7 ways to avoid the freshman backpack


Saanvi Arora

Freshmen often overpack their backpack by filling it with things they may not necessarily need.

Saanvi Arora, Staff Writer

In middle school it is normal to rely on your locker to store your materials. I remember decorating my locker and putting anything from snacks to markers in it. However in high school, locker usage is minimal. It is impractical to go from the science hallway upstairs, down to your locker to grab materials for your next class, and then back upstairs to the math hallway in the five minutes allotted for passing time. So because you are relying on your backpack instead, for the sake of your back, you are going to want to only bring the necessities. 

1. Picking a backpack

Focus on practicality when purchasing a backpack. (Saanvi Arora)

The first step in avoiding the freshman backpack is choosing the right bag. Obviously, go with what you like, however, I would stay away from rolling backpacks due to the impracticality of taking it up and down the stairs. Additionally, I would choose something spacious (JanSport would be my recommendation), but remember you do not need to fill up every pocket of your bag.

2. Choosing the right stationery 

Only bring the necessities. (Saanvi Arora)

I understand wanting to bring 45 pens so you can have every color, but at the end of the day, you are only going to use five of them at most. My recommendation is to bring the necessities when it comes to stationery, which are pencils, a few pens (at least one red, blue, and black), erasers, highlighters, and a calculator. Unless you are an artist, avoid bringing art supplies because you will rarely use them in your classes and most teachers will already have them supplied for you. 

3. Using multi-pocketed folders

Multi-pocket folders keep track of all your papers and keep you organized. (Saanvi Arora)

These folders have been the most helpful school supply I have ever purchased. Having folders for every class is an option, but halfway throughout the year, seven individual folders turn into one used for everything. The main selling point for multi-pocketed folders is that they serve the same function as binders and individual folders, but they take up much less space. These folders are able to store handouts your teacher may give you while also keeping you organized. Furthermore, these folders are extremely durable and are likely to stay intact for the entire school year.

4. The notebook guide

Opt for multi-subject notebooks. (Saanvi Arora)

To save space, consider purchasing a five-subject notebook. Similarly to a multi-pocket folder, the five-subject notebook keeps all your class subjects in one place which means not misplacing your notes. These notebooks also have sections so you can stay organized and still save space in your backpack. If you choose to buy individual notebooks, I recommend only bringing the ones that you need that day. Additionally, these notebooks are much cheaper than buying individual notebooks.  

5. Avoiding binders

Binders are bulky and take up a lot of space. (Saanvi Arora)

Binders can be a good purchase if you are someone who likes to be very organized, however they are bulky and tend to take up a lot of space. In middle school, teachers require binders for every class with sections to organize all your papers. In high school, however, your chromebook is mainly used during classes with an occasional worksheet. These worksheets can be put in a folder where it will save space. If you do still want to use a binder, I would recommend ones that are under 1.5 inches.

6. Packing your backpack every night

Do not bring items to school that you know you will not need. (Saanvi Arora)

Every night before bed, pack your backpack with the materials you will need for the classes that you have the next day. For example, if you do not have English, do not bring the book you are reading in class to school. By doing this, you will not be carrying unnecessary items around the building which will be keeping your backpack as light as possible. 

7. Clearing out your folder

Clear out your folder regularly. (Saanvi Arora)

A simple but crucial way to avoid the freshman backpack is periodically clearing out your folder throughout the school year. By the middle of the year, your folder will be most of your backpack’s weight. Therefore, it is important to empty out papers that you know you will not need again. This will make your bag a lot lighter and provide more space. I recommend doing this bimonthly, or at least once every term. 

The transition from middle school to high school can be an overwhelming and scary time, however by following this list, you will be able to successfully avoid a freshman backpack and prevent future back issues.