What's in My Backpack? // Back to School 2018

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I go back to school in less than a week.

It hasn’t quite hit me yet, but the fear is starting to creep up. I’m certainly looking forward to new classes, seeing my friends every day, and all of the fun that comes with SENIOR YEAR, but I dread the daily schedule that leaves so little time for blogging, photography, or even simply relaxing. But I’ve gotten much better at time management this past year, so fingers crossed I will be able to crank through my schoolwork and find time to create content for The Bliss Bean, shoot for my photography business, and plan my gap year... life moves SO quickly!

Anyways, in order to clear away some of the gloom of the impending school year, I collaborated with the lovely Tarah from Upstart to share what’ll be in our backpacks when we head back in a few short days. You should check out her own version of this post on her blog, where she regularly shares her high school experiences and tips for all things lifestyle. I should mention also that she’s entering her sophomore year. See if you can spot any differences between the backpacks of an underclassman and a (somewhat) jaded senior ;)

Pencil case

I got this geometric blue pencil case from Target last year, and aside from how dirty it is on the inside (no one has to see that), it’s actually still usable. It also matches my backpack, which is always a plus. 

I also like that it’s just a simple pouch with no additional pockets or anything because that forces me to deal with the stuff that I put in it. I tend to hoard things in my pencil case because it's an easy place to put something and then forget about it... oops. This is what I DO try to have in it:

  • pencils, pens
  • hair ties
  • a few highlighters
  • white-out
  • an eraser
  • a calculator
  • etc.

Small pouch (not pictured)

It came with my pencil case and it holds any supplies that I use on a regular but infrequent basis. With those little knick-knacks out of the way, my main pencil case stays uncluttered. This includes:

  • binder hole stickers
  • little post-its
  • paper clips
  • pencil lead
  • divider tabs

Water bottle

I drink quite a lot of water (currently about a gallon per day). Maybe my body is more sensitive to dehydration now, or perhaps I’m just more in tune to the symptoms. Either way, going without water for too long leaves me with a major headache and plummeting energy levels. Since I need to stay alert and focused at school, I always have my water bottle with me and sip on it throughout the day.

This is a water bottle I actually just got today because it was a gift in a package my parents ordered from Shopbop. Perfect timing, because my Camelback water bottle wasn't quite… aesthetic enough for blog photos, hehe.

Boogie board

In my video on how I stay efficient with schoolwork as well as my recent study tips video I explained how I use small to-do lists to maximize my time in every class. It goes a little somethin’ like this:

I get to class, pull out my Boogie board right away (here is a model similar to mine), and write down everything I might need to do. This includes any homework I need to turn in, questions I need to ask the teacher, assignments I need to complete during the class, and things I can work on if I have extra time. This technique is especially useful in classes where you have lots of self-guided work time, but less so in classes where the teacher lectures the entire hour. Use it when you need to!

This can be done with a notebook or little post-its but using a Boogie Board is a great way to keep it environmentally friendly and it’s also just really satisfying to write on. You might also make new friends when people around you ask if they can doodle on it ;)


Throughout the day I get important texts and e-mails and it would be super inconvenient to have to check my computer. This year I am also switching to digital planning, and without my to-do list, I’d be running around like a chicken without a head. So even though some teachers have strict no-phone policies, I always have it on me so that I can check it between classes, at least.


I started bringing my laptop to school consistently last year and I only wish I’d started earlier. It’s so helpful to have my own personal computer with me in class because I can take advantage of any free time to get some homework or other things done. It’s a lot faster than the school computers and it’s always in easy reach. Now I can't imagine not having it with me.

Notebooks and folders

These are worth a mention, even though I haven't actually stocked up on them yet. I haven't bought any notebooks and folders because I'm waiting to get class syllabi and find out my teachers' requirements, but I usually buy boring, solid-colored notebooks and folders, so it wouldn’t be interesting anyway! One thing to point out is that I’ll be looking for better-quality supplies this year (probably Mead Five Star) because dealing with my less-than-stellar ~craftsmanship~ of my supplies last year was a pain in the butt and not quite worth the money saved.

I do have ONE interesting folder to tell you about, though. When I was in New York I walked past the BT21 store in Times Square but couldn’t visit because I was with a summer program. When my friend visited the same store about a month later I asked her to grab a Chimmy folder for me. It’s so cute!


I can’t listen to music when working *sigh* so earplugs are definitely my best bet. Wearing them at school is a bit uncomfortable because no one else uses earplugs but at some point you just have to be like - screw it, I need to get work done. I use the 3M 1100 earplugs because they fit in my ears really nicely and block sound well. It's amazing what a difference it makes in my focus.

I hope you enjoyed this post! With my backpack in hand, I'll be heading back on Wednesday, whether I'm ready for it or not. Good luck to all of my fellow students out there who are also starting the year soon (or are already working hard). If you need any advice, I have lots of blog posts on tips for school, and don't hesitate to contact me if you're looking for some specific tips that I haven't yet talked about :)

Talk to you soon!
Beatrice x