The New Normal

Wanting to unpack the student experience, 2013-style, we realized we were in the midst of 2,159 undergraduates who carried that very thing around with them on a daily basis. So we went to the mother lode: the backpack. It contains the essentials our students need to acquire knowledge, record it, assimilate it, disseminate it – and then take a break from it. Their tasks are the same as yours were, dear reader – it’s only the tools that have changed.

1Car keys
If you’re one of the 895 students who keep a car on campus, you’ll pay $100 for your parking permit this year – but you can ride the Green Bay Metro bus system for free with your student ID.

2Lanyard & ID
Your swipe card is how you pay for your meals, do laundry – even get discounts at local merchants. It gets you into your res hall, too. But you still need a key for your room.

3Water bottle
Nearly 20 percent of you play on a varsity team; 35 percent play intramurals. Stay hydrated! 

4Smart phone & tunes
“My whole life is in this phone.” It’s alarm clock, entertainment system, Facebook portal, email hub, camera, address book, music library – “every moment has its soundtrack.” It lets you call people, too!

5Textbooks
Rent them for savings around 50 percent; buy them used – and sell them back later; even buy the e-book. 

6Student planner
Perhaps the most surprising find in our 2013 backpack. Most all of you carry them: “If it’s important, you want it on paper.”

7Backpack
It has to be sturdy, comfortable, stylish. Today’s backpacks come fully laptop- and cellphone-compatible, with pockets for all your technology.

8Hand sanitizer
Someone in the group will have some at hand. You’re all living at close quarters  – sharing rooms, sharing workstations. No need to share the same cold! 

9Laptop
You’ll probably own a laptop, like 99 percent of your classmates who responded to our IT survey. 20 percent own a tablet, too – but it’s your laptop that you take to class. It’s a note-taker as well as a gateway to the college’s virtual learning environment – a collaborative space where professors upload course overviews, assignments, podcasts, videos and more. 

10Fresh fruit
Like many of your friends, you’re eating healthier these days. Bonus at the Caf: Fruit is always available as a free carryout item. Dining Services serves up more than 3,500 pounds of fresh fruit every week. Menus always include vegetarian and vegan options, too, to meet an increasing demand. 

11Gum
Important study aid: You believe gum helps you stay awake – and focused. “If you chew a certain flavor while you study for a test, then chew the same flavor during the test itself, the stuff you learned will come back to you.” 

12Coffee
The White Squirrel is today’s choice of pick-me-up from Ed’s, the coffee shop in the library. Named for a beloved former campus resident, this white chocolate-hazelnut latte boasts whipped cream and a chocolate-covered espresso bean. 

Nov. 19, 2013