Finishing up my first year, I have found what works and what does not when it comes to my grad school bag. My bag comes with me to and from work. There are some down times when the clients are in school, so I get a chance to work on homework and reading. I think I have gotten it down to still work when it comes to actually going on to campus. There has been talk of us returning to campus, since 90% of students have been online for this past year and a half. But the idea of returning on campus is for another post.
When it comes to my bag, the first thing is my actual bag. I have been using my Fjall Raven Kanken. I have the 14 inch laptop bag, it fits my iPad with no issues and the rest of my supplies. I currently have the green bag and soon I will be embroidering it to make it personalized. The bag works great because it evens out the weight of my stuff without hurting my back. There was a period of time when I was using a purse with a laptop sleeve. Yet, I noticed more pain in my back from going back and forth. So I went to my kanken, and noticed a shift.
The second most important thing is my iPad. I have the iPad Pro 2020 128 gb in space grey. With that I am able to keep my most, if not all, my textbooks digital. This keeps my paper consumption down to a minimum in grad school. I love that I am able to highlight and make notes through my iPad. I also have my note taking on the iPad. I use the app Notability, for all my notes. I use subjects and headers to divide my notes based on subject, in class, and text book. After a semester finishes up, I move my notes into a folder for the semester. I love the ability to have various pens and highlighters specific to each class. And to de-stress, I use procreate to draw.
To go along with the iPad, I’ve got various accessories to go along with it. I used to just have a trifold case and my old Bluetooth Mac keyboard. I just recently upgraded to the magic keyboard. I bought this through amazon since it is almost $100 off, when compared to the apple site. It does add a little weight to my bag but since I’m using the Kanken, it’s well distributed. But being able to have my keyboard connected to the case is very helpful. It takes up less space and I can type while it is in my lap or on a table. Also, I have the apple pen II. I use this to do my handwritten notes. While I may be going for the most part paperless, I still recognize the research behind hand writing your notes. To help it, I use a paper like screen protector. It helps me to draw and write as if I am writing on paper. This also helps keep my paper consumption down. Because if hand taken my notes, I would’ve gone through a good amount of paper like I did in undergrad.
I have brought my paper consumption down, but I still like the use of a paper bullet journal. I have tried using a digital planner and a physical planner, but I like the flexibility that comes with a bullet journal. It also counts as a destressor for myself. With my bullet journal I use: a multitasky notebook, pilot g2 pen, Tul pencil and eraser, and zebra mild liners. For the first few months, I have been designing it minimally to maximize its use but with the semester winding down, I have been able to be more creative with it. Which has been beneficial for my stress as we finish out.
For the miscellaneous things, I still use note cards for the few tests that I have had. I also use sticky notes when it comes to my mind dumps. If I am in the middle of class and the professor references a final or a paper, I scribble it down so it’s not taking up space in my headspace. I can place the sticky notes on my wall as reminders of what I need to do without distracting myself in the middle of class.
My grad school bag is definitely different from my bag for undergrad. I find it to be more efficient and lighter than undergrad. I have used about ¾ less paper than I have in previous school years. Which feels great that I am being a little more sustainable than before. It is the little steps that help the environment in the long run. The supplies I found to work took a little trial and error. This may shift as I transition back to being on campus again. It’s been over a year and a half since I have had to walk around campus and this will be different as a commuter grad student. But I need to take it one day at a time.