Water bottle


This point doesn’t really need to be explained. If you want to stay alive throughout your busy university schedule, you’re going to need water, and lots of it. Throw a reusable water bottle in your bag to remind yourself to constantly rehydrate.


9) Combination Lock


The lock comes in handy if you’re a gym rat or just a commuter with a long day — lockers were made for commuters. Store your textbooks, extra clothes, food, etc. in your locker and then come back for them when you need to — it’s essentially the equivalent of a dorm room for you. The size is the same, anyway. ;)


10) Emergency pads and panty liners



Let’s not talk about the dreaded nightmare of realizing you got your period… during CLASS. Bring extra pads, tampons, a Diva cup, ANYTHING to ensure you don’t have to pull the old “sweater tied around the waist” trick to hide an unsightly stain.


Honourable mention: Umbrella


This isn’t in the top ten because it’s not something you need to bring with you everyday, but it is worth mentioning for those days with cloudy skies. Keep a small one tucked into a backpack pocket and you’ll be smiling when your outfit doesn’t get ruined by rain.


I hope this list helps you pack your backpack with confidence. You may face a lot of challenges throughout the school year, but don’t let forgetting important items at home be one of them. With all that said, welcome back to school and have a happy September, Rams!


Rep photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Hi! This is the contributor account for Her Campus at Ryerson.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️