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What's in a PhD student's backpack?

What's in a PhD student's backpack?

As someone with a type A personality, I like to be prepared. This is evident if you have ever seen me with my backpack. If you need something, I likely will have it. Are you curious to find out what’s in a PhD student’s backpack? Just keep reading to find out… P.S. if you know a student, these might just be some good holiday gift ideas.

If you haven’t already read my blog post on the actual backpack that I use and love, you can check it out here! And if you would rather watch me go through each item in my backpack, then check out my IGTV video here. Otherwise, let’s get to it!

Item 1: Keep Cup

I try and do my part to reduce my waste and this includes using a reusable mug. Of course, I am not perfect and sometimes forget it but for the most part you can find this cup in my bag. I’ve had no problems with spilling and I also love the look of it.

Item 2: Essentials Bag

Keeping my ‘essential items’ in a separate bag makes it really easy for me to grab when I need it. Some of the items in this bag include: wet wipes (I seriously can’t live without these), hand sanitizer, pens, highlights, lip balm, hair elastics, and tampons—like I said, I like to be prepared. I got this bag as a gift from a friend years ago but it is originally from Indigo, you can find similar ones here.

Item 3: Notepad, Laptop, and Books

These items go without saying, of course, I usually have my laptop, a book or two that I am currently reading and importantly, a notepad. It wasn’t until recently that I have discovered the magnificence that is a notepad. I picked a couple up from Muji and they have changed my life. Watch my IGTV video to find out why.

Item 4: Stasher bag 

Again, I am trying to reduce my waste and these silicone reusable stasher bags allow me to do just that. Not to mention, they have saved me a lot of money on plastic disposable bags. No issues with leaking, I love these bags. I also use this Tupperware from thinksport when I bring an entire lunch. Will also have food on me, I don’t like to go hungry.

Item 5: Electronics bag

Similar to my essentials bag, I have a separate bag for all my electronics. It keeps things organized, in good condition, and easy to find when I need them. This usually houses my iPhone charger, computer charger, and AirPods. The bag that I use is also from Muji.

Item 6: Swell water bottle 

Last but not the least is my Swell water bottle. Do people even still buy plastic water bottles? I sure hope not. I love this water bottle, it keeps me hydrated all day long, and it has lasted me years.

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Well, this pretty much sums it up. Depending on the day and if I am heading to the gym, sometimes I fit my running shoes in there as well!

Now I want to hear from you!

  • What backpack do you use and love?
  • What do you typically keep in your backpack?
  • Do we have any of the same items or brands?
  • I am trying to move towards more conscious purchasing (clothing and items)—do you have any suggestions?

Comment below!


Christine Streeter (@ScholarCulture) is a second-year PhD Student in the School of Social Work at Carleton University. This story was published on October 22, 2018, on Christine’s blog, Scholar Culture (available here), and has been republished here with her permission.

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