Backpack essentials

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]egardless of your academic year, it can always feel like you are at war with the university during the semester. For first-year students adjusting to new academic and social environments, these challenges can appear even more daunting.

There are a number of tools available to help you weather the challenges: your backpack is one of the most important ones.

Do not make the mistake of overloading your backpack with unnecessary items; this undermines productivity and needlessly increases the weight on your shoulders. Instead, take note of the items you absolutely need to carry to school each day:

1. Reusable water bottle

Benefit: The university does not sell bottled water on campus, so it is more likely that you will buy coffee, juice, carbonated drinks, and energy drinks to quench your thirst. All of these items are high on calorie content while some, such as coffee, are diuretics that dehydrate you.

Tip: Make use of the water fountains around campus and always keep your bottle filled.

2. $40 cash in your wallet

Benefit: You never know when you’ll run into a business that doesn’t accept debit or credit. Keeping cash handy also helps cover emergency transportation or phone calls.

Tip: In the unfortunate event of losing your wallet, the loss of a smaller sum hurts less.

3. Winter accessories

Benefit: Mittens, scarves, earmuffs, and gloves are absolutely essential if you’re attending university anywhere in Canada. Nobody can write exams with frost-bitten fingers.

Tip: Designate a certain part of your backpack for their storage. This helps maintain order and keeps you from losing these items.

4. Fruit/healthy snacks

Benefit: Simultaneously tasty and power-packed, carrying fruit to school will mitigate the temptations of the mighty food trucks along St. George Street. Fruit can be packed into small, leak-proof boxes and you can add a granola bar or two for cunchy snackage.

Tip: Changing the fruit you bring to school is a good way to keep things interesting. Strawberries, kiwis, apples, oranges, mangoes, pineapples, cherries: there is an abundance of mouth-watering options to choose from!

5. Flash drive

Benefit: You can use it to transfer and retain information easily.

Tip: This device is excellent for last-minute printing at the library.

6. Smartphone

Benefit: Your smartphone is capable of handling all your everyday needs. You can check your email, record lectures, and maintain your calendar all in one place. Remember: there is an app for everything! Additionally, there are several phone charging stations on campus, including some in Sid Smith.

Tip: Do not bring your laptop to campus every day. It needlessly increasing the weight on your shoulders. Carry it with you only when you plan to actively use it; for example, when you are writing an essay. If you need to conduct research for an assignment, use on of the many computers available at libraries around campus.