What’s in Your Backpack?

Packed to Perfection

By Kenna Caprio

Backpacks: a fashion accessory, a carryall and so much more! Three students, Genevith Portorreal, Jasmine Mathai and Lisa Lentine, open up their book bags to show us what’s inside — all the necessities for navigating daily campus life and academics.

A laptop, a purple pouch, a planner, chargers, a gray backpack and more school supplies grouped together.Planner

“For college students, organization is key,” says Genevith Portorreal, a sophomore liberal arts major at the Metropolitan Campus. “Having a physical planner makes my life easier, helping me manage my academic and personal responsibilities effectively.”

Notebook & Laptop

“I use my spiral notebook to take quick notes during class and to organize my ideas better. My laptop is my number one essential item, though, because I use it for homework, research and notetaking,” Portorreal says.


Inside her purple pouch, Portorreal keeps pencils, pens, sticky notes, a mini stapler and a highlighter. “I’m a commuter student, so I have to be prepared. Things like an umbrella and chargers for my devices are essential because I can’t just run back to my dorm if I forget something.”

An open red and gray patterned backpack, with a lunchbox, laptop and notebooks visible.


“I like to keep my backpack as light as possible, so making sure I have only my most essential supplies — like my lunchbox — is key,” says Florham Campus senior communication major Lisa Lentine.


Lentine decorated her laptop with K-pop and Corgi stickers. “Although I use my laptop for writing
papers and checking assignments, it’s my phone that’s the most essential item in my bag. It keeps me connected to all the clubs I’m in and to my family.”

Blue Notebook

“My blue notebook is for planning, and the rest are for taking notes in class,” Lentine says. Other items in her bag include: her wallet, keys, pencils, binder, perfume and chargers.

Colorful pens, a University ID, cords and chargers, a laptop, snacks, a calculator and a pack of gum sit atop a desk.


“When I was a freshman, during the second week of class, I pulled out gum because I needed
something to wake me up. I had extra, so I shared with the people near me. What I didn’t know then is that some of them would become my closest friends at FDU. It all started because of a piece of gum!” says Jasmine Mathai, BS’23 (Flor), a graduate student in the MBA program.


Mathai relies on color-coordination to keep herself organized. “I use a different colored pen in my planner for my classes, my graduate assistant position, my job search and applications, and my friends. I’m a visual person, and these colors pop, and help me stay on top of deadlines, meetings and ideas. The colors also extend to my notebooks, sticky notes and my phone and laptop calendars,” she says.


Snacks — popcorn, pretzels, granola bars or cookies — are a must-have because Mathai is
usually on campus from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., four days a week.