Going into your first lecture with your new backpack full of textbooks, notebooks and a full pencil case and hopeful optimism in your eyes, you have a tendency to look like a year seven with PE and Food tech on the same day. So, to save you from having back pain in your early 20s take a look at this quick guide of what actually should go in your bag or backpack. 

 A pen! Or 4? 

You can never be too careful, especially if you’re in long lectures. One pen and a spare are plenty. For BA lectures especially its unlikely you’ll need a calculator, protractor and ruler. 

 A Notepad or Laptop

An A4 refillable notepad or a notebook dedicated to lecture notes if you want to hand write your notes is an obvious choice. If you’re unsure if you prefer notetaking on your laptop or handwriting your notes, test out each method and find out which one suits you, then stick to it. If you take a laptop try not to watch Netflix or online shop or get distracted in general, it’s easy to do and once you start you can’t stop.

Your Phone

I hesitate to add this because I would never leave the house without mine but it’s not just for texting. Lecturers may not actually use lecture capture (annoyingly) but will probably allow you to record them yourself so use your voice memo app. This is also handy as you have access to your lecture on the go. 


Most people walking round campus will have headphones (or AirPods if you’re posh).

Your House Keys and Keele Card 

You need these to get back into your flat when you’re ready for your mid-afternoon nap.

Water Bottle 

Don’t dehydrate yourself, keep that skin clear. Maybe add a light snack or packed lunch to save spending money when you get a bit peckish around midday, but if you’re only out for an hour just wait till you get home.

A jacket or hoodie

Lecture halls are mostly cold but can be boiling hot, you’ll never know so be prepared. 


What You Can Leave At Home

  1. That thousand-page textbook or any text book for that matter you’ll barely use it you’re supposed to be listening not catching up on the pre-reading you forgot to do
  2. A full pencil case
  3. A wad of post-it notes 
  4. Your laptop charger

Unless you’re planning on staying in the library or have a full day of lectures do you really need to carry this with you? 

Your Planner

Your timetable is on your phone and you have a calendar on there too, its just extra unnecessary weight but a nice thing to keep at home.