I may forget my coffee mug or my apartment keys on my way to school, but I will always have my backpack with me. It’s my Mary Poppins bag of dental school essentials, everything I need to help get me through each day. Here are a few things you’ll find in my backpack:
Water bottle: I don’t go anywhere without my enormous blue water bottle. When days get crazy in sim lab and we only get emergency water breaks, I need to make sure I at least attempt to stay hydrated.
Deodorant: You never know when sim lab is going to get stressful.
Post-It Notes: I have never been one to keep a planner or follow any sort of schedule, so I attribute any passing grades to my Post-It Notes. They are the perfect size (honestly, sometimes too small) on which to fit a daily to-do list when life gets busy.
Laptop and charger: My laptop may be a given, but the charger comes in handy when your battery dies quickly (as mine does), and your school library doesn’t carry your computer’s brand for checkout.
Clipboard and printer paper: Being a left-handed writer, this is an optimal method of taking notes and studying. The spiral on typical notebooks always gets in my way, making it hard to study, and dental school is stressful enough as is. This is one less thing to worry about.
Blue-light glasses: These may be the best purchase I have ever made. I bought them when studying for NBDE Part I last spring. Before that, I thought they were a gimmick. Now I refuse to look at my computer for more than an hour without them.
Notebook: While I don’t like studying from a notebook, it’s perfect for keeping random notes in one spot. This notebook travels with me to leadership conferences, CE courses and lunch-and-learns. A simple date and subject on the top of the next available page allows me to store non-school-related information in one location.
Wireless computer mouse: This was a pre-NBDE Part I purchase; it also makes a world of difference in clinic where the touch pads are not especially responsive. My speed in filling out forms increased threefold when I started bringing my mouse.
Pilot G2 pen: Trust me, I will know if anyone tries to switch out my pen.
Ear buds: Try to get me to be productive without listening to music — it won’t happen. Late night studying and all-day sim lab is where I exhaust “New Music Friday” and my “Discover Weekly” playlists to stay current on the latest releases.
Occasionally, some things are added to my backpack, such as protein bars and coffee during finals. But these key items are essential to keeping me organized and productive. What’s in your bag?
~Janae Momchilovich, Marquette ’21, Legislative Coordinator Districts 6-7