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Bag with items
Bag with items
Original photo by Hannah Lee

What’s In My Bag: UCLA Psych Major Edition

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

About two weeks ago, while watching “What’s In My Bag” videos on YouTube, I looked over at my best friend’s backpack on the floor. There was nothing in there but a calculator, a notebook and her iPad. This got me thinking: what does a typical UCLA girl carry around? I’ve learned that psychology majors are stereotyped as women with either heavy matcha or coffee addictions, like STEM but not that much, understand the athleisure hierarchy (Lululemon has not aged well) and love all things basic. At first, I was offended that people were looking down on my major, but honestly, I am all of the above. Here’s a peek into what I’m lugging around every day as your typical psychology major (besides the obvious computer and iPad).

The Bag of Choice: Longchamp Le Pliage Original Tote (Large)

Are you even a psych major if you don’t have a Longchamp? Before you call me a sheep for my bag of choice, I’d like it to be known that I started carrying this bag a year ago because I found my mom’s old leather Longchamp bag in the closet, and I had to get my own. The biggest perks to this canvas bag are that it’s washable, super light and comes in so many colors. The biggest con is that it only has two inner pockets so organizing gets difficult. It’s okay because apparently psych majors don’t do anything so our bags can be empty. Another perk/con(?) is that you’ll be rocking the same bag as your middle-aged professor. 

The Beauty Products
beauty products
Original photo by Hannah Lee

Dior Addict Hydrating Shine Lipstick: I absolutely participate in the Lipstick Effect. Basically, recession and stressors = women frequently buy less-expensive luxury goods (lipstick) for a quick emotional boost. I know everybody loves the Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil but this is the true holy grail. It goes on like lip balm, has no tackiness and leaves your lips soft and supple. If you like a subtle cinnamon brown color, shade 718 “Bandana” is the perfect color. The only con is that it has absolutely no staying power. 

Le Labo Thé Matcha 26: The olfactory bulb is connected to the hippocampus, which manages learning and memories. This is probably why I’m so obsessed with scents; I have perfumes for different events, moods and phases in my life. My current obsession is Le Labo’s The Matcha 26. It’s the perfect effortless citrus woody perfume.

Sabon Hand Cream: They say psychology students choose their majors because they’re all dealing with some serious issues. While I didn’t choose psychology for this specific reason, I do start anxiously picking at my cuticles in lectures as I realize maybe I chose the wrong major. I keep a hand cream in my bag at all times in hopes of restoring my dry hands. 

Snacks and Drinks
Original photo by Hannah Lee

Hydro Flask: I’ve tried so many brands but my Hydro Flask will always have a spot in my bag. It’s bulky, ugly, heavy and dents so easily, but there’s something about it that makes me always come back to it. Mine is from high school, and it still keeps my water ice cold. It’s perfect for keeping me hydrated through my back-to-back lectures. 

Extra Gum: I learned that familiarity essentially translates to preference in my development psychology class. Using this logic, I always sit in the same spot in lecture halls and offer a stick of gum to people nearby hoping they’ll subconsciously like me more. If I offer you gum, I’m basically begging you to be my (boy)friend. If this works out, I might be busy next Valentine’s Day. 

Drink packets and high-protein snacks: With a minimal intrinsic motivation to study, I have to rely on extrinsic motivators. These matcha and instant coffee packets are perfect to throw in your bag. Just mix them with water when you need a caffeine boost! For snacks, I like to have both sweet and satiating combinations: trail mix and BareBells protein bars are great choices.

The Tech Products
Original photo by Hannah Lee

Discover Credit Card: In full transparency, I only use my credit card to buy coffee and snacks. I love using Apple Pay and hearing that satisfying “beep!” I’m convinced this will be enough to “build my credit” (whatever that means). A huge perk is that the Discover student credit cards have no annual fee and there’s no credit score required to apply.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones: While they’re definitely bulky and leave a considerable dent on the top of your hairstyle, these Sony headphones are so great at minimizing background noise. Although I won’t be going into clinical psychology, I like to practice not eavesdropping on people’s conversations while studying (for the sake of HIPAA and everything).

Portable chargers: Since I love to stack my classes and stay on campus for hours, having multiple charging cables is a must. Between the online shopping tabs, TikTok, texting and taking notes on the newest updates on the DSM-5, my devices are dead within hours. 

The Miscellaneous Cluster
pack of gum and napkins
Original photo by Hannah Lee

Advil and Allergy Pills: Although the Samueli Engineering students aren’t going to like this one, yes other majors do get headaches from their workload too! But being realistic here, I have saved myself (and many others) from carrying a small bottle of Advil and allergy pills. Now you don’t have to be worried about caffeine withdrawal headaches, pollen in the air or random muscle aches. 

Dining Hall Napkins: The next time you’re at the dining halls, grab some extra napkins for your tote bag. Recently, I’ve been using them to blot my greasy face after enduring Bruin Walk or to absorb my fat tears (winter quarter is never it, is it?). 

Cash: Self-explanatory; always have some cash on you. You never know when a business is cash-only. Whether they’re committing tax fraud is none of my business as long as I get what I paid for. 

While writing this, I’ve realized that I don’t carry a single sheet of paper or pencil which is slightly concerning. I could’ve pretended and added a notebook just for show, but that would compromise my journalistic integrity. I think what someone carries in their bag speaks volumes and is a vulnerable look into their life. Take a look at your bag and you might learn more about yourself (and throw away the crumpled receipts while you’re at it)! 

Hannah is a third-year student at UCLA, majoring in Psychology. In her free time, she loves going to the beach, grabbing coffee, and painting her nails.