Backpack to School

As the school year nears (or is already in session in some states), it’s time to prepare for the next nine months. As any student knows, it all starts with the backpack. They come in all sizes and varieties. They are decorated with every pattern or pop culture icon imaginable. There are backpacks shaped like turtle shells. There are backpacks that look like animals are getting a piggy-back ride from their wearer. There are backpacks that look like Captain America’s shield. They’re colorful. They’re practical.  They’re putting lockers on the endangered list. If backpacks had been this cool years ago, I wouldn’t have waited so long in my school career to add one to my repertoire. And even when I finally saw the light, I didn’t get one for convenience. I got it for endurance…

My introduction to the importance of backpacks came in college; and even then, it wasn’t until my junior year. Before then, I just carried stuff around campus the old-fashioned way: with my hands. (Remember this was before laptops, smart phones and other personal electronics were all the rage.)

But there was this guy in a couple of my classes who always had a backpack secured firmly around his shoulders. He always had it on. Always. But, here’s the rub, he never took it off. Let alone open it. That intrigued me. Having seen to many movies I started imagining what could be in the bag. Was he transporting something for Marcellus Wallace? Was he on a top-secret mission? Was it Yoda?  Learning nothing from cats, I gave into my curiosity and finally asked my classmate what was in the bag. He laughed. Then he took the backpack off. A first. At least in front of me. He started unzipping it. I saw a large, round shape. A watermelon? A bowling ball? Something worse? Nope. None of the above. It was a 70-ish lb. boulder. He explained.

“If I’m going to be walking around campus all day, I might as well get a workout in. I’m going to join the Marines and want to be in the best shape I can for boot camp.”

Inspired, I went out that night and bought a backpack, and jammed it with every book from every class I had – not quite 70 lbs., but close enough. I was never seen without my backpack the rest of my college career. I guess you could say I was building both mind and body.

Knowing what I know now, I would pack my backpack a little smarter, with things that would actually help with my schooling. For example, in the smaller front compartment, I would stock it with:

  • Pens, pencils, markers and highlighters
  • Phone charger
  • Calculator
  • Power bars, snacks or gum
  • Small personal items
  • Extra pair of earbuds
  • Tissues
  • Hand Sanitizer/baby wipes
  • Lotion
  • Toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste

In the mesh pouches on the side I’d keep water bottles and tumblers so I could quench my thirst throughout the day. The big compartment on the backpack is perfect for:

Some habits die hard. But to this day, my backpack is always within arm’s reach and ready for our next adventure, or who knows, our next semester.

PJ Butland