Duty Bag

Recently, I was speaking with one of the deans about being on call. Back in her day, being on call meant having a pager (and for my boss, a giant walkie-talkie). The dean also talked about how she had a duty bag – a bag that she kept with her at all times when she was on call in case she got a call. She kept things like a notepad, a list of important phone numbers, a book, and some snacks in there in case she was at the call awhile.

Things have definitely changed since my supervisors served in an on-call rotation. I definitely don’t carry around a pager or walkie talkie. Instead, RAs can call my work cell phone. Also, different schools require different things from their professionals. At my previous institution, we were told NOT to go to the hospital with students. Here, I am excepted to drive to the hospital and – depending on the situation – wait there.

While I haven’t put together a duty bag yet (maybe if I’m on for Homecoming…) but these are some of the things I think I’d want in my duty bag…


I like to eat. I’m a terrible person if I’m hungry so combine that with possibly waiting in an emergency room…ugh. I would put things that won’t go bad, like granola bars or something. Maybe throw a chocolate bar in for the REALLY bad nights.

Transport Cards

Somebody in the office made these handy cards that have a place for our name and number as well as directions on how to get back to campus and what to do when you get back for students that get taken the the hospital. I already took a bunch and filled in my name and number. Right now they’re in my wallet.

Phone Charger

The other day, something terrifying happened when I was on duty. My cell phone died. I sped back across town to my apartment to get a phone charger. I have since invested in a car charger. Additionally, I know I have an extra charger, I just need to find it. It shall live in my mythical duty bag.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Book

Maybe this will take the shape of a Sudoku book I bought when my flight got delayed. Maybe I’ll just grab something off the shelf. Maybe I’ll start utilizing…the library. Gasp.

Bottle of Water

Hear me out on this one. 99% of the time, I have my reusable water bottle on my person. But what if I don’t? Or, what if transported student’s roommate is waiting in the ER with me? Sometimes something as simple as a glass of water can make a person feel a lot better. I might even share my snacks. Maybe.

Do any of you have a “duty bag”? If so, what’s in it? If you don’t, what would you want in it?

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One thought on “Duty Bag

  1. As International Student Advisor, I feel like I should have something like this! My desk always tends to have snacks in it and I have a closet for storage on campus that has extra blankets, school supplies, etc. for students that don’t have as much money but still need gloves to avoid frostbite.

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