What’s in your bag?

So here’s the thing — uni might seem like a big step up from secondary school, but you really don’t need that much to succeed. To prove that, here’s what I have in my bag when I go to class:

See? Nothing magical, nothing super scary and scientific. Just my laptop, way too many notebooks, a pencil case, a water bottle, and a first aid kit.

Everyone takes notes in different ways, but this is what I’ve found to work for me — a separate notebook for each subject, plus a pad of loose leaf paper for when I need paper for something that isn’t directly related to a lecture, or something that needs to be on a separate sheet. And not to forget the PPLS notebook — it’s full of useful information.

you don’t have to put a lot of effort into your notebooks to do well at uni, I just like the aesthetic

The water bottle is an important part of my day — but so are the not-pictured snacks that are always hiding somewhere in my bag! You can’t study if you’re hungry, so make sure to stay on top of food and hydration.

Finally, I always carry around a first aid kit. Honestly, it’s mainly because I have a spectacular talent for acquiring small scrapes that need bandaids just so I don’t cover everything around me in blood, but it’s also good to have one in case something happens.

the label helps me keep track of what’s in my kit — don’t worry, ‘horse tranqs’ is just my flatmate’s nickname for more heavy-duty paracetamol!

It’s a very basic kit — I got one from IKEA and added in things I found essential, like sanitary pads, ibuprofen, and a huge pile of bandaids. It’s good to customise your kit for what you think you’ll need, but I’d still recommend building off a ready-made one. The IKEA kit came with a lot of useful things, like a bandage and wound-closing strips, but in true IKEA style it also provided a guide to dealing with the most common types of injuries — like burns and lacerations — that will be incredibly useful in slightly more serious situations where you’re not 100% sure you trust your own judgement.

— Emma