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Essential Items You Need With You

Picture this.

You’re stuck in a sticky situation. A real pickle that needs quick resolving. Be it the occurrence of a battery-drained phone or the case of ‘nasty breath’ or even the occasional coffee stain decorating the neck of your top. We’ve all been there and believe me, we’d much rather avoid them.

But alas, you stick your hand into your backpack, digging your way through every nook and cranny, with sheer hope and desperation of a miracle, yet to no avail of a saviour coming around. 


And that’s why we’ve curated a simple guide on the backpack essentials that everyone (kid, teenager, adult, boomer) should swear by to soothe these miserable moments.



This should be EVERYONE'S priority for obvious reasons.

Ever been to some restrooms that simply don’t stack up or have run out of toilet paper? Or ever gotten a runny nose amidst a social situation which needs desperate wiping? Yup, that’s exactly why you need to have tissues, a hanky or wet wipes at hand. (Though you may not want to use a hanky for your business in the toilet.)

Besides avoiding unpleasant situations (and possible deadly viruses!), it helps ensure personal hygiene and puts us at ease knowing we managed to salvage a slightly troublesome circumstance.  Not to mention, studying in such a large and populated campus calls for cases of possible illnesses or infections being passed on in public spaces and we’d really rather not get involved in that.

Speaking of deadly viruses, remember to stay healthy and take extra precaution against the Coronavirus. 

Pro Tip #1

You probably get to save someone else’s day, as well as your own. Thus, crowning you the title of ‘Mom Friend’ amongst your clique.


Too often than not, we are visited by our not-so-friendly foe:

The ‘Papercut’

We're all too familiar with how it frequently pops up amidst fervent assignment printing and compilation or even those sacred 10 minutes before finals when we attempt to speed-read through our textbooks, resulting in such casualties.

Or if we’re even unluckier, we meet bigger antagonists, like the ‘puncture’ or ‘laceration’ or worst of all, the ‘abrasion’Okay, we’ll stop with the technical terms...

In need of a defense line against these distressing visitors, cue the entrance of our trusty paladin:

The ‘Band-Aid’

Here to fight against several unpleasantries and keep our bodies clear from possible infections, make sure you grab a box today to save a life! (a little dramatic but you get the gist of it.)

Pro Tip #2

These come in super handy for those nasty shoe bites and blisters. You'll definitely gain a few friends just by popping these around!


You know the jolt of anxiety you get when that 10% begins flashing on your battery meter? Followed by the nagging worry of having to complete the rest of your day with a less-than-manageable amount of battery juice left?

Yup, it sucks especially if you have zero options on helping your device hang on a little longer to life.

Well, fear not! The solution is simple.

You could:

(a) bring your charger from home (a bit tedious if you’re not exactly responsible) or;

(b) invest in a power bank to lounge at the bottom of your backpack for those dire recharge situations.


Not to mention, it adds room for spontaneity - like having an impromptu hang-out sesh with friends or doing quick fact-checks during questionable conversations, without any worry of your phone’s depleting battery power being any kind of hindrance to you.

Sure, it’s a little extra baggage and is slightly bulky, but on the other hand it saves us from potential panic-mode moments and ensures a longer Instagram-scrolling period.

You’ll thank yourself for this decision, really!

Pro Tip #3

These come in super handy for those nasty shoe bites and blisters. You'll definitely gain a few friends just by popping these around!


Lecture halls or classrooms can often get chilly.

Rather than feverishly patting down your goosebumps or consciously holding down your chattering teeth, whip out a cosy jacket or hoodie to chase away those blues, literally!

Not only is this basically seen as a college ‘uniform’ (for obvious reasons), but honestly, who can resist the safety and comfiness of our good ole’ material mates?

Pro Tip #4

They’re also effective in hiding noticeable stains or wardrobe malfunctions. Although, best not to use them during one of our blazing hot days because that just calls for a perspiration bath... and best not to go there.


Been putting off some oh-so-delicious meals to avoid strong after-smells? 

Ugh, we can already feel our stomachs protesting at the mere thought of it!

Not to worry! There’s still a way to satiate your cravings while also maintaining close proximity conversations right after.

Enter our familiar friend, the trusty mint box or flavoured gum! These literal drops of intense flavour can go a looooooooong way, especially when clearing up a nasty space of odour!

This is especially useful when working or discussing in groups for projects or assignments, for presentations or generally being in close contact with your peers who you probably don’t want to repulse. Although bear in mind, it’s probably best to not chew gum whilst talking to anyone just to not come across as rude or sloppy. 

Remember, body smell and odour play a big part in how you and your hygiene levels are perceived by others, so it’s always good to carry a precautionary box of mints or gum just in case. So go ahead, answer your smelly food calls (insert non-existent durian or sambal emoji) without subjecting yourself to more awkward scenarios.


There are still some of you out there who don’t carry identification cards of any sort and frankly, we’re going to call you out on this.

Not everyone or every place is going to take your word for it no matter how many times you are who you say you are (clearly a hunk of plastic has more reliability than you and that’s the fact).

But, besides being a marker of verification, there are perks to carrying a student ID too! Like multiple discounts and deals offered in various places which could perhaps ease our student budget a little bit.

Putting aside the truckload of assignments and studying, it ain’t so bad being a student after all right?

Pro Tip #5

Looking to save some big bucks? Remember to ask and leverage on the student discounts many places offer. It's not just food outlets. Cash in on other entertainment places like cinemas as well.  Sunway Pyramid’s pretty generous on that account!


If you’re not on the sustainable page yet, then it’s time you get with the program!

Malaysia has slowly, but surely, been trying to veer the public off of single-use plastic for the past few years, be it with plastic bags, plastic straws or even cases of plastic bottles being removed for purchase in certain areas.

Not to mention, according to Ipsos Malaysia, South East Asia accounts for the highest global plastic consumption, and we, as a nation, unfortunately contribute heavily to those statistics.

The point is - we need to put some effort, however small it may be, into moving towards a sustainable and liveable tomorrow. Yep, carrying a reusable cup or water bottle does account for a little extra baggage weight and is rather bothersome to keep in mind every time you load up your backpack, but hey, it really does help!


Remember, your work towards being an ally to the environment doesn’t just stop with metal straws or recycling campaigns, it’s these little things we can do daily that can make a big difference.

So aside from daily needs like notepads, files, sticky notes, tablets, or anything else that should already be taking up permanent residence in your backpack, this guide should be sufficient on helping you conquer college life, one abstract situation after another. 

If this calls for a backpack cleanup, free of useless junk and endless receipts, then by all means it’s time to get to work!

Final Pro Tip

Stick to compact and lightweight items whenever possible to avoid any possible discomfort. 

Karen Grace Prince is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication (Honours). She is also the Director of Events Committee for the Taylor's Model United Nations Club (TLMUN) and Director of Ext. Operations for TLMUN 2020 Conference Secretariat Team.