It’s been a long time since I’ve cleaned out my backpack. And it’s been getting heavier and heaver as the days go on. And it’s becoming harder and harder to pull out the right piece of paper when I stick my hand in during class. And so this – this post and this life event – was inevitable. Tonight, for the first time this semester, I have cleaned my backpack.

And as I did, I decided I would take one of those artsy layout photos so that I could figure out what deserved to stay on my back, and what could get demoted to “bedroom drawer”. And so here’s what my backpack looks like, if I spilled it super geometrically on my living room floor.


North Face Heckler – Why not start with the bag itself. This thing’s been with me since high school, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I’ve tried a few other backpacks in the middle, but I keep coming back to this. Probably because of how many pockets and compartments it has. I really can’t work with those single-space massive bags; I like a separate place for my laptop, a separate place for my pens, a separate place for my brain-shaped keychain that never seems to leave me. Plus apparently some bags don’t have the side things for water bottles? Well that’s just incorrect. This one has it. We good.

iClicker – It’s been 2 years now, and this thing’s still at full battery. If you don’t know, an iClicker is what we use in classes where the professor wants to poll the class on something we’re learning or go through a practice problem with us all. Then they press a button and everyones answer’s spring up on a colorful bar graph that tells you what everyone’s thinking. Oh, and some classes use this as a way to mark attendance. Never forget your iClicker. Or it would be like you never went to that class, And you did go! So you deserve for the world (and your professor) to know! Never forget your iClicker.

Calculator – Yeah, so I don’t think I’ve ever needed this. I’m not a math person, nor have I taken a math class here. But I just keep it around, because you never know when you need to…do math. Idk, it was in my backpack.

Pens – I’m super big on cool pens. My current pen of choice is the Sharpie Fine Pen, but the Precise v5 is a close second. ALSO, always carry around a dry erase marker. Pro tip. Because Hopkins is huge on white boards, especially in Brody. And there’s nothing worse than sitting in a room with whiteboard walls and a dried up marker. Bring your own and be the hero of your crew.

Headphones – For listening to music.

Macbook Pro  – This thing’s a dinosaur and I love it. I got it in 2011, and it’s been chugging along ever since. Granted, it’s chipping a bit at the edges and it takes longer to wake up than I do, but it’s my friend. But I’m still looking for a new one, having said that.

Folders – So I’m not super organized, but I hate crumpled paper, so this is my compromise. My system is this: I have a bunch of uncategorized folders in my backpack. None represents any class or project. They’re just folders. When I receive papers, I place them in one of the folders instead of crumpling them into my backpack like I used to. Now, I get to preserve the wild freedom and whimsy that is unorganized chaos without having to flatten out papers as I need them.

Papers – So my system doesn’t always work, and here are some papers that were just chilling free in my backpack. Most of them are either backtests I used to practice Biochem for my midterm this morning or readings for my Science and Technology in Slave Regimes class. This top page pictured is the first page of a reading for that latter class, titled “Economic Development of the Doce River Basin in Ninteenth Century Brazil.” Idk.

MCAT Biology – Can we not, please. I just registered to take the MCATs in January, and I’m slightly panicking. To address the tension, I bought some books and am trying to spend time every evening going through content and doing some problems. Here’s an ExamKrackers Biology book I bought. I’m sure you’ll hear about the MCATs from me enough in the next few months, don’t worry.

Notebooks – I love good notebooks. The one on top is made from actual thin wood, and I ordered it as a study break a few weeks ago. Quick, someone take away my Amazon account. (no but don’t)

Moisturizer – My skin get’s all dry as the weather gets a little colder. Always good to have on you.

Wallet – I’ve learned the hard way that the med school doesn’t really accept JCards as currency, so I keep this in my backpack at all times. Come to think of it, I don’t know when else I really need my wallet on campus. There are probably some great reasons to, but I’m blanking right now.

Umbrella – I’ve found the perfect umbrella. It compresses to easily and explodes open at the push of a button. I keep it tucked together like that in one of the water bottle side holders of my backpack.

Claritin – So I can live Claritin clear. You never know when allergies could strike. Ever.

This list will grow as my backpack slowly repopulates with the usual clutter. But, for now, here’s what it looks like! Thank you, internet, for getting me to clean it.