If your school had a uniform or strict dress code, then this was your only chance to express yourself. Your backpack choice set your path for the year ahead. If it was deemed as "cool," then you'd probably make new friends and go to parties. If it was "sad," then you'd be eating lunch by yourself...or worse, with the teachers. Gross!
The safe bet was sticking to Disney or a sports team.
You'd be happy to eat nothing but Brussels sprouts as long as they were carried in something badass. The go-to was your favorite cartoon, but as you grew older it got a little trickier to find one that was age-appropriate.
A big part of school life was pushing the limits in terms of dress code. Every girl knew the heel height they could get away with and would settle for nothing lower when scouring the mall for new shoes.
A pen wasn't a pen unless it was so top heavy that you could barely write with it... The more fluffy feathers it had, the better. You also ran through these at an alarmingly high rate due to them either getting ink-stained, wet and clumpy or chewed up by the dog.
Your school books were practically useless if they didn't have at least 20 stickers slapped all over them. Furry, sparkly and Disney ones were your faves and were a widely accepted form of currency among your peers.