Trust Me, I Got This: My backpack’s golden years

"Trust Me, I Got This" is a weekly column by staff writer and senior Christopher McDermott on surviving senior year, guided solely by this unconventional advice.

Students walk across campus with their perfectly intact backpacks, something that the author does not have. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

My backpack is dying. Pencils started to tumble out of the bottom while I was walking along Fairfield Way on Wednesday.

I’ve never bought a backpack. I’ve had this same black Adidas since I started sixth grade and at the time it was a hand-me-down from my sister. My backpack has scrapes, tears and one of the mesh bottle-holders is deformed. And I’ve grown just a little since I was 11. But there was never a single moment in all that time when it seemed right to finally get a new one.

We’ve never had an overtly loving, Linus-and-his-blanket type relationship. More like a bitter, respectful rivalry. My backpack is the literal weight that comes from my time in school. It’s the metaphoric embodiment of years in tests, essays, school lunches and lost headphones.

But we’ve got a kinship going on too. It’s a scrawny backpack. The lining gets thinner every year, like it’s losing weight or hair to overstressing. I’ve taken classes that I was grossly underprepared for (occasionally just to drop them later) and they consistently had the heaviest textbooks with the sharpest corners. We’ve had a lot of great groans and sighs together.

My backpack has been simple and consistent. I’ve come to appreciate the three basic pouches and the drab cloth exterior. If it was waterproof or its zippers locked (or even just didn’t break), then I’d be stuck with the feeling that it was trying to hide something. Or maybe one up me. I’m definitely not waterproof.

And thinking about buying a new backpack just reminds me of all the new things that I’ll soon have to be buying, or, at least stressing over my inability to afford. Groceries, utilities, new kinds of insurance for things I’m not even aware that I should be afraid of. That day’s coming soon.

To pull this thing through the bulk of my education just to have it die in the last year of its mission, I’d feel cheated and somehow weirdly like I’d failed too.

But I’ve got just enough duck tape and stubbornness to just barely pull it through senior year as a dilapidated mess. And at that point the backpack feels too much a metaphor for the whole experience to just abandon it nine months from the finish line. Some days you’re carrying beach towels. Some days you’re carrying textbooks and fraying at the edges.

I’m going to carry it through the rest of the way. We’re going to make it. Trust me, I got this.


Chris McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.mcdermott@uconn.edu.