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In defense of the front-pack or the 'wrong-way backpack'

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APRIL 08, 2015

It’s a sunny day, and people are strolling to class with their shades on, their flip flops flip flopping, their hair up in ponytails or man buns and their books in their bags. TNF backpack, Longchamp shoulder bag, more TNF, ahh Jansports, ooh vintage messenger bag. Typical. Wait … does that person have … is that … is that a front-pack? Gasp! Their eyes quickly zoom in on this foreign item in the real-life, college edition catalog. Every so often, the popular trend among tourists to prevent being pick-pocketed pops up among us students.

“Carry less stuff! It’s a backpack, not front-pack!” they demand.

Talk to our professors, tell them to stop assigning so much homework, and then we’ll carry less stuff.  But we also really need this umbrella, these Hello Kitty Band-Aids, our water bottles and thermoses, our phones, laptops, tablets and all of their chargers. Just in case.

“Foreigner! TOURIST ALERT!” they scream.

Our beloved, well-worn Cal hoodies say otherwise.

“Don’t be silly,” they scoff.

Oh, we’re serious.

No, we’re not afraid of thieves, like your usual tourist. In fact, take all our textbooks away. Please. They are burdens, literally and figuratively. Then we’ll also have a new excuse for not turning in our assignments, besides the age-old “my roommate ate my homework.”

Nor is this preparation for any future pregnancies and children. We don’t really think that we’re ready for that just yet.

Of course, we realize backpack implies the bag goes on our back, not torso. But where else would we be rebellious but UC Berkeley?

We might look like tourists, but in the name of our backs and shoulders, we don’t care. Besides easing our soreness, the front-pack can also serve as a mini picnic table, allow easy access for grabbing a key instead of shrugging off a heavy bag then putting it back on and best of all, stop us from becoming the next hunchbacks of Notre Dame. On a crowded bus, it’s only polite to move your backpack to the front, unless you want to get face-slapped by someone’s backpack.

Love it or hate it, it’s a choice we’ve made, just like choosing to put on a pair of jeans instead of sweatpants. The next time your back hurts from the straps digging into your shoulders, take our suggestion and make the switch, and then maybe you’ll understand as sweet relief spreads down your spine.

Contact Stephanie Wang at [email protected].

APRIL 07, 2015