With the beginning of school comes the school commute! After three years of being in the same apartment (pretty far from campus), I have finally perfected my school bag.
Often my schedule requires me to be on campus from morning until late at night, which means everything I need has to come with me. I’ve been using this reversible Street Level tote I got from Nordstrom on and off for the last two years and it has held up really well! I added a Madewell sash to the strap to give it a refresh for the new school year.
The bag is exactly the right size for my laptop, which then acts as a divider for my school supplies and my more general lifestyle things. I could not recommend this bag more as it’s held up through everything I’ve put it through from traveling to work to all nighters in the library.
My laptop is a 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro, which has been my partner in crime since I graduated from high school. Although it’s beginning to show some wear, I find nothing makes a laptop feel like new like fresh desktop backgrounds, a good cleaning, and a new laptop case. I’m using this one that I got on Amazon for $14.
To take notes, I use my laptop because most of my readings are online this quarter. I also keep a Rifle Paper Co. notebook on hand for quick notes or to do lists. I’ve been carrying a notebook this size to collect Xoro-related ideas for a couple years and I got tired of carrying a larger notebook around when I wasn’t using it.
This year, as it is my senior year and my last in Chicago, I am challenging myself to spend time journaling about my experience. I grabbed this notebook from Paper Source and it’s an easy and beautiful reminder to actually pull out the journal. I find I’m asleep the moment I get home and usually rush out the door coming too and from the gym in the morning so I have to bring my journal with me to school to give myself a chance.
I always keep a book in the bag, and I just started Work Party by Jacyln Johnson. I really look up to Jacyln and the work she is doing with her Create & Cultivate conference series so I’ve been dying to get my hands on Work Party.
No bag of mine would be complete without sunglasses, hand sanitizer, and a water bottle, which get tucked into the holes between my other bags. I also have had my wallet since high school (so long they’ve stopped making the model) and it is only just starting to show wear.
Bags on Bags on Bags
The rest of my bag gets compartmentalized into smaller bags to both keep me from turning into Mary Poppins and allow for easy switching between bags. Sometimes if I’m biking to school or going out at night, I’ll switch to a situationally appropriate backpack and the individual bags make it easy to just grab the stuff I need.
I keep all my chargers in one bag because sometimes I’m on campus for 16 hours on a day and my laptop and phone just can’t keep up. I keep two lighting cords (which also charge my airpods), my laptop charger, and a paid of lighting compatible headphones with me at all times.
I also carry a portable charger (and it’s charging cable) and a stylus. I have an iPhone 8 Plus, which has a large enough screen for me to draw on in a pinch and the stylus helps.
The tote bag actually came with this pouch that clips on to the bag. I keep all my essentials in the bag, so anything that would usually go in my pocket (keys, my ID, headphones) often migrates to the bag. In a stunning turn of events, I’ve stopped carting my huge pen case with me and instead keep one Pilot G2 .38 pen in this pouch.
Recently I’ve gotten into perfume, so I try to keep a sample of whatever scent I’m using that day in the pouch along with a lip color, chapstick, and travel size moisturizer.
No woman’s bag is complete without toiletries and I have two mini bags. I have one for those mid-class emergency trips with the essentials and the other for more general toiletry needs that may come up when spending too many hours on campus. I keep them separate because when transferring to a smaller bag, say for a dinner with friends downtown, I definitely need to bring the baby box set rather than the full kit.
How do you keep yourself organized when running around campus? Let me know in the comments or tag us on Instagram @xoromedia!
*This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they help us keep this site up and running!