To acquire wisdom, one must observe

What every Brandeis student should have in their backpack

Picture this: your alarm goes off, you eat breakfast, get dressed, shoulder your backpack and head out for the day. You have multiple classes today—spread out across campus—not to mention the club meeting later in the evening and a friend meet up midday. You are not returning to your room before 10 p.m. at the earliest. As a result, your backpack becomes vital to ensuring your daily success. You rely on your backpack to provide exactly what you need from the day. So, what do you put in your backpack? Below, I provide the optimal list of items to include in your backpack as a Brandeis student to make sure you are prepared for any event during your busy day.


Umbrella: Yes, it is going to rain when you are halfway across campus, far away from your dorm room, and the weather forecast said it would be sunny all day. Make sure to carry an umbrella in your outer side pocket for easy deployment upon sudden showers. 


Something hard and flat, like a binder: This can be used for sledding down the library hill in a pinch. Additionally, in the winter months, this is the fastest strategy to get from upper campus to lower campus within the 15-minute time frame you are provided to get between your classes. 


Minimum of 30 pencils: Your classmates will ask to “borrow” pencils. Those will be long gone, never to be seen again. Your classmates will remember you as The One Who Has the Pencils. They will continue to ask for pencils. Make sure to budget half of your points budget in buying pencils from the C-Store. 


 A snack: In case your only time to get lunch is during the chaotic 12:10 p.m. lunch rush that occurs every weekday. Something to get you through your next class without everyone hearing your stomach grumbling. This could be anything from a packet of chips from the C-Store to that Starbucks croissant you got last Friday and forgot at the bottom of your backpack (it is fine to eat four days later, right?)


Your homework for Tuesday, even though it is a Monday: You never know when a Brandeis Monday can sneak up on you and take you by surprise. 


Tank top, t-shirt, sweater, winter coat: Just as it can rain within a moment’s notice, so too can the temperature drop within 10 minutes of you stepping outside (and inconveniently too late to go back to your dorm to change your outfit). 


Notebook (ol’ reliable): This is the notebook you will use when, five weeks into class, your professor bans all technology from the classroom. It is important to have this notebook, already started in the front with Spanish notes from your senior year of high school and upside down at the back from some miscellaneous problem set you turned in a while back. It is a glorious hodgepodge of shower thoughts and has at least four classes written on the front, three now crossed out. Make sure to write your name and email address on the inside cover so that someone can return the notebook to you if you lose it. Your first great novel could be inside of it!


Small travel-sized container with one Tylenol in it: You know you need to refill it. The small tube causes a ruckus in the front pocket of your backpack as you walk, step by step, to the dining hall. It sounds like at least three maracas. You never know when you will have a headache—best to keep it around, just in case.


 A copy of the latest Hoot newspaper: What? As a Brandeis student, it is incredibly important to stay up to date on current events, especially those occurring right inside of your campus.


Your room key: This little guy has the miraculous tendency to disappear from your backpack at a moment’s notice. Consider storing the key in its own pocket of honor to make it feel appreciated and not want to leave you at the first possible moment. Your key will appreciate it, and you will be able to go to your dorm whenever you want. It is a win-win scenario for the both of you.


Those five dining hall bananas: You know you want them. This is a midday addition to your backpack that you can supplement at any Brandeis dining hall. You will definitely remember to eat all of them or at the very least take them out of your backpack. You will not have the first part of a banana bread recipe squished at the bottom of your backpack. Not at all. 


In all honesty, the best strategy for being prepared for an entire day is in planning the night before. Look through all of the classes you will have, who you need to meet, and which clubs you will be attending, and (importantly), put everything in your backpack before you go to sleep. Half-awake 7 a.m. you will be thankful—and honestly, 7 a.m. you has some funky ideas of what would be important to have in your backpack. Best of luck and have a great day of classes. With your backpack, you will always be prepared. 

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