What’s in my Book Bag: My College Essentials (2018)

It’s hard to believe that I’m starting my second semester of my junior year of college here in Chapel Hill. It honestly feels like yesterday that I was a junior in high school so looking back over the last three years of college is kind of mind-blowing to me. How have I been here this long already? And how did it take me this long to finally get my book bag essentials perfected?


That’s the thing about college: you only have about four years of an undergraduate degree, and it takes you roughly three to four years to figure out what in the hell you’re even doing. Since graduation is looming closer and closer for me (I graduate next year), I feel like I’ve f-i-n-a-l-l-y been able to master the book bag game as an undergrad.

So, without further ado, here’s my book bag essentials.


1. The Book Bag

IMG_7240 2

For the last year or so I’ve been fawning over the Fjallraven Kanken Backpack, but I personally haven’t been able to rationalize dropping the $80 on a small book bag that doesn’t really have any amazing features. Fortunately, though, I found an almost identical bag on Amazon that works wonderfully, is arguably better than the Kanken, and is highly do-able in terms of cost.

My Himawari Backpack is multi-functional and has a waterproof exterior. It includes four different water bottle slots, a laptop pocket, and organizational pockets and sleeves on the interior. It’s still small and stylish, though, so it doesn’t have the bulkiness that I was trying to avoid.

2. Electronics


Since getting an iPad Pro, I’ve pretty much gone 100% electronic for all of my notes, readings, and schedules. This is amazing because it means I get to carry less in my book bag! For the first time in years, my bag isn’t crazy heavy.

As for the electronics included in my bag, I keep my 12.9″ iPad Pro, its case and Apple Pencil, my Apple earbuds, and my SD card converter for my iPad so I can upload photos from my camera directly to my tablet.

3. Literally ONE Notebook


For the one class I have this semester that requires we use paper to take notes, I bought a notebook, but this is still handy so I have some form of paper in class in case of a pop quiz or in-class essay (I have these a lot, being a Spanish major). I personally love Decomposition Notebooks not only because they’re cute and eco-friendly, but because their paper quality is superior to any other notebook on the market (in my humble, humble opinion). Naturally, mine has cats on it! Here’s a similar design, of which I actually own and use to write my knitting patterns down in. If you want to see how I like to take my notes (and my personal favorite strategies), click here.

4. Pen(s)

For every one notebook I have, I must have approximately five pens to go with it (you can never have enough pens). On a more real note, I really only need one pen and one highlighter. This is my favorite pen to take notes with right now and these are my favorite brand of highlighters at the moment.

5. School Books

Fortunately, my textbooks this semester are very limited, and I don’t have to take the heavy ones to class. I do, however, always carry my Spanish textbook with me for days I have class or for the off-days when I need to do homework, and I also have whatever my French Literature class is reading. We’ve just finished up Rue des Boutiques Obscures which won the 2014 Noble Prize in Literature.

6. Water Bottle


Are you really a college student if you don’t carry around a water bottle with you? Honestly, though, water is pretty essential for me during the day. It keeps me awake in some classes by giving me something to do, it keeps me hydrated (duh), it pairs well with a nice lunch, and by carrying around water bottle, I am able to easily fill it up at a water fountain free of charge (versus buying a disposable water bottle on campus). I pretty much rely on my 32 ounce Nalgene to reach my daily water goal.

7. Makeup

I really only carry two makeup products with me throughout the day: my powder foundation to touch up any shine and my LipSense Glossy Gloss to hydrate my lips throughout the day and protect my beautiful lip color. I store these two things in a small pocket on the inside of my book bag.

8. Etc.


There is also a variety of other things I carry with me at certain times as well. One of those things is always hand sanitizer (not pictured). College campuses are about equal in level of germs as preschools, so it’s essential to always be cleaning or sanitizing your hands. I probably use my hand sanitizer two or three times a day: before I eat, after I mess with people/books at work, and when I just feel gross.

Lotion is included in my bag as well because my hands dry out pretty quickly in the winter, and I also like to keep my doTERRA On Guard Beadlets (not pictured) with me to keep my immune system strong af.

I also carry my favorite sunglasses with me (these cuties are from Robin Blu, a local boutique back home, and have been featured in my summer edition of “What’s in my Purse”) and an umbrella, depending on the weather.

I also always carry my knitting because, well, duh.

As for my wallet/keys/business cards/etc., I carry my small Dooney & Bourke crossbody with me at all times. It’s so small that I hardly even notice that it’s there!

Even though this was a relatively longer post, my book bag now has less stuff in it than ever before — and I looove it! It’s all super functional, but not back breaking, which is a relief. What are your book bag essentials? Let me know in the comments!

Until next week,


Photo Courtesy of: Pexels

Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a small portion of sales if purchases are made from these links.


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