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What to Carry in Your College Backpack

We’ve all seen it before — the unmistakable freshman with a backpack so big that it could burst at any second. They look pretty silly, but it’s easy to understand what they were thinking. How do you survive without a locker? What do you really need for class? What if something unexpected happens and I’m not prepared? I’m here to tell you everything you really need to carry in your backpack. 



The rain in New Orleans is no joke! A perfectly sunny day can be spontaneously ruined by a random downpour. Storms usually pass in under an hour, but they are intense. Ideally, you would catch the rain starting before you leave for class so that you can put on your raincoat and boots. Just in case you’re not that lucky, an umbrella will keep you (mainly) dry. Don’t forget to carry your backpack on your chest if it’s not waterproof!


Water bottle

As a busy college student, you probably have a lot of things to remember, from meeting times to classroom numbers. Don’t let hydration slip your memory by carrying a reusable water bottle in your backpack as a reminder. You’ll save money by skipping the overpriced water bottle at the coffee shop and you’ll create less waste by filling up at a water fountain. 



This is a habit that I’m still working on myself, but it’s such a lifesaver. Nothing is worse than your laptop running out of battery in the middle of a productive study session in the library across campus from your dorm. To avoid this less-than-ideal situation, keep a short cord and charging block in your backpack.


Hand sanitizer and travel tissues

You’d be shocked by the speed that germs travel in college. I already have a cold less than a week after returning to school! Do your best to avoid the freshman plague by using hand sanitizer before eating, and make sure to share with your friends who you’ll inevitably share food and drinks with at some point. If you do fall victim to an illness, your classmates will silently thank you when you use a tissue instead of sniffling your way through a one-hour lecture.


Before a long day of classes, work, and extracurriculars, I never leave my dorm without these items in my backpack. Bonus tip: invest in a second set of these items to keep in your backpack 24/7 so that you don’t have to go through a mental checklist every day. Stay tuned for more college life hacks, and best of luck in your first weeks of classes!

Hi! My name is Rachel Topolski, and I'm a junior at Tulane from Illinois. I'm majoring in management and minoring in social entrepreneurship. I'm so excited to spend my year writing for Her Campus.
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