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What’s in Your Bag? : Life on Ring Road

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Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

By Nicole Hewitt

Every day, Ring Road is filled with students passing by each other, either rushing to make their classes on time or trying to find quiet places to study during their breaks. While bustling to and from class, almost everyone carries around a backpack.

From nylon-printed backpacks to leather canvas bags, it’s what’s inside that makes each one unique. Whether these items have a personal attachment or a specific purpose, every person carries with them a story.


When it comes to having everything ready, Citing, a UCI math major, has all of her go-to class essentials neatly packed in her favorite Givenchy canvas bag. Dressed fashionably warm in a gray coat, she explains why she carries around such a large tote.

“I can’t go anywhere without a big bag because I need enough room for my notebooks and laptop. I don’t like having to search through it for what I need, so that is why I like to keep it organized.”

Attached to the inside of her tote bag is a zip pouch that she uses to hold a few of her favorite pens and her Mercedes-Benz car keys.

“I always have to have a snack when I’m at school for the whole day. I like to carry around something sweet,” the undergraduate says as she pulls out her crumpled bag of Godiva chocolate-dipped Oreo cookies.

In addition to always being prepared with something to snack on, Citing says that she keeps lipstick on hand in her bag in case she needs a pop of color throughout the day. “My go-to lipstick is this red one from Givenchy. I put it on when I feel like I need to add that extra something during a long day.”


Undergraduate “Aimeetakes out the pair of headphones in her ears and admits she never leaves home without her Tory Burch backpack and her Apple EarPods.

“My backpack is a life saver because it has lots of pockets and I can just throw it over my shoulders and go to class,” she says, giggling as she opens the many compartments included inside and outside the backpack.

The main flap opens up to reveal a notebook, her laptop and a couple of zip pouches that hold her pencils and pens: essential for class.

“I try to keep my items to a minimum to eliminate the clutter,” she says while adjusting her black scarf. She is bundled in a woolen cardigan and scarf as she braves the cold wind on Ring Road.

When asked what her go-to item that she always has to have tucked away in her bag, Aimee says, “I have to have my Lancôme lipstick. It’s a natural pink color that goes with everything, which makes it easy to touch up throughout the day with.”


For mechanical engineering major Andrew, organization of his overflowing backpack is not something at the top of his to-do list. “Let me clean it out first before I open it and show you,” he confesses in his distinctive, croaky voice.

Studying at a table outside the Student Center wearing a UCI sweatshirt, he reveals that his backpack is usually disorganized, with papers shoved in untidily. “I carry just about everything in here because I accumulate a lot of papers for my major.”

“I always have my calculator with me, and also a backup calculator on my clipboard,” he says when talking about how important a calculator is in his field of study. “I do my homework on the clipboard so it’s handy to have the calculator right there on it.”


Internet browsing and listening to Drake on her laptop, undeclared major Jamie sits at a table during her break between classes. Placed to her right is her black leather backpack that she says, “is trusty, reliable, and fits everything without allowing too many unnecessary things.”

“My endless stack of notecards,” she answers as she pulls out what she considers one of, if not the most, essential items in her bag. “I am constantly making notecards for my classes, so I can’t go anywhere without them.”

Since Jamie is a full-time student, she spends most of her time at school and can’t ever forget her colorfully-compact wallet. “This wallet has become my favorite, because it is really thin, so it fits easily in my backpack pocket, and I love the print.”

“My glasses are a must, because without them, it would be pretty hard to see or study,” she jokes as she pulls out a white velvet pouch containing the glasses that she wears on a daily basis.