While adults have cars, houses, and technology to show off, kids just have school supplies —they’re so much more than just the items you need for school. School supplies are markers of your social status that tell everyone who you are and who you want to be this year. As a kid, you couldn’t feel confident on the first day without the right supplies. These are the eight back to school items you HAD to have as a kid or you were a total loser.
1) A trapper keeper
Trapper Keepers were king for like two decades. If you didn’t have one, you’d risk dropping your papers all over the place and looking like a complete tool. At my school, you not only needed a Trapper Keeper, you also had to have it decorated by your friends. If your Trapper Keeper didn’t have drawings all over it from your friends, you didn’t have any friends.
2) Lisa Frank everything
I still have a few Lisa Frank folders from third grade (what can I say, I take good care of my things) and when people see them they’re like “OMG LISA FRANK HOLY SH*T”. That’s how much purple cuddly kittens and technicolor cheetahs meant to us.
3) Glitter gel pens
Gel pens were great, but glitter gel pens were even greater. I’ll admit it, I never owned gel pens. My mom was one of those pesky practical people. But the girls who had glitter gel pens were cooler and somehow cuter than the rest of us.
4) Mechanical pencils
When I was a kid, using a regular pencil was basically social suicide. There was always a pencil sharpener in class but if you were actually a big enough dweeb to get up and use it, everyone would make fun of you. Cool kids had mechanical pencils, because everything’s better when it’s made out of plastic and bad for the environment.
5) A cool backpack
I definitely overthought my backpack choices when I was a kid. It was the only fashion statement you’d have to own every single day all year long (and maybe longer if you had a cheapskate mom like mine).
6) A high-tech calculator
Even though it wasn’t cool to like math, it was cool to have a fancy calculator. The Rolls Royce of calculators was the TI-83 graphing calculator, even though I barely needed it because let’s be honest, I didn’t study very high levels of math.
7) Milky pens
Milky pens were beautiful and almost completely useless because the pale pastel colors are basically impossible to read. Childhood is certainly not about practicality.
8) Scented Markers
Kids love to smell stuff. From scented stickers to scented markers, we are definitely dumber for all the chemicals we stuck right up to our noses. Scented markers were both cool and totally unnecessary, and I can still smell the blueberry one to this day. This is another one of those items I wasn’t cool enough to personally own/ so I’d just jack one of my friends’ markers and huff that second-hand coolness for a bit.
What back to school items did you have to have as a kid? Tweet me and let me know @erikaheidewald!