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Digital Camera: $500; Med Student's Notes: Priceless

Kendracampbell472x725Kendra Campbell -- As a medical student, what is the most precious thing you own? Is it your iPod? Perhaps your laptop? Well, for me it is my notes. I once tried to take my notes electronically, but found that it just wasn’t as nice as having printouts, with handwritten notes, that I could flip through at any second. So, I print out all my lectures and take my notes directly on them. I have acquired about a five-inch stack of notes during the first five weeks of this semester. I keep them nicely organized by subject, date and lecture in my trusty binders, which I carry around in my backpack.

Last night I made a mistake that I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for. I went to a local tiki bar to have a few drinks. I just so happened to bring my backpack, because I had been studying my notes earlier. I have a huge exam coming up in three days, and I don’t usually drink this close to an exam, but the whole town had lost electricity, and I just couldn’t bring myself to study in the 93-degree heat. So, against my better judgment, I gave up and decided to head to a bar where they had a backup generator.

Sometime during the evening, while I was busy enjoying myself, someone ran up to the bar and stole my backpack. I must admit that since I had a bunch of groceries and other items with me when I left the bar, I forgot that I had brought my backpack with me (because I usually don’t carry it when I go out).

This morning, I woke up and immediately went looking for my backpack so I could resume my study marathon. When I realized that it was missing, I literally felt like I was going to lose my mind. To make a long and dreadful story short, I spent the entire morning questioning everyone, searching dumpsters, and walking down back alleys, desperately trying to find my backpack.

I know that it seems like such an insignificant thing to freak out about, when there are so many more tragic things happening in the world. But this morning, my world was completely shattered. How would I study for my upcoming exam without my notes?! All I could think about was how badly I was going to fail my exam. I actually broke down and started crying as the situation was beginning to look hopeless.

My last resort (in retrospect, it should have been my first) was to contact campus security and report the theft to them. When the security guard replied, “Was it a pink backpack?” I almost collapsed on the spot. Apparently, they had found my backpack the night before in an alley. They handed it over to me, and I quickly searched it to find out what was missing. Someone had stolen my camera, cell phone, and about $200, but my notes were all still in the bag, perfectly intact.

At this point, I couldn’t care less about the stolen items. I was just so relieved to have my notes back, that I was literally shaking as I walked home. It might seem like a trivial event to most people, but I take my studying very seriously. I realized that my notes are definitely the most precious physical item that I own. I will never again let my backpack out of my sight. Unfortunately, I had to learn this valuable lesson the painful way.

June 11, 2007 in Kendra Campbell | Permalink


Glad you found your notes!

Posted by: Karla | Jun 11, 2007 10:04:55 PM

I can totally understand what you feel like! I would give my notes to others to review, forget about it and then freak out as to where did they go:) I would go bonkers if they got lost!
I am glad you found them...

Posted by: Anuja | Jun 12, 2007 11:50:04 AM

hi kendra.i am about to start med school tomorrow, yep tomorrow. (schools start on summer here in the philippines) i am an incoming freshie btw, your unfortunate experience is an eyeopener!! now i would never let anyone get in between me and my notes too =) Good luck dear...

Posted by: nadine | Jun 12, 2007 12:14:04 PM

its good you found your notes! that would freak me out. notes really are priceless!

Posted by: | Jun 12, 2007 2:20:15 PM

yep, notes are priceless and maybe u would have failed ur exams. the truth of it is though, if u had lost ur notes hopefully it would have taught u that things always don't go according to plan and learning to adapt is probably the most important skill u can learn that plus learning how to pick up the pieces. that is why we are still here after all those millions of years my friend. just a thought, still happy u found ur notes. i'm sure it made ur life awhole lot easier but prep urself for that day when the shit really hits the fan.

Posted by: kurt | Jun 13, 2007 12:33:55 PM

hey kendra...

Glad you got your notes back... I would hate to think of me in that situation... thankfully,
most of the times when i think my notes are lost... they're usually sumwhere beneath the pile of stuff in my room.... but i have lost notes.. and believe me.. it hurts... really... esp when i think of all the effort i put in to make them...nicely.. neatly .. legibly.. and to lose it on the eve of ur exam... when nothing else could possibly suffice.... ahh.. tragedy i tell you... just wanted to let ya know dat u're not alone ;)
btw.. how did d exam go?

Posted by: amy | Jun 16, 2007 7:25:50 AM

Hi Kendra I know exactly what you mean,I have left mine in the Lab on a Friday Exam was on the following Monday and no one to unlock the Lab--it was hell literally so what I do now is I have mine all downloaded on a CD/Flashdrive so that if I lose mine again I can always print off another copy--always keep a backup you never know when you might need them in a pinch---but I am glad you got them back

Posted by: Debra | Jun 19, 2007 4:28:13 PM

I am a pre-nursing student and I once lost software that contained all of my notes to different classes. I finally found if but like yourself, I recall the chocking and teary effect this can have in you. Im glad that you found your notes, I hope you find the rest of the items.

Posted by: Bertha | Jun 19, 2007 4:29:10 PM

I think "sense of impending doom" sums up the feeling you get when you've lost your notes. It didn't happen to me, but 2nd year, about a week before finals, a group of us took a study break and went to a movie. When we left the theater one of my friends found his window had been smashed and his backpack stolen. He had his computer case in the back seat so we figured they were after that. He had all his notes from like 4 classes he'd planned on studying the following day. I drove him around in my car for a good 3 hrs that night searching all the dumpsters in about a mile radius of the theater. At one point I thought I saw it out in a field, but alas, it was a tire. He never found it, so that sucks, but he got lots of sympathy points from all of our profs. I think we can all agree that losing notes kinda feels like that part in Braveheart at the end when Mel is being disemboweled. haha glad you found your backpack :)

Posted by: Laurae | Jun 20, 2007 9:58:04 AM

I am really glad you were able to put material goods aside, and pick up what really matters...your notes:)

Posted by: B.A. Garvin | Jun 20, 2007 12:02:04 PM

Were you drunk that night? How could you go home feeling a heavy rock on your shoulders? You're lucky to have recovered your notes. It could fetch a fortune on eBay.

Posted by: GT | Jun 20, 2007 1:14:06 PM

I don't take notes, I print other people's note. I find that if I spend the time taking notes I might miss what the professor is trying to say, not what he's saying but some things he might be hinting at for the test.

Posted by: Eddie | Jun 20, 2007 2:48:19 PM

Hi Kendra,
Im glad that you found your notes, coz i've lost mine several times and so i know how valueable notes are. Honestly at the time of exam my note is my world

Posted by: shafeeu | Jun 21, 2007 9:32:35 AM

hey!!! I know what that feels like! I always try to take my notes, clearly as possible, nicely, etc, etc... Some times friends make copies of them, but when they don't give them back, I freak out!! That's the worse! Knowing you took ur notes and someone else lost them, not even you!! Or maybe you're sooooo distracted you go home before others give them back and you need them for the next day!!

Good thing you found at least your notes. The other objects, you can buy them again...but your notes, they are priceless!!!

Posted by: gisy | Jun 21, 2007 1:33:44 PM


What happened to the mowhawk?

Love your blog,

Posted by: Patrick | Jun 26, 2007 3:40:13 PM

I can totally understand kendra, and relate too, but thankfully in my situation one of my friends secured my backpack for me! However the stress level was very present ;-)

Posted by: haorld | Jul 22, 2007 10:41:33 AM

hi kendra,
i am a new comer to medscape,
just finished my second year, and waiting for my clinical rotation soon, similar incident happened to me as well, however with bad ending, but fortunately no exams were around,
truly my notes are the most precious thing i have.

Posted by: Probin | Aug 13, 2007 11:00:31 PM

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