What’s in My Bag?

  • MacBook Pro 15-inch (2019): I am one of the unfortunate 10% of people that has been cursed with what I would like to call the “left-handed syndrome”, because when it comes to writing in general, being left-handed sucks. If you’re writing in a spiral notebook, your handwriting will vary for every page. Your handwriting will be good on one page then turn to utter poop on the next. That’s because the left hand gets inhibited when you write on the right page from the cursed spiral. Also, whenever I write with an ink pen and even lead pencil, my left hand always touches the writing, smearing lines of words to a smeared glob. That’s why I try to do most of my schoolwork, especially notes, on my trusty MacBook. Also, I recommended the 15-inch over the 13-inch; you can just see more. The touch bar is optional though.
  • Wallet: I try to carry my wallet in my backpack rather than my pocket to prevent losing it. There have been multiple times when I lost or was close to losing my wallet. Once, I left my wallet on an airplane and didn’t notice until I was at the baggage claim; I was able to fortunately find it later. Another time, I left my wallet on a bench, the same bench I always left it on, in my church and went somewhere. I had never got anything stolen in that church before; I was surprised to come back to the bench and not see the wallet. These events converted me to just enclose my wallet in my backpack front pouch so I never will lose it again.
  • AirPods Pro: These bluetooth earbuds are a game changer. I used to carry the Bose SoundSport Wireless and the Beats Studio3 Wireless, the Bose earbuds for casual listening and the Beats over-ear headphones for studying as it had a noise-cancelling feature. The AirPods Pro has all the components that the aforementioned Bose and Beats have but better. The Airpods Pro are compact, easy to wear, extremely comfortable, and have extremely high quality audio. The Airpods Pro also has a really good noise-cancelling component, surprisingly similar to the Beats headphones. AirPods Pros are a must. I don’t think I can use anything else after wearing the Airpods Pros.
  • Pencil case: I received this pencil case from a friend on my birthday after my friend saw that I lost my previous pencil case and I used a ziploc bag as my case for 2 straight weeks. It contains multiple mechanical pencils, pens, highlights, and white-out. I don’t know much about writing utensils, but I would recommend the Uni Jetstream ballpoint pens (0.5 mm). The sharp pen tip allows for responsive and accurate writing. Make sure it’s 0.5 mm! Anything wider is too thick…
  • School stuff: Nothing special here. Just a couple notebooks and folders and for school things. Nothing more to talk about here other than the fact that I have been using the same folders/binders/notebooks since 9th grade because I am environmentally friendly, but mostly because I get too lazy to buy new school equipment.
PC: me

*I carry my iPhone XS and, of course, mask in my pocket.

The things in my bag showcase what I would be carrying on the daily if I was attending on-campus. I usually don’t take a bag with me other than for academic-related purposes. The academic-purposed bag by no means represent me as person as I am not an academic intellectual. This assignment was easy because the backpack and the content inside I imagined to use in college is the exact same as the ones I used in high school. I consider this type of writing to be enjoyable because I am taking the everyday mundane objects I just blindly use but defining each thing with a purpose. 

Unpacking Myself

Left to Right: Backpack, Jacket, Speaker, Laptop, Spare Mask, Phone, Wallets, Gum + Snacks, Shears, Mouse, Pens, Glasses, Calculator, Headphones, Webcam, Charger, Water Bottle, Tourniquet, Book, Kindle, Flashlight, Keys, Earbuds, Deodorant, Notebook.

“Every man carries with him the world in which he must live.” -Writer Francis Crawford

This quote by Crawford is most likely meant to be a metaphorical statement on how everyone has their own perspective and world view that they bring along, but I believe this quote also works as a literal examination of why we carry around the things we do.

Laying out my bag, I see a pretty basic layout for a student in the era of virtual education, multiple chargers, books and notebooks, earbuds, a Laptop, jacket, and my phone.

These key items are not very interesting or unique, but it is the ‘mini-motifs’ that you can see in my bag that really can shed some light on what I value in the world in which I live.

The first theme that is prevalent in my bag is that of music. I carry around multiple audio devices just so I can always have a music during the day. Whether it be earbuds while exercising or just walking around, noise cancelling headphones for working, or a speaker to share the music – I love having my day filled with music as it really makes the tedium of the day so much better.

Next, I have a couple survivalist / first aid tools that are at the ready for a scenario in which I might have the opportunity to help myself or others during an emergency. As an EMT, I know just how valuable something so basic as a tourniquet or shears can be in a life-saving environment. Bad things happen all the time, and having something that can get you or others out of a pinch can be very valuable for no cost of space or convenience.

Finally, I have a tech undertone throughout my items. Although it may not carry the “gamery aesthetic” of hard contrasts, RGB lighting, and big logos around it, my laptop is a very powerful productivity and gaming machine. So, in the very off chance that I do have free time to boot up Doom or Cuphead, I am always ready with a mouse and a detachable webcam + mic. My phone doubles as a notebook I can write in with a stylus, and my kindle is a personal library condensed into my palm.

Overall, I think this really does say a fair bit about me. I am someone who fills his life with music and games in order to stay sane in crazy times, and am also someone who is ready to help others in a time of need. This little exercise of just examining items in my bag really does expose a slice of the cake that is my passions and personality – while, interestingly, it seemed that it was not the large things that said much, rather the little quirks that I carry that set me apart from every other person’s baggage.

What’s In Your Bag?

Side Quest 4

Here is a picture of what I carry with my bag on a usual day.

  • My Laptop – I use it for schoolwork, music production, and most of my entertainment purposes.
  • Phone & Laptop Chargers – I own an old iPhone that runs out of battery quickly
  • Headphones/Earphones – headphones for music production, earphones for everyday use/ working out
  • Water – for hydration
  • Pen x1 – I always carry one pen with me just in case I need it
  • Chewing Gums – I chew gums to concentrate
  • Book/Magazine x1 – I always keep one in this bag for better back support
  • Keys – to enter my house

Since I am studying remotely in a completely different time zone, the set up of this bag is completely abstract and made-up. Attending university on zoom.us does not require me to carry a bag. My daily routine would be to go out with an iPhone and my keys which both fit in my pockets and come home at night to a desk full of notes and worksheet assignments. I intentionally placed those items in the picture because I would agree that they represent and hold some value to my interests and the way I live. It might have revealed that I am a music lover and is not organized enough to carry notebooks, folders or a pencil case. Representing myself in a catalog of the stuff in my bag is definitely a type of writing. However, I do not think that it could fully represent a person as a self-portrait since we all carry various things for different occasions. I intentionally removed some objects (tissues, money, a calculator, etc.) from my bag because I believed that they held little representation values to who I am.

What’s in Your Bag?

What’s in My Bag Photo by Ryan Song

Below are the items in the photo listed in order from left to right top to bottom with some comments.

Notebooks, Binders, Folders

These are notebooks, binders, and “folders” I use to take notes or complete schoolwork. Aside from notebooks for classes, I usually keep a personal notebook to write down reminders, ideas, or even doodle. The large white “folders” stacked on the bottom are actually mail packages. I write folders with quotation marks because I use them to sort loose leaf papers. I care little about the form objects are in as long as they get the job done.


There are two Apple earbuds in the photo. I have two in my bag because I need one for my phone and another for my computer. The newer iPhones use the charging port for earbuds instead of the little round ones, and I prefer wired headphones over wireless, so I need to bring 2 around with me (I lost the converter).

Ethernet cable converter

Converts the ethernet cable plug to a USB plug so I can use it for my MacBook. The internet in my house in China basically isn’t usable when it’s wireless. I need the internet to be as fast and stable as it could get for me to connect to oversees webpages (most homework we have) or to use VPN.


The usual. I have money, driver’s license, different cards, and bandages inside.


2015 251GB MacBook pro. This computer has served me well ever since I was in seventh grade. It has gone through replacement of battery once so far and the current battery seems to be dying as well. It wasn’t included in the picture because I didn’t have it in my bag at the time, but I always bring my phone and computer charger with me.

Pencil and Pen

Pen and mechanical pencil. I only bring two of each usually. I have been using the same brand for all my years in high school.


School bag. I would bring this around with me all the time if I were at school, but I only bring my phone and wallet when going out normally.

Digital Pen & Tablet

The Digital pen and Tablet are pretty useful for photo editing and playing games. I found this extra helpful now with online classes since I can use it to take notes or handwrite on documents.

            I feel like this photograph gives a nice but vague representation about who I am as a person. Through the items I have in my bag, people can infer some habits or thoughts I might usually have. For example, there are a lot of electronic devices and its “add ons” in my bag compared to paperback books and notes. People would probably know that I complete most of my work using my computer and/or my phone (it’s used to take the photo).  Another thing people may learn about me thorough this “portrait” is that I don’t like to play any sound from my devices out load for whatever reason from the two different earphones I bring. I say this is only a vague representation because people would not know why I don’t like to play sounds out loud or what specifically I use my devices for if I didn’t give an explanation.

            I think representing myself in a catalog of what’s in my bag is definitely a type of writing. In general, I feel like all forms of putting words together to express ideas are writing. While there are many ways people may decide to go complete this assignment, in the end it’s still putting words down to convey ideas and information.

My bag is light, NGL

The bag stays light because I hate weight.

BackPack List: -Oakley Sink BackPack. -Ti-84 Calculator. -Asus ROG Strix Laptop -IPad Pro. -Big Notebook. -Small Notebook. -Scratch Paper. -Whiteboard Marker. -Pen. -Adidas Slides -Wallet. -Keys. -Laptop Charger

It’s Basically All My Hobbies in a Bag, (+ Imagine My Xbox is There)

Items that you see above:

⁃ Black Backpack

⁃ Cleats

⁃ Goalie Gloves

⁃ Water bottle

⁃ Slides

⁃ Apparently Glowsticks

Uno Cards (because why not)

Not surprisingly, this image is a reflection of who I am as a person and the qualities I embody. I don’t have a favorite color (well maybe I do who knows) but my favorite shade is black because it’s so dark and deep. Everytime I have something on that’s black I just feel powerful. Which is why it isn’t surprising when I try looking into my closet and all I see is black. I chose to grab this bag because it’s a bag I use very often. One, because it’s black, two because it’s the perfect size for anything. Representing myself through the items of my bag should count as a type of writing because the items you carry with you really do represent the type of person you are most times. It’s like The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. If you’ve ever read that book then you’d know what I’m talking about.

What’s in my bag

“What’s in my bag?” photo taken by Jimmy

iPad: NotesPad

Macbook: handles all the mess

Mask: Mr. if you don’t have one you ain’t going nowhere

Lipstick/Vaseline: Fall is real dry

Cash: It just stays in my bag.

ID: always always

Airpods: Makes life better

Glasses: Backup pair

Pen: Imma writer. Period.

Well, this is the go-to bag and the go-to setup for any occasion that I would carry a bag. However, most of the time I don’t carry a bag with me. I feel like the picture above displays the common items I would take, and therefore I would agree that it represents me. The image itself is a very forefront and straightforward presentation of the items. And I’m a person of that kind of personality. I try to show all the parts clearly and separately in the photo. I want this image to be clean and concise, leaving its story and the interpretation work to its audiences. I choose to line up the two big pieces: the Mac and the iPad to the left. And then I balance the whole picture by putting my big backpack on the right, so neither the left nor the right both will be overpowering in size. In the middle, I have some classic small pieces for me, for examples, lipstick and vaseline, something I would definitely bring with me in this windy, dry fall season in Shanghai.

What’s challenging about this project is the photoshopping. It really took me a while to put these words on them. The photography needs to improve a little bit too, I believe. I totally agree that representing me in a catalog of the stuff in my bag is a kind of writing. It requires certain creativity and boldness for people show their personal items but not in an boring way. In fact, the curation of items is a really artsy way of writing.

What’s In My Backpack

My backpack stuff

Backpack list:

  • Hand Sanitizer – clean hands because of pandemic
  • Shoe Cleaning Wipes – clean shoes of any accidental marks
  • Sunglasses with Case – sun protectant
  • Wallet – mans gotta eat and get into dorm
  • Earbuds – connect to phone for easy music
  • Lock – to lock my locker at the gym
  • Hat – in case my hair sucks
  • 4 in 1 Cable – easy cord for all my electronics
  • Laptop Cord – so I am able to charge my laptop
  • Portable Speaker – whenever I need a speaker
  • Face Wipes – clean face after sweating a lot
  • Calculator – to do the maths
  • Portable Charger – charge my things on the go
  • Headphones – connect to my laptop for noise cancelling bliss
  • Umbrella – rain
  • Water Bottle – stay hydrated
  • Pen – write things
  • Laptop Pen – write on my laptop
  • Face Mask – pandemic
  • 2x Chapstick – keep my lips from being dry
  • Eye Drops – in case someone’s eyes get dry, my eyes randomly getting irritatingly dry
  • Pocket Knife – why not
  • Laptop – to basically do everything electronically, like schoolwork
  • Personal Notebook (forgot to add) – keep track of to dos and take random notes

Creating my self-portrait by revealing my typical daily bag showed me what I carried about and what I have learned about through the years. I include numerous self-care items such as chapstick and eye drops because I have learned it is beneficial to have them with you. I realized that I am also stubborn about some unnecessary things by having earbuds and headphones in my bag and bringing a notebook despite having a phone that allows me to store as many notes as possible. Revealing what is in my bag portrays my tendency to keep clean and refreshed by having chapstick, hand sanitizer, face wipes, and shoe wipes. It also shows my favoritism towards specific items like my DoorDash face mask and New York Yankees hat. Additionally, I get to show my randomness by showcasing my laptop, which is covered in stickers; I have always wanted to do this, and having a new laptop for college was the perfect opportunity. The only choices I had to make to create this image were to include items in my gym bag and daily bag because I use both almost every day and organize my things to show them all correctly. Nothing was challenging in creating this image because I had all these items in my bag already, and I only had to get things that I was currently using. Cataloging the stuff in my bag is a form of writing; however, it is not as elegant as you would think. I think it is a form of writing because you have to put your voice into the hand either way; even though showing what is in your bag only allows you to express a fragment of yourself, I still consider it is writing because you can show who you are through what you think is essential to carry with you.

Whats in my Bag?

Item 1: Folder

I do not really keep much stuff in this folder considering all my classes are online and I do not get physical paper.

Item 2: Notebooks

I write most of my notes in these two books. They are for chemistry in math. At this point I can not tell which one is which.

Item 3: Clarinet reeds

I keep my clarinet reeds in my backpack in case I need them. I keep them in a zip lock bag in order to preserve the humidity.

Item 4: Graphing calculator

I use this graphing calculator for my math class. I lost the normal cover for it, so I decided to get one with musical notes on it.

Item 5: Writing utensils

These should be in everyones bag. I tried to keep a small amount.

Item number 6: Fidget spinner

This has been in my bag ever since the fidget spinner phase, and I never really took it out.

Item number 7: Small Rubix Cube

I do not really know how to solve one, but I keep it in there in case anyone does.

My idea for organizing my items was simplicity. I keep a very organized bag, and I do not have any unnecessary items in there besides the fidget spinner and the Rubix cube, which I do not mind leaving in. I put those two items next to each other. I organized all the writing utensils in one pile and put the reeds sightly above it. My graphing calculator was neatly put under the utensils. I decided to put the orange folder inclined against the backpack because I did not want the picture to be too perfect, as I am not too perfect. The picture I created is simple and organized with a hint of disorderliness. To me what was challenging in this assignment was figuring out what aspect of myself I wanted to portray in the picture. I decided that the easiest one would be simplicity and neatness because those are traits you can also find in a bag. This assignment would represent writing. I believe anything that uses symbols to convey a message or idea can be considered meaningful writing, and that is what is being done in the assignment. We are explaining the meaningful placement of items, and what they represent.

Yono's Yak Yard 2020-09-20 23:13:59

  • Computer: My connection to the outside world.
  • Phone case – representative of my phone and driver’s license. I used the phone to take the picture and I’m not adding my driver’s license because my picture looks bad. Also, it is illegal (?)
  • Blue big notebook: Math.
  • Green big notebook: Chemistry. I dislike opening this one.
  • Purple big notebook: Biology.
  • Blue small notebook: PACE.
  • Red small notebook: Writing
  • Pink small notebook: Health.
  • TI-84: Handy for calculations or to push random buttons when you have no idea how to solve a problem.
  • Pen and white-out: I don’t like to use Pencil since it feels slow, takes time to sharpen, and makes a screeching sound.
  • Blank sheets of paper: I do calculations on these.
  • Lined sheets of paper: I re-take notes on these.
  • Book: Extreme Economies by David Grann. I like it so far. I think I’d have this in my backpack, as something to do in free moments.
  • Expired Water Bottle: It just feels wrong to throw out (can you even throw out water? Doesn’t seem kosher).
  • Laminated Sheet of Paper: Somehow adds to the ambiance.

Since I am studying from home this semester, it felt weird to consider what I would have in my backpack, but these things all felt like they deserved a spot. I’m so much more than the sum of the significance of these things in my backpack, so I wouldn’t say its representative of anything more than my academic work. This assignment was challenging because I had to make decisions about what things represented me most: a backpack only has so much room, and this one is already quite heavy. To make this image, some choices I made were to write out a list of things I use in my daily routine, and then combining them all in a way that suggested organization, when really I’d be less deliberately organized with an actual backpack. I do not think that the picture is writing, but the list and paragraph definitely are. I think a catalog of my stuff can qualify as writing if it is written: a picture doesn’t feel like writing, I think.