WHAT’S IN MY BACKPACK AS A FIRST YEAR LAW STUDENT

I officially started law school last week. As someone who went head first into shopping for new stationary for the up and coming semester, cleaning out my folders on my computer and planning my binder for my courses; I get a giddy feeling when seeing my already packed bag that I plan on using for university this semester. In turn, I wanted to write a post about what’s in my bag as a first year law student for future law students and for myself, when I come back to read this post.

Let’s jump into the post by starting off with the main contender and that being:

MY BACKPACK

One thing I learnt from studying my Bachelor Degree in Nursing Science and now, my Bachelor Degree in Laws is that I need plenty of room within my bag for university. While having a cute bag is tempting and stylish, the reality of it not providing padding or support against lower back and shoulder pain has me rubbing my lower back and wincing. Hence why my backpack always has thick padding in the shoulder straps, it’s fitted perfectly against my back (goodbye lower back pain!) and lastly, it has plenty of storage because I often have to bring a lot of stuff to university.

For anyone who is thinking about comfort and practicality over cuteness and lower back pain, I’d recommend getting a backpack that has:

  • wide and padded shoulder straps
  • can be worn comfortably against your back and shoulders
    • if you want additional support for your trunk and shoulders, look at something that has a waist and shoulder belt or;
  • interested in a messenger bag? Get something with a thickened/widened strap and I’d recommend wearing it across your body so the weight is evenly balanced and one side of the body isn’t having to work overtime.
  • has plenty of storage compartments for textbooks, laptop and everyday essentials
    • making sure to pack the backpack appropriately by evenly distributing everything.

LITTLE MUST-HAVES

With law school and university in general, I carry around a few essentials in my backpack as it helps with making studying and learning a smidge bit easier. Most students tend to reach for their laptops, the first thing I often pack and reach for in class is my planner and my pencil case. My planner serves as a reminder to write down any homework, readings that need to be undertaken/completed and I can check when any upcoming assessments are. In my pencil case, my must-haves are black pens (I’m not a fan of coloured pens), pastel highlighters as it makes the text easier to read, various sized page flags for indexing and Post-it notes.

All of my subjects, thus far, have required a minimum of ten hours of external study and I’m someone who finds it difficult to study in complete silence. Consequently, I listen to my nursing school study Spotify playlist and while I’m a fan, not everyone cannot repeatedly listen to Miley’s ‘wrecking ball’. Which is a favourite of mine when researching/writing my assessments and it’s this reason, as to why I make sure my headphones are packed. Everyone gets reprieve from my eclectic taste in music; but it helps me to tune out other people, any background noise and I can focus on the task at hand.

Speaking of studying, I’m someone who can get really, really thirsty and my mouth feels as if I’ve just swallowed a mouthful of cotton wool. Funnily enough, my university promotes not only a cleaner environment by actively encouraging people to refill their water bottles; but they’ve provided various free refill stations throughout the campus. Which is why I bring a refillable water bottle as I’m being environmentally friendly by cutting down on waste but I exercise when walking to refill my bottle. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

I also keep a small makeup bag filled with my everyday essentials for the times I need to add a little TLC to my routine. My everyday essentials include some form of lip balm (I either use paw-paw ointment or Burt’s Bees lip balm), hair ties for whenever my hair starts irritating me, individualised eyedrops as my eyes can get dry, a travel sized moisturising lotion for my hands as the air-conditioning in the library dries them out and pain medication for whenever I have a headache. Being a woman, I keep an emergency pair of underwear, several feminine pads and tampons in my bag for when my period turns up, unexpectedly.

For extended hours of study and not wanting to strain my eyes too much, I keep my spare pair of glasses tucked away in my bag. So, when I need a little bit of clarity and help with seeing the text properly (because the textbook writing is small!), I’m not having to strain my eyesight and I feel a smidgen bit smarter and put together, outfit wise.

EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS

Whenever I have my classes for school, I make sure to put my laptop and charger into my bag. As my MacBook Air is widely used for all of my subjects and is pretty much my whole world, I’ve learnt from past mistakes of getting to the last 1% and not having my charger on me. While I’m not advocating spending a mass amount of money on a laptop for university because pen and paper is just as effective as typing notes; I prefer using my MacBook Air for my law school and nursing registration studies.

Not only is it compact in weight, it’s pretty thin and therefore barely takes up any space within my backpack and it has a really impressive battery span. Meaning, I don’t have to charge it as often as I previously did with my other laptop in nursing school and I find it more pleasing to the touch as the keys are spread out slightly (something which is fabulous as I type pretty fast!). Only downside is: it’s pretty expensive compared to other models and brands on the market but I consider it an investment to my law school and nursing registration studies.

Also, because I have limited storage on mine, I discovered it’s pretty easy to fill up icloud with all of my notes. Which is why, I often back up everything on a portable hard drive and I leave it at home as its one less thing for me to carry around campus.

Last but not least …. textbooks! All of my classes, thus far, have required me to read a few million chapters from the allocated textbook and reference my citing guide book. While they don’t boast a thousand plus pages like my nursing textbooks did, I’ve discovered a way to save my sanity and my back. By only carrying the textbooks I need for classes that day and I’ve learnt to space my classes out with a break between each one. As a result, I keep my other textbooks in my car and I get to have a quick trip between classes to change books, fill up my water bottle and go to the bathroom.

While law school isn’t a laughing matter or for the fainthearted, I think I’ve adapted quite quickly when it comes to packing the essentials and making sure I’ve got everything in my backpack for law school. Hopefully, I don’t forget my brain and this upcoming semester is smooth sailing for me. Wish me luck and if I’ve forgotten anything, leave a suggestion in the comment section down below and I’ll definitely give it a thought.

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