Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Inside a Grad Student's Bag

School started this week, so I decided to organize the bag* I bought last summer before my first year of grad school. I put it through a lot last year, but it has held up really, really well. Since I was emptying everything out anyways, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what's in my bag for this first week of my second year of grad school. I *might* do this at the end of the semester, too - as long as the contents aren't too embarrassing. My bag is always full of junk by the end of every semester, so we'll see.

In the zippered exterior pocket, I keep my keys and a flash drive along with a few snacks. Today, it happened to be a bag of raw almonds, a larabar, and some baby carrots. My arms are long enough that I can reach the contents of this pocket whether I'm wearing the bag off one shoulder or cross-body, and it's nice to have these specific things within constant reach.


The two end pockets are very straightforward: My Nalgene bottle and my cell phone.

Under the flap, there are 4 main pockets, 2 zippered and 2 pouch-like.

In the upper right zippered pocket, I keep replacement lead and erasers for my mechanical pencils, a deck of cards, and a headband. In the lower right pouch pocket, I have a variety of pens, pencils, highlighters, and markers as well as sticky flags and a small notebook that I use to track daily assignments.

In the upper left zippered pocket, I stow a set of earbuds, EOS lip balm (love those things! The mint is my fav), a baggy of advil, and yet another flash drive. In the lower left pouch pocket, I keep a package of Orbit peppermint gum (best gum ever!), a black notebook for jotting down random stuff, another small notebook for brainstorming topic ideas for papers, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Inside the main compartment, there is a padded section where I keep my laptop when I need to have it and a narrower pocket in the front that I usually don't use.

When it's not holding my computer, the padded pocket usually has some empty manila envelopes, lyrics I've written that my brother has put music to, and whatever pieces of mail I just picked up from my parents or want on hand for easy reference.

The main compartment of my bag holds my tutoring and volunteer work notebook, my class notebooks and folders, my wallet, and, because I don't have any book reading assigned for my classes yet, my Nook with the awesome Jonathan Adler cover I bought for it, Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell (a book I just started reading), and Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey (a book I'm almost done reading). Not pictured because I was using it to take these pictures: my camera, which is usually in one of the elastic side pockets inside the main compartment.

It'll be interesting to see what this bag looks like come December 6th. I'd be willing to bet money it has at least one empty Hot Tamales box - my go-to study snack during finals every semester.

*Here's the current model of my bag. It's on sale for $67, which I consider an absolute steal! I paid full price ($90) for my version of it, by far the most I've ever spent on any bag, and it has been worth far more than every penny. I'm crazy about the current one, though. The color scheme and monogram are so awesome!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Finished" Art Wall

Wooo! I FINALLY finished the art wall over my desk in my bedroom. I use the term "finished" a bit loosely, since it's still not 100% where I want it to be, but for a good while at least, any changes I make will be minor ones. Here are the photos and sources of it all.

This is the view from my doorway. I'm not sure putting that frame below my light switch was the greatest idea I've ever had, so it might be one of the things to get moved around if I do any tweaking.

Clockwise from top left: 1) This is a collection of 4 sunset photos I've taken over the past year. The first was taken in Prescott, AZ, the second was taken from the top floor of one of the parking on my college campus, and the bottom two were taken last fall on my way back to Sacramento from my parents' place. 2) I purchased this print from Mae Chevrette and the frame came from Target. 3) I purchased this "&" print from Milk Box Prints and this frame also came from Target. 4) This photo of my and my siblings was taken about 5 years ago. 5) This is a simple little hand-me-down frame and I cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit. 6) A small whiteboard that I purchased from Target. Currently it has some lyrics from Mumford & Sons written on it. 7) This is a frame I picked up at Goodwill and then spray painted a while ago. I stuck in some miscellaneous photos that'll be pretty easy to change out if the mood strikes me.

 Clockwise from top left: 1) This collage frame was a hand-me-down from my older sister. I put some older photos of my four younger siblings in it. 2) Another hand-me-down frame, this time with some photos taken during my 2009 Grand Canyon backpacking trip. 3) This "&" print came from Cursive Art. Frame from Target. 4) This is an engagement photo I took for my sister and her husband 4 years ago. Frame is, you guessed it, from Target. 5) Small corkboard from target. 6) Photo of the cross at InterVarsity's Campus by the Sea on Catalina Island. I'm fairly sure it's a law that if you go there, you have to take a photo of the cross. 7) Silver-toned tray I picked up at Goodwill for about $2 that I've been using as a magnet board. I love it! 8) Photo of my mom and dad at my sister's wedding and two notecards from Target's dollar section. 9) Another frame from Target with a photo of my family at a time trial we all rode in about 6 years ago.

And here's the whole thing, including my desk. The left edge needs some work. I'm not thrilled with how even things are compared to the right side, so that'll most likely get changed within the next couple months, if not sooner.

Overall, I'm really happy with how this turned out and I can't wait to keep adding to it and improving it! If my roommate agrees, there's another spot in my apartment that I think would be great for a gallery wall. Now to find some inspiration for it...