I’ve always wanted to do a “What’s in My Bag?” blog, but for some reason or another I’ve never gotten around to actually doing it! No two people carry around the same things, and these items reflect their study habits as well as their personal characteristics. Read on to get a glimpse into my life a Hopkins student!


Laptop – My MacBook Pro is indispensable to my college career. It also has my assignments and to-do list on sticky notes adhered to it. Under the clear case, I have three stickers: A sticker with the JHU logo, one of Thailand, and a green road sign pointing to ChiangMai (I lived there for four years!).

Laptop Charger and Extension – Depending on where I study, the extension may be necessary. When I’m in the Reading Room or studying in a cubicle on C-level, the charger sans extension is sufficient. However, when I’m on M-level, in the Brody Café, or in class the nearest outlet is usually an extension away.

Homework Folder – This folder contains all of my syllabi and random papers that I acquire during the day that need to be sorted out once I return to my room. Currently inside: A sign-up sheet to receive email updates on bubble tea sales for a club that I am a part of, my last organic chemistry quiz, notes from when I met with my professor on my research paper for Economic Sociology of Latin America, and my study abroad forms (!!!).

Organic Chemistry textbook – Because what’s a college backpack without a textbook? My second orgo midterm is this Thursday so this weekend has been dedicated to reviewing Grignard reactions, aldol reactions, etc.

Headphones – In high school, I wasn’t able to listen to music while studying or reading. Now, I can’t go anywhere without my headphones, and I found that I actually concentrate better with them in! I’ve also gotten to explore more genres of music because of them (I’m currently listening to Underground Korean hip-hop and rap!). They also prove useful when I want to listen to podcasts or the news when I’m walking to class or sitting in the JHMI (free shuttle to the Johns Hopkins Hospital).

Portable charger – This is my “just-in-case” item. There are some nights where I forget to charge my phone or I end up using it more often than usual. As soon as I get the “15% battery remaining, going into power save mode” I pull out my portable charger.

Sticky Notes – These are literally my life savers. In lieu of writing my assignments in a planner, I write a new sticky note for each day documenting what I need to get done. I then stick them onto my laptop. Having your own way of keeping track of assignments, papers, and everything else on your to-do list is essential, especially in college. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with physically crossing something off of my list isn’t so bad either.

0.5mm Fine Point Black Pen (aka my “Signing” Pen) – I always carry this around with me just in case I need to sign forms (which happens quite often) or have professors sign things on my behalf (like my major declaration slip!)

BIC 4-Color Retractable Pen – Since freshman year, I always used three separate pens to take notes: black, blue, and red. Red for lecture titles or chapter headings, blue for section headings, and black for regular notes. I was always alternating between the three pens. I’m the type of person that needs to put a cap on everything, even if I’ll be using it five seconds later – this, of course, takes time (if only a few seconds). And that got me thinking: how can I make my note-taking more efficient? The answer to my note-taking dilemna came sooner than I had thought. I was in the Reading Room, doing my readings and then I heard it: a click. I looked up and saw a student with a retractable pen. I then embarked on my hunt for a retractable pen. However, each time I went to Walmart or Target they were always sold out. Why I didn’t think to look on Amazon Prime (or order it online for that matter), escapes me. After a semester, I finally found it at a Walmart back home. This retractable pen included black, blue, red, and green. After my laptop, this is my second most-prized item in my bag (if that isn’t obvious by the sizable paragraph I just wrote about one pen). Needless to say, it is indispensable to my note-taking.

Correction Pen – For when I need to correct a mistake from the aforementioned pen.

Highlighter – For when I need to mark an important sentence or paragraph while perusing my readings for my humanities classes (Global Social Change and Development, Research Methods, Economic Sociology of Latin America, and Expository Writing).

Pink chapstick with a sparkly case – Pink and sparkly aren’t really my thing, yet I never leave my room without it. My sister got it for me over winter break so that I’d remember her every time I used it.

Lubriderm® Advanced Therapy Lotion (not pictured) – Denver is definitely less humid than Baltimore. Unfortunately, my skin didn’t adopt the moisture.

Water Bottle – I refill this 2-3 times a day! Blue’s my favorite color and the friendship bracelet (gifted to me by a close friend from home) adds a “pop of color” to my bag, as one friend noted. I always make sure to have this before I leave my room. If not, it’s hard for me to remind myself to stay hydrated.

Banana (not pictured) – I never leave my room without some kind of snack that will satisfy my late-night cravings when I’m on C-level. It’s usually a banana from Nolan’s because they seem to have a never-ending stock of bananas and my roommates and I always grab a couple to bring up to our room after dinner.

Gum – I find that I concentrate best when I chew on something!

Umbrella – Because the weather in Baltimore is unpredictable and I don’t want to get caught in the rain!

Hair Ties – For when I find myself on the go!

And of course, my trusty, durable backpack.