The Ultimate Back to School Survival Kit

It's that time of year again! As a university student, you quickly learn to expect the unexpected, which is why you should head back to school with a survival kit. While it's unlikely that you'll need anything like a life raft or flares, here are some things that you should always have on you in case of an emergency.  

The Essentials


Whether it’s because you chugged a coffee before your lecture to stay awake, had a sandwich loaded with onions, or just have a gross feeling in your mouth, mints will come to the rescue. Plus, it never hurts to have fresh breath! Your friends and classmates will appreciate you so much more.


Bandages are one of those things where you think you won’t need them, until your feet bleed from your new shoes, or you get a paper cut from all the readings you have to finish. You won’t need an entire first aid kit’s worth, but having a couple in your bag is always a good idea.


You might find yourself with a runny nose in the middle of a silent class, and to save yourself from having to be the person who sniffles constantly, always have tissues with you.

Pads or Tampons

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but just in case you need any more convincing, think back to a time you’ve been in need, and someone saved you with their backup pads or tampons. You could be someone’s hero!


Oil-Absorbing Sheets

I recently discovered the magic of oil-absorbing sheets, and let me tell you, I’m so glad that I did. You can suck up all the excess oil from your face in seconds, and it’s so satisfying to blot away all that midday shine like pizza grease on a napkin. Gross, I know, but trust me.

Hair ties

Sometimes, labs will require having your hair back, you might hit the gym after class, it could be really hot, or you might be having a bad hair day. In general, if you’ve got long hair, you should always have hair ties on you.

Lip Balm

Chapped lips are always annoying, and sometimes painful. Toronto winters are pretty unforgiving, and if you get a tinted lip balm, it can add a subtle pop of colour that’ll brighten up your smile.


Mascara is great, because a little goes a long way. Not only does it make your lashes longer and darker, but it opens your eyes up, and can make you look less tired. It’s easier to apply than eyeliner and takes way less time. If you wear makeup regularly, it’s good to keep a tube for touch-ups. Don’t worry about the ‘mascara face’ we all make when we put it on!



Make your dentist proud! Carry floss with you, so that you won’t have to worry after having a salad from Ned’s Cafe.


It’s good to keep ibuprofen on you in case of cramps, but it can also come in handy for headaches and muscle pain! No one wants to sit through a lecture with painful cramps or migraines, no one really want to sit through class in the first place, so it's better to make it all easier on yourself by not suffering through your lecture, quite literally. 

Emery board

Having one of these babies on you will save your life. There is no worse feeling than breaking a nail, and having to wait until you get home to fix it.

Five Bucks

You might have forgotten your lunch, or you could need a quick pick-me-up from Starbucks, or maybe you have to print an essay out at the library – it’s always good to keep an emergency five-dollar bill stashed somewhere in your bag. Pro tip: keep it in a pocket outside of your wallet, so that you aren’t tempted to spend it unless it’s absolutely necessary.

The Kit

Just stick everything into a makeup or toiletries bag, and you're good to go!