Students use backpacks for self-expression

Hannah Jensen studies on campus with her Captain America shield backpack. (Natalie Stoker)

Some BYU students are finding a college-appropriate medium for self-expression: backpacks. Whether they’re decorative, simple, or name brand, students are using backpacks to show personality and interests.

BYU junior Hannah Jensen sports Captain America’s shield as her backpack.

“I felt like I didn’t want to be just someone with a plain backpack,” Jensen said. “I find it kind of a de-stress to be able to express myself without having to talk about it. Being able to use stickers all over my laptop and phone case and (my backpack) all help me to be able to show who I am without having to be stressed about being vocal about it.”

She also owns a pair of Captain America headphones.

Jensen said having her backpack is sometimes difficult.”I’ve had people say, ‘You could do something a little less immature,’ and I’m like, ‘OK, whatever. I can express myself however I want.'” “I have friends that will say, ‘Just hit (those people) with (your backpack).'”

Jensen doesn’t wear the Captain America shield backpack merely because it looks cool. For Jensen, a backpack isn’t just something to hold material things. It’s an opportunity to express emotions that are better felt than explained.

“He’s my favorite of the Avengers,” Jensen said. “I feel like out of all the superheroes he’s the most morally driven and that — I think weirdly enough — as I was watching and reading comics, struck me. He’s a little bit of an example to me of how to stand up for what you know is right even though other people might not see it that way.”

Elizabeth Nielson sits with her black JanSport backpack that has a Snoopy pin. (Samantha Sappenfield)

Other students find they also express themselves with their backpack.

“Backpack fashion is definitely a thing at BYU and so with that I feel like most decorations can come off kind of corny, so I think people don’t do it as much,” Elizabeth Nielson, a philosophy major, said.

Nielson has a Snoopy pin on her black JanSport backpack. She put the pin on her backpack because she thinks it’s cute, but said she rarely sees other students with pins on their backpacks.

Jaclyn Anderson parades around with her beloved backpack covered with patches representing the places she has been to. (Natalie Stoker)
Jaclyn Anderson’s backpack is covered in patches representing places where she has traveled. (Natalie Stoker)

BYU senior Jaclyn Anderson may not have pins on her backpack, but that doesn’t mean her backpack doesn’t stand out. Anderson has spent the past few years decorating her backpack with flag patches of countries she has been to.

Anderson started collecting patches of flags while she was on a study abroad in London.

During her time in London, she also went to places such as the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Scotland. These visits sparked a passion for traveling. Anderson said she plans to fill her backpack with patches from all the places she visits.

Anderson will be traveling to Thailand in April. She hopes to get even more patches from the surrounding countries she will visit.

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