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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

I’m back! (And what I carry on it) by Chris M. '12

"You can tell a lot about a person by what they carry" - Atlas

Hey! I’m back this term to finish my undergrad degree.

I realize that with the incoming class of 2019, most of you have no idea who I am. Which I guess makes us even, because I don’t know most of you either. But to make a long story short, my senior year, I decided to start a company instead of graduating. This term, I’m back to get out of student purgatory and get my degree just in time for the Class of 2012 π reunion.

But it may surprise you to know that even an institution as old as MIT has changed a LOT in the few years I’ve been gone. Registration is now online. There are tons of new professors. New shops in the student center. Online portions to some classes. Old buildings are gone, new ones have popped up – it’s like a bizarro-version of the MIT I remember.

There’s plenty new in my own life too. I live miles away from campus (which used to seem like the ends of the earth when I was an undergrad before). I tend to get up early and go to bed…..well still late most nights if we’re being honest.

And (to bring us to the meat of this post) when I leave my house, I’m not coming back until I’m home for good. That means I end up carrying a fair amount of stuff around everyday. I always like seeing what people carry around with them all the time, so I figured I’d dump out my bag and show you what’s in mine on any given day.

(I actually did just that)

So if you’re like me, maybe you wonder what combination of magnetic strip swipes and pin pad punches led to this array of stuff. Or maybe you just want to know what to heck it is. That’s why I numbered it like a museum exhibition, so we can walk through it together:

  1. Big Headphones – I’m listening to these right now. They’re more comfortable than the in-ear ones, and I usually grab them when I’m going to be sitting and working for a long time.
  2. Small Headphones – These are for walking around/excercising. I mostly listen to funny podcasts and laugh at something no one else can hear so everyone is uncomfortable.
  3. 3DS – The commute killah. Need to be on a bus/train/plane for a long time, but not quite long or comfortable enough to bust out the laptop and get some work done? Perfect fit. And the feeling of StreetPass-ing someone is just so freakin’ satisfying for some reason. Especially when you recognize them.
  4. iPad Mini – I do a fair amount of review-level work on an iPad while sitting on the couch or laying in bed. Or in cases where a laptop is just too unwieldly.
  5. Microphone – This clips onto (1) and makes me look like a tech support worker. But a microphone is a suprisingly handy thing to have – it makes skype calls much nicer, it’s good for narrating what’s going on in a video demonstration, and occasionally I use it to chat with friends while playing online.
  6. USB mic + headphone port – Not every computer has a nice, easily accessible port for headphones and microphones. But most of them have a handy USB port. Problem solved.
  7. Small Notebook – For taking small notes.
  8. Wallet – In it I have my credit card, my drivers license, my student ID, a charlie card, and an amount of cash seemingly chosen by a random number generator each time I look. I call this “schrodingers cash”.
  9. Keys – That big hook fits on the outside of my pocket so the keys don’t fall all the way to the bottom, nor jangle around on my belt like a janitor. It’s perfectly fine if you like the jangle, but it’s not for me. Also my bike key, Hubway key, and apartment key.
  10. Mechanical Pencil – For writing things I’m not sure about.
  11. Pen; Black – For writing things I am sure about.
  12. Laptop – You know, that thing you use when you want to pretend to be working.
  13. Headphone Cable – One of the things I really like about (1): the cables unplug for the earphones, making it much less likely that both will do their best impression of spaghetti in my bag.
  14. Notebook – For big notes.
  15. USB Battery Pack – Sometimes the unexpected happens, and when it does there’s not a charger in sight. Thankfully an extra battery is a pretty good lo-pass filter for those blips.
  16. Gum – the chewy tasty kind.
  17. Flash Drive – I lose these constantly. I can never seem to hold onto one for very long, though this is the longest one I’ve had. On it is a bootable windows installer, bootable linux, and a folder with random files I needed to cart from one place to another.
  18. Eraser – Clearly mechanical pencils are made for people who consider their thoughts much more carefully than I do, because I blow through them with alarming speed. Then you have a pencil with no eraser and what’s the point of that? These are much better.
  19. Kindle – With a half-dozen half-read books. Mostly sci-fi fantasy, and some business stuff.
  20. Multi-tool – Best thing you can carry as long as you’re not going to the airport. I once put together an entire computer using only a multi-tool.
  21. Laptop Charger – goes with (12).
  22. Mechanical Pencil Lead – I don’t think I’ve ever run out before losing either the pencil or the lead.
  23. Bike Head Light – To see and be seen from the front. Doubles as a pretty good flashlight.
  24. Bike Butt Light – (23)^-1
  25. Coffee Thermos – I’ve been hooked on this craze of mixing butter in with my coffee. Until starbucks or dunkin will melt a plat for me, I’ve got to bring my own.
  26. Charging Cable Nest – I’ve never seen the mother bird, but she must not be far judging by this thing.

Anything also make it into your bags/pockets/fanny packs? (I’m not here to judge). Anything I’m missing?