It's with me almost every day, carrying all those essentials for daily life. Now they might say you should never go through a lady's handbag, but seeing as I have nothing in there to hide (other than far too many receipts for chocolate bars), I'm sharing it all today.
I try quite hard not to overpack my bag - mostly because I don't want to carry a huge weight around on my shoulder all day. Despite this, lots of things have found their way in and I still struggle to find what I want because somehow everything makes it right to the bottom.
My Fiorelli bag was a Christmas present a few years ago and it has seen a lot of use since then. It's starting to look rather tired, but it does get used every day for university and placement and perhaps not treated with quite the care it deserves!
I usually have my umbrella tucked into my bag - unless it happens to be a rainy day in which case I'll probably have left it on my bedroom floor according to Sod's Law. Unless my bag is particularly heavy and I have to make a few compromises on weight, my pencil case is with me. I like to have different colour pens when writing notes so this contains a selection of coloured biros and pencils. I always carry my purse with me, containing plenty of cards and hopefully a bit of money too! Until the weather warms up just a little bit more, my gloves are staying in my bag to keep my hands warm on early morning and late evening walks home.
I carry a small leather notebook for writing down things I've seen in clinics or on ward rounds and need to look up, or email addresses and phone numbers for people I need to contact. It's also my back up incase I forget to bring the right handbooks for lectures or tutorials. If I'm on placement, my stethoscope is in my bag - a nice raspberry pink shade that approximately 50% of the girls in my year seem to have. And there was me thinking hardly anyone would dare go for a pink stethoscope... I also take my ID lanyard with me so I can show people who I am and swipe myself into the various parts of whichever hospital I'm at. I've pinned a fob watch to it because we can't wear wrist watches, and a black pen that I never let out of my sight in case a doctor steals it. Seriously, hospitals are like black holes for black pens because all medical documents are meant to be written with black ink.
I usually have an assortment of handbooks, notebooks and log books in my bag, according to whichever module I'm currently on. These help me keep track of what I'm supposed to be learning. We have a log book of all the procedures we need to be able to do by the end of medical school and we have to get each thing signed every time we do it. It's great for showing progress, but I do actually have to remember to have the book with me and ask someone to sign it every time!
I have a reusable shopping bag that folds up into a small pocket that I must admit I don't use very much now but I'm always expecting to come in useful one day. I also carry tissues and Vaseline and a lifesaving tube of Neutrogena hand cream because constant handwashing and alcohol gel destroys my hands! There's always an assortment of pens in my bag. All of them blue which isn't very helpful...
I keep my Oyster card and railcard in my bag at all times, mostly so I know where it is! I obviously don't use my Oyster card when I'm at university, but I need it for getting the tube when I go home for the weekend. There's usually a stash of used train tickets in there too, but I actually cleared it out the other day. Perhaps it's the medic in me, or the old Girlguiding days of being prepared for anything, but I nearly always have painkillers of some sort in the back of my bag and a good handful of different plasters. I think I give more of these things away than I actually use myself, but I like being able to help when someone's in pain or has a cut.
So that's what I'm carrying around with me every day, what are your essentials?