Bristol, Connecticut, U.S.A. — It’s that time again, you’re out buying binders, book covers, book bags and all sort of other school stuff. Great. Now, let me ask, what are you going to do with all of that when you’re in school?
There are basically two options on stuff, you schlep it or you stuff it.
Stuffing stuff can be problematic. The lockers are small and hard to come by in a school system as organized as ours.
It also creates frequent problems when you need to do actual academic work.
Handing in papers, returning books, and even finding that elusive scrap of paper with the hot gal’s phone number on it can be difficult when your home away from home is in a locker that’s maybe half a foot by a foot by four feet and located somewhere near Nebraska.
Schlepping stuff is my solution, and that of many high school students. Schlepping is a better solution in the short run.
You have what you need when you do, and don’t, need it.
You don’t need to memorize combinations or spend minutes you could be using to study on getting out your books for the day.
It will be many years from now when I and my classmates start regretting that we dragged our junk around. The weight is probably not going to help our future arthritic spines.
Plus, with overstuffed book bags on our backs, we wind up looking like more like herds of pack animals than the next generation.
There are of course kids who get around the back problems and looking like llamas.
They do this by dragging their junk around in wheeled suitcases.
Personally, I can’t figure out how they get up and down the stairs and I don’t believe that they all have elevator keys.
Yet they don’t deserve immediate respect for this. Some of them have bags that look like they were marketed to toddlers for sleepovers.
Even with the majority of your stuff in your locker, you will still need to carry some of it.
To do that, you need to choose a book-bag.
I’ve never had a duffel bag, or one of the wheeled things, so you’re on your own there.
Of regular, over-the-shoulder book-bags, there are many brands and styles to choose from.
Here’s what I have come to know about them: in general, anything that’s made from that thin, plastic-coated junk will fall apart.
These are the kind you’ll probably remember from kindergarten and tend to sport Pokemon and Barbie.
The same is true of some of those snazzy plastic bags marketed to girls or women.
Canvas and other cloth bags seem to last fairly well. They can stand up to the rigors of school life.
Some of these are rubberized on the inside. I’m not sure whether this is intended as waterproofing, but if you get a rubberized bag really wet, it will stay that way.
Those that don’t fall apart seem to be marketed to boys or men.
This means that unless you shop L.L. Bean, you probably can’t get anything colorful.
Considering a book bag to be a tool, this shouldn’t be a problem.
You buy it to carry books, not to sit on a shelf and look pretty.
Since what shape a tool takes is controlled by what it does, the shape of a book-bag should be whatever seems to fit its use.
There are bags that are just one big pocket. There are bags that are divided and subdivided with smaller and smaller pockets.
I prefer one or two main sections and a few square pockets on the back.
Some even come with water bottles, and others have key chain clips.
There are, of course, many configurations and extras to choose from, so try to find one that works for you.
So do yourself a favor: think about those net pockets and tightening cords before you find yourself in a real tangle.
Sarah Jordan is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
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