What’s In My Bag : Adult College Student Edition

Like everything else in my life, I aim for minimalism. Only for the sake of giving my ADHD brain a fighting chance at staying relatively organized. Through the trial and error of high school and community college, I’ve slowly parred down what I think I need (usually blatantly ignoring most online checklists that are really over the top) to what I consider absolutely essential to function during the day.

The Bag:

For now, I’m using a black Samsonite messenger/laptop bag to carry books, notebooks, and other college-related items. Eventually, I plan to get myself a 15” or 16” laptop. Likely by the end of the year. I plan to uplevel this bag situation with a deep chocolate brown or espresso leather or faux leather laptop-friendly messenger bag before the end of the fall semester.

The Notebooks:

I decided to go with a 1” binder and filler paper. Why? Because I don’t want to have to keep track of multiple notebooks for different classes. I want to make my life a little easier, and keep all my notes in one spot. Why am I not using a laptop? Because it’s common knowledge and has been proven by science that WRITING your notes makes you 30% more likely to actually remember what you are learning.

The Books:

I’m doing what every smart college student does; wait until the first day of class or the email right from the professors stating whether or not you ACTUALLY need the book that is “required” according to the course schedule/description. It may say so when you register, but half the time, the professor never bothers to use the book at all during the semester. Worth waiting to confirm, rather to go through the unnecessary hassle of acquiring them and spending money that could have been used elsewhere!

Thankfully, this semester only 1 class requires a textbook and it’s easily available in different formats, both for purchase and to rent from places like Chegg or Barnes & Nobles.

Pens, Pencils, Markers: (all in a zipper pouch)

Sharpie gel pens

Sharpie S Note Creative markers (better for highlighting, bullet journals/planners, and notes than typical obnoxious neon highlighters that bleed through everything!)

Micron pens (little to no bleed-through in notebooks, textbooks, or planners)

Mechanical pencils (again, no bleed-through and erasable)

White-Out (rather obvious)

Mini Stapler

Miscellaneous: (all in another zippered pouch)

Tissue pack

Hand sanitizer

Lip balm & hand cream (because New England winter does terrible things to my skin)

Lip tint or stain (winter months make me look like pale death warmed up in a microwave)

Rollerball perfume

Travel-sized deodorant

Cinnamon, Ginger or Elderberry candies (rarely in the mood for Mint)

Of course, this doesn’t include meals, snacks, and my reusable water bottle. Breakfast I do my best to eat before I leave the house in the morning or at least make something portable in a jar I can bring with me and wash out later. Lunch and snacks are also portable in either a jar or bento-style box. I do my best to not skip meals as someone who is doing full-time classes, working part-time, growing two blogs, and getting back into dance and equestrian practice. Proper fuel is necessary to get the most out of everything and function optimally!

I digress.

This was a shorter list than I’m sure most would expect; however, it is informed by the fact I’m a non-traditional, commuter student. Years of community college have taught me a valuable lesson: less really is better. Especially, when I’m the one carrying it around campus all day!

What do you carry around with you on campus?

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