Thursday, May 08, 2008


Thanks for the congrats!!

Yay me! Still pretty happy over here.

So now I will have a ton of questions for you guys while I try to transition to a different lifestyle. The first one that is bothering me is: backpacks and laptops. While I'll still be working where I am now, of course, because I love my job and my employer, now that I am able to, I want to start attending college in the fall. I'll probably be commuting on the train, and then taking a short bus ride. Once there, it will not be a big campus that I'll have to walk around, as it's a very small place. Luckily the place is very accessible by public transport, which is quite unusual for this area. I suppose I might drive one or two days a week, depending on what other stuff I have to do or what the timetable is like, but as I can work on the train, that's the #1 choice.

The first time I went to college, I didn't have a computer. Not even a desktop computer. Yes, I am old. Does everybody take laptops to class these days? I guess I am worried because while I can touch type I find that if I am typing what I am being told, the topic completely bypasses my brain and goes straight to my fingers. So it might make more sense to take notes the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper, and transcribe them later. It will mean much more concise notes because I can type faster than I can write, but they'll be more stuck in my brain which is after all the important thing. And what if my bag gets lost/stolen/dropped with a laptop in it? I don't know if I'd be able to afford to replace the laptop.

Second, tell me about books. I look up on the interweb for suitable college backpacks, and they all go on about lugging a ton of books backwards and forwards. Do you really need to carry books everywhere? Last time I pretty much never needed to take any books with me - we were lectured at, wrote notes, and then only needed the books for working on assignments. Maybe that was a function of what I studied, but come to think of it, I didn't see other students lugging around an entire library on their backs so maybe it was a function of the UK system as opposed to the US system. In fact, I often went off to college with only a pen and a few sheets of paper in my pocket (and some coins for that pint of milk that used to suffice for lunch). Cause, you know, the whole pad of paper was, like, heavy, dude. And I'm not really a back packy person. I'm more of a messenger bag type person.

So, in other words, will I really need a big old backpack that can fit a laptop and lots of books? And more importantly, lunch. Let's be honest, transporting lunch is key! The reason I'm asking so far in advance is that I kind of want to get as much purchasing out of the way now, while I have any disposable income, and so I don't have to just grab the first thing I find in a panic. Maybe I can find something nice and eco-friendly, but they tend to be a bit more expensive than your average college student can afford. Otherwise I'd wait to see what I need. Gah, maybe I should wait anyway, and be the person that turns up on day 1 with a grocery bag. Or, more likely, some conference freebie messenger-type bag, as I have a couple of those somewhere. Maybe. Unless I gave them away.


-c said...

I graduated ~2 years ago, so I feel quite confident in answering this question. (Unlike the fertility issues.)

Books: If you are planning on staying on campus after your class ends and want to do some studying, I would recommend bringing your book. If you have a few hours between classes and feel like studying- bring your book (or there's always the gym for those of us who don't really like to study).

Paper vs computer: I never saw anyone with a computer. My method was a three ring binder. I would take out a page or two, write notes on them, and put them back in. Then once the test on that group was done, I'd staple those together and call it good. Now other's did the spiral notebook and that works well too. No computers at class. I don't think it would hurt to bring it if you want to do some work afterwards or want to look something up...but not for note-taking.

Backpacks: Do what works best for you. I had an REI bag because it was "oh-so-cool!" and I liked having a place for everything and everything in it's place. Messanger bag's are okay, but I found that those dug into my shoulder too much with all the weight in my bag.

Food: Yum (it's lunch time). I was cheap and brought my own. Usually something left over from dinner the night before. They had microwaves there to use so it was no problem at all. They also had rice for a buck, so there may be some inexpensive options at your school as well.

And I think that's all the advice I have at the moment. =0) Good luck!

bleu said...

I would definitely wait to see what you need and what others use to get ideas.
Your school will be specialized right? If so it may be different than the norm anyways.
I graduated from grad school eons ago and plenty of people took laptops to class back then. I do think it depends on where you plan to study as well.

Backpacks wait and see. My best laptop bag ever was a messenger bag btw.

As for taking note, it can really depend. Note taking for me in undergrad was an entirely different experience from grad school. I took them different and it worked different so again I would wait and see.

Love the new header.

Mermaid said...

Back in my day, I didn't see laptops in class for note taking. But, grad school for me was long ago, too. I did the spiral notebook thing. And it depended on the class/professor as to whether I took the book, usually not.

It was so wonderful to read your post because it is just bursting with happiness. I'm so happy for you! I can feel your joy and excitement. Congratulations!

Sam said...

Go to the campus, walk around, talk to people and maybe check out a class or two? That way you'll have firsthand info.

Pepper said...

LOVE the new header! So pretty!

My only recommendation is wheels. My book bag was way too heavy for far too long and I have the neck and back pain to prove it. Definitely consider a wheeled backpack or laptop case.

Anonymous said...

How exciting Sarah!

I haven't been back to school for quite some time, but I think brining your own lunch sounds great (and cheaper and healthy). Looking forward to reading your adventures!


Care said...

Love the new header!

It's been a while since I was in school (although can't have been that long ago, as I'm still paying off those pesky student loans!) At that time no one brought computers to class. I don't know how much it has changed these days, but I am another who can't type and listen/absorb at the same time. I liked my spiral notebooks.

Stephanie said...

It's funny, I was thinking about the computer thing, too. I would love to be able to take notes on the computer because it seems like it would be so much faster than trying to write them down. I think, having been so long out of school already, that my pen using muscles have completely atrophied.

So, I do wonder about that plus the carrying device that I'll use. I already bring my lunch to work so, I'd just bring it to school with me.

I've been looking up bento boxes lately. That might be your speed for lunches. I especially like the thermal food canisters that come with a matching bag and utensil. Just heat the food, put it in the canister and, it stays hot for 6 hours.

I do love the look and feel of new notebooks and pens, though. I used to buy color coded pens and highlighters. Can't do that with a laptop. But, then, you can't cut and paste with one click on paper, either.

Personally, I'm hoping for the laptop option. That would totally be the best for me.

Solitaire said...

Oh Stephanie, you know me so well! My thermal bento box arrived on Wednesday! Just the one you are describing.

Katkun said...

I finished a few years ago, but no-one took laptops to class, and no textbooks, either. I did the three ring binder thing.... I guess if you have a lot of study time on the train, you might think about taking a book or your laptop, but maybe you could just study older handwritten notes? As far as lunch - I did slimfast - easy and light :)