What Does an Orientation Leader Keep in Their Backpack?

The short answer is everything.

At my university, us OLs work from 6:30am until about midnight on Day 1 of orientation, and from 6:30am until 3:30pm on Day 2. The job isn’t a walk in the park, in those two days I spend most of those 26 hours at work on my feet and walking around. So, I basically live out of my backpack.

Here we see the bag that carries my entire life (with my university’s name covered up, because I’m a deeply paranoid person).


IMG_0276 Of course, I have a water bottle so I don’t die in the heat of a summer in the south. I have my bottle covered in stickers because my small group theme is Star Wars and I decided to deck out my water bottle so I wouldn’t get it confused with my coworker’s. We all have the same exact get up, backpack, and bottle. I had to do something so mistakes involving sharing drinks weren’t made and it looks super cute! Even if the stickers start looking gross after a couple days.




In my front pockets I have some essentials: Sunscreen, bug spray, and my rain poncho in case rain decides to make an appearance.


In my weird side pocket, I have my keys with my student ID and my wallet.



In my other weird front pocket I have even more essentials! I have my phone charger, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, extra stickers for my water bottle, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, and then a lighter because you never know when you’ll need one.



In my sunglasses pocket, I got some pens and a few highlights, my medical bracelet, my watch, a glasses cloth, my name tag, a few hair bobbles, lip balm, and nail clippers. I try to always have my name tag, bracelet, and watch in my bag so that it’s impossible to forget them, because I know I would.



In my second water bottle pocket, that doesn’t have my water bottle, I have a little snack in case I get hungry or my blood sugar gets too low. Then I have my little fan for when I’m walking around in the heat of the south, which can get upwards of 100 degrees in the middle of July. Also, in this pocket I typically have my light saber (it’s Luke’s!), which is my prop that I carry around for the sake of pushing my whole Star Wars themed group.



And now for the main pocket! In the back laptop compartment I have my manual and all my need-to-have OL things thrown in a binder.


In the actual main part of my bag I have my knee brace just in case my knee acts up, an umbrella in case anything happens to my rain poncho, my hoodie (which is part of my uniform), and my tiny bag of every other conceivable thing I could need.



In here we have extra deodorant, body spray, pads, band-aids, motion sickness pills in case, ibuprofen, extra chap-stick, a compact mirror, a tide to go pen, contact solution, cough drops, and even more hair bobbles!



Then I have a few things that tend to float throughout my bag: my portable phone charger, which is a life saver when I’m working 17 and a half hours straight on day one and some light reading for when my orientation participants are in sessions! Right now, I’m reading Macbeth, and no, it’s not for a class, I just genuinely enjoy reading Shakespeare. Apparently people don’t? More power to them.

I basically live out of my back pack and that’s why I have a million things in there, but at least I’m ready for anything, right? I’m always ready to orientate.


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