Most of the time I carry around a backpack only, but some days I choose to carry a purse instead (for instance, on days when I only have one or two classes). When I carry a bag, these are the items that are ALWAYS in it.
1. Lip balm/Lotion
My lips and hands and elbows get so dry throughout the day, so I've gotta have some moisturizer on me 24/7! There's nothing more uncomfortable than being all dry and flakey. Not cute. If I'm sitting waiting for class to start or sitting on the bus, I'll whip out my lotion. My days are super long, and putting some lip balm or lotion has sort of a soothing, relaxing effect on me. It makes me feel more comfortable, wherever I am.
My favourite: EOS lip balm in "summer fruit"
2. Make-Up Bag
I keep only my essential cosmetic items with me on-the-go. Powder, eyelash curler, blush, setting spray (or thermal water), bobby pins, hair ties, and a lid colour (single shadow, duo, trio, or quad). You never know when you'll need a quick touch-up. This is also awesome to have around if you go for a workout during your day, like I do.
Whether it's a (small) textbook or a novel, I always have something to read with me. Books are great for when you're stuck in a long line-up, on the bus, waiting to meet a friend, grabbing a bite to eat, or just relaxing or killing time!
My go-to novels: Anything by V.C. Andrews!
4. Notebook and Pen
More often than not I run into someone and need to take their phone number down, or get a call and need to write down some info, or sometimes I have a genius idea or remember something and I need to write it down NOW! I would be completely lost without some sort of paper and a writing utensil. There's usually about ten pens and pencils rolling around the bottom of my bag.
5. Cell phone/iPod
I will never leave my house without my phone (willingly). Most days I'm gone from about 6:30am til 11:00pm, so some form of communication with the rest of the world is a MUST. As for my iPod, I've found I'm more lost without it than I think I would be. Whenever I need to catch a few zzz's I pop in my headphones and I'm out like a light. Or if I'm trying to study and the guy in the cubicle next to me won't stop tapping his pencil, I whip out my iPod and he bothers me no longer.
This thing will seriously save your life in college. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a daytimer/planner/agenda, and to have it on you at all times. The key to organization is consistency.
Whatever the weather patterns in your city, I think it's a good idea to have a mini umbrella with you at all times. There's nothing worse than getting caught in the rain unexpectedly. In my city, it will pour for five minutes randomly, and then it will be gorgeous the whole rest of the day. So I A.LWAYS have an umbrella with me.
Money, bus pass, school ID, liscence, coupons, receipts. The usual.
I always have a protein bar, or candies, or chocolate, or a piece of fruit in my bag. ALWAYS. I am always hungry, and not always close to food. Something small like a granola bar can really save your life if you're starving and stuck on a bus for half an hour.
10. Miscellaneous Junk
I am a very organized person, but there is always random stuff hanging out in my purse. No r how many times a week I go through my bag and "organize" I always end up with ten or fifteen loose items just chillin' at the bottom. I shove all this stuff into a clear freezer bag, so it's somewhat contained, and easily viewed and easily accessible. This "junk" includes: post-its, individually wrapped candies, pens, lip gloss, contact lens cases, chargers, wrappers, you name it!
What items have a permanent home in your purse?