The Secret Language of Comics

Backpack Bundle

Yellow notebook: A graph paper notebook for my calc class (one of my favorite classes to take notes for because my teacher writes everything out so I have time to write notes in the margins. Also I just love graph paper.)
Open notebook: My biology notebook (the cover is green because last semester’s was blue). This is another favorite class to take notes in because there is an abundance of diagrams in biology.
White notebook: Arabic notebook. The class is dreadful (painfully difficult in my professional opinion) and the innocence of this notebook doesn’t do it justice.
Umbrella: Rain is not my friend (especially when partnered with Georgia heat)
Backpack (center): It’s much smaller than it looks and I’ve been telling myself to buy a new one for the entire school year. We’ll see if she lasts the summer.
Germ-ex: A necessity during a global pandemic
Pencil pouch: I love writing utensils so, of course, I carry an arsenal with me at all times
Open planner: My 2021-22 academic planner flipped to the last page I ever used a highlighter on. The highlighting was supposed to help me improve my time management by organizing when I was going to do each assignment, but all the colors overwhelmed me more than the long to-do list initially did
Decomposition notebook: I was enticed by the cover which has a deep diver doing acrobatic stretches
Tablet charger: My tablet can’t hold a charge to save its life
Headphones: I still use wires despite their inconvenience
Phone charger: I like to be prepared
Gloves: My hands are the first to freeze on cold days
Glasses: I rarely wear my glasses (I don’t own contacts instead I just choose to live in a blurry world) though I do like the style
Glasses case: The permanent home of my glasses and the same case I’ve been using since 9th grade when I realized its abnormal to not be able to see the board
Hair ties: just in case
Chapstick: Dry lips are very distracting
Money: I didn’t know this was in there, so I am now $3 richer than before this assignment
Open notebook (bottom center): My journal for my creative writing in the garden freshman seminar. Filled with thoughts, observations, and the occasional pretty sentence
Tablet: very old and very accident-prone (especially on tiny desks that attach to the arms of chairs) and covered in stickers that really have nothing to do with me
Lanyard dorm key: the lanyard was thrifted and the dorm key has been lost one too many times
Face mask: Another pandemic necessity. This mask was made by my grandmother and mailed to me with a card that now hangs on the wall of my dorm room.

What’s in my bag – Reflection

I really liked this assignment. I think looking at the items that people carry around with them tells you a little bit about who the person is, though I’m sure many items overlap from person to person. That being said, I don’t think it gives you a full picture of the person because a lot of the items carried around with them are chosen for their functions rather than their sentimental meaning. I didn’t really change anything that was in my bag, so most of my choices were related to the arrangement of the items. I decided to make the final arrangement a square shape because it’s easier to photograph. I left some of my notebooks closed and opened others to make the image more interesting to look at (and because I love the way notes and writing looks). I didn’t find this assignment very challenging, so my biggest struggle was probably getting high enough to take the picture because I’m pretty short and I had arranged my items on a table.

I think representing yourself in a catalog of the stuff in your bag is a type of writing because you have to pick and choose what to include, arrange it in a way that is appealing to the viewer, and the image you produce will usually have a goal of some kind. These are all things that you do with words when writing. Because of this, I think creating a catalog of stuff in your bag is just another form of visual storytelling.

It’s All About The Bag!

This is a visual representation of things that I keep my bag. I feel like these items represent an average college student. A laptop used for work along with a notebook since I like to take notes. I keep my glasses in my bag because I tend to use them only for classes. Headphones are important to me because I listen to music constantly when I am walking on my way to class or even taking a nap. These items don’t stand out to me in any sort of way because they are regular items used by majority of the students. However I also believe that these items are of great importance because I require each of them at different parts of my day. The mask is the newest addition to my bag because I need it to go anywhere.

Sketch 6: What’s in your bag?

Productivity and Comfortability are What Matters

  • Laptop: for essay writing, researching, zoom classes, and gaming.
  • Ipad: for note taking, drawing, self-testing, and even with the laptop as a second screen
  • Mouse: for laptop and ipad
  • Type C – Chargers: for charging the computer and phone
  • Wireless earphone: for listening to musics, videos, and zoom classes
  • Wallet: for carrying student ID card
  • Water: for hydration

This collection of goods is what I actually have in my everyday backpack. Before the activity, I have not really thought about the connection between what I carried and who I am. However, once I took out my belongings from the bag and listed them, I now see that the collection explains/reflects who I am to an extent.

I hate wasting my efforts on unnecessary things, and my collection well represents my focus on productivity and comfortability.

I prefer digital over analog. After multiple experiences of accidentally ripping, spilling, and losing papers – regardless of whether they were notes, textbooks, or class materials – I no longer use physical materials. Instead, I mainly use my laptop and iPad. It is much faster to type than to write. It is much more comfortable to carry a laptop than to carry heavy notes and textbooks. For iPad, it is the same. Famous notetaking apps make the activity more productive. Images can easily be retrieved when understanding complex ideas. The wide choice of colors facilitates emphasizing important sentences.

Furthermore, digitalized files can be saved on the cloud and accessed whenever with any device I have. Whether it is a long academic essay that I have written through a laptop or whether it is a sketch/drawing I did with my iPad, or whether it was a quick picture that I took with my phone, I can access them with other devices.

The focus on productivity and comfortability continues with my mouse, earphone, and chargers. My mouse and earphone are wireless, which eliminates the stress of untieing the cable whenever I try to use them. The below picture well shows the annoyance that we all experienced once in our life. Finally, for chargers, I have bought devices that had USB-type C charging options from the start. Especially for my laptop, I bought one with a PD-charging port. So, rather than carrying a 2kg laptop charger, I use the GaN 45w charger which is even smaller than (4cm)^3 cube.

a meme and a triptych that shows how annoying untieing cables are


  • Left Meme from user ‘Funny’ – retrieved from ‘9GAG
  • Right Triptych from user ‘Full_Ben’ – retrieved from ‘JoyReactor

The task was not extremely challenging. In fact, it was quite easy as each of my belongings had a reason to initially be in the bag. I believe such a collection of my belongings do represent who I am. However, I do not think that such representation could be categorized as writing. It would be an overstatement to say that the picture itself is writing. Nonetheless, it is true that writing facilitates a more accurate understanding of who I am when used together with the picture.


My backpack contains: file folder, iPad, masks, and my passport

As someone who tends to forget everything, I always have and hold the same things with me. Apart from my wallet, earphones, and keys on my two pockets, my bag has everything I need to take with me, whenever needed.

The file folder, as weird as it looks, has papers from last year, essential documents, and a wide range of sheets that I have no idea why I’m keeping them, though necessary regardless. The iPad is also essential since I use it for pretty much everything, except for long essays, which neither the folio keyboard nor the magic keyboard can do it. As much as I hate them, masks are required everywhere at Emory, which forces me to have additional masks with me in case I need one or others wanted one (since I have been in the same boat multiple times, where I either forget to bring a mask or lose it). Lastly, my passport has been in my backpack for over two years now. Even though, in several instances, this passport made me have to wait longer at airports (I wonder why?), I keep it with me at all times. It reminds me of home, traveling, and vacationing in the places I love.

Me trying to make my bag as light as possible

Laptop – Need it if you are an Emory Student

Laptop Charger- Must have this as my laptop runs out of battery quickly.

Ipad- Use it to take notes, and read books from ENGRD

Pencil Case- Use it when I take notes on paper

Mouse- For control of my laptop

Earphones- For music, online classes, and videos.

Wallet- Has my credit card and student ID

Mask- I try to carry an extra mask just in case I forget to wear it. 

This image of what’s in my bag shows how I don’t want to have a heavy bag. As I have a gaming laptop with a heavy charger, I try to have a few things as possible in my bag in order to make it as light as possible. It’s not really about staying organized because I normally carry a lot of things with me and am not good at throwing away things that I don’t use a lot. When taking a picture of what’s in my bag, I think it would have been better if I had my Japanese notebook in the photo as Japanese is the subject that is causing me a lot of stress due to its difficulty. During this exercise, I felt the power of a strong single device and how it can speak more than a wordy essay. I think it’s a similar stand with first impressions as the first impression of someone tends to last for a long time, which is similar to the image of what’s in my bag as it can create an image of what kind of person I am. I do think that representing myself in a catalog of the stuff in my bag can be considered as a different type of writing that we are used to doing. This is because, such a catalog was able to deliver a message or information, which is similar to the functions of the type of writing I have been doing. No specific challenges were faced and I rather enjoyed reflecting on myself and making sure to organize my bag after taking everything out. 

A glimpse into my life

In my bag I usually carry with me the necessities: my iPad for taking notes and annotating readings, notebook for planning out my daily schedule, headphone, student card, and water bottle. If I’m going to the library and planning to stay for a long time, I will also include my laptop and charger.
I do think that the “what is in your bag” challenge is to some extent reflective of an individual’s personality. A few years ago when I first entered the boarding school system, I enjoyed observing everybody’s desk: a family photo, a sticker with quotes or lyrics written on it, a decorative figure —- there must be some special meanings or a piece of memory associated with each object so that the owner decided to incorporate it into the most intimate corner of his/her life. Similarly, the “what’s in your bag” challenge offers a glimpse into one’s life.

Did You See My Bag?


  • Laptop: Used to do work
  • Folder: holds random paper and worksheets
  • Calculator: math :/
  • Tablet: good for taking notes and watching background shows
  • Pen & Pencils: writing
  • Hand wipes: cleaning hands/tables
  • Hand Sanitizer: clean hands
  • Chargers: used when battery is low

This is a list of items that I generally tend to use for every class that I am in. I pack my bag in the morning to carry more class specific books. I usually keep items like my AirPods, phone, and keychain on my body most of the time. I think that it was nice to look at the things that I carry because I do tend to forget that I have some of the smaller items, like pens. I think that it was a pretty simple task to set down items, based on size and shape, in my bag to take a photo. There wasn’t anything that I found challenging about this assignment. I do think that you could say that this is a representation of myself, but a very vague one. I would say that it is not a type of writing because it is more visual than literary. Only about five words are visible in the picture alone, maybe if it had more words in the things present in the picture would I consider it a type of writing.

Sketch 6: What’s in your bag?

Contents of my backpack:

  • notebook- I take notes here for my microeconomics class and my social statistics class
  • pencil case- I have pens, pencils, and markers
  • planner- I try to write in this as much as possible in order to stay organized
  • microeconomics textbook- I bring this in my backpack so that I can reference the material whenever and wherever I am
  • two books for this class- I carry them with me to complete the assignments
  • folder for my papers- I put all of my papers in this folder
  • headphones- I have headphones that can plug into my computer and my phone
  • calculator- this is for my microeconomics class and my social statistics class
  • water bottle- I was washing my reusable water bottle so that is why the disposable one is pictured
  • hand cream- I always like having this with me, especially during the winter
  • computer- I do my work on my computer
  • Not pictured but usually in my backpack: umbrella, AirPods, key to my dorm room, hand sanitizer, and snacks

I think that this assignment was interesting to see what I value as valuable and important in my day to day life. I believe what is important in my bag would differ in terms of where I am, who I am with, and what time of year it is (the school year or summer). I think that these things are relatively representative of me as a person because it demonstrates the different objects that are necessary for my success here at Emory. I don’t think that I made any specific decisions when trying to create the image, but I think that I should have made it more neat. There was nothing necessarily challenging about this assignment besides the fact that I felt like I did not have much to include in the picture. I think that representing oneself in a catalog of stuff in a bag can be considered a form of personal identity and description, but not necessarily a type of writing. This is because it is a visual representation that does not have any form of explanatory text. I think that it is important to note the different purposes for each object and how certain things may serve different purposes for different people.

Packed Lite

Being that I pack my bag before each class, it is usually kept light and minimalist so I’m not carrying too much around. First, I start off with my essentials for class which includes my MacBook, my class specific notebook, and a pen. Aside from those things I have my basic necessities of my wallet, AirPods, water, and a mask. This image of what’s in my bag represents how much of a perfectionist and organized I am. When getting the things to put in this image, I decided on what I would pack based on if I was going to class. There wasn’t really anything challenging about creating this image, aside from feeling I don’t pack enough things in my bag but I don’t want it to be heavy. Representing myself through what’s in this bag may not be a type of writing for me since I barely carry anything in my day to day bag. Along with the fact that I don’t think my items are interesting or something descriptive.