Saturday, October 17, 2009

Baby's Got Backpack

The medical school backpack is an iconic statement recognized by premeds and medical school wannabes alike - one of the most salient vanities of the Canadian medical school student. Uniform across the country and colour coded by year, the backpack makes medical students instantly recognizable to their peers and establishes a firm hierarchy without a single word ever being exchanged.

This year, the University of Toronto has broken with tradition, equipping the class of 1T3 with unique UofT-only backpacks. With the Ontario Medical Student Weekend taking place as we speak in lovely Kingston, Ontario, how well their colleagues from other schools reflect upon this haughty departure from the crowd will soon be known.

The nationally utilized backpack for the class of 2013 is an attractive red High Sierra backpack, certainly less gaudy than my own bright blue 1T2 accessory. It is slightly more in-your-face thanks to the centralization of the MD Financial logo.

The UofT backpack, as rumor has it, is a response to the university's decision to reject ouside funding this year (including from MD Financial). Of course, it only makes sense to reject free money and furthermore dip into one's own funds to purchase 224 customized Swiss Gear backpacks... No wonder my tuition went up this year.

This made-for-UofT solution presents as a sweetly branded (Swiss Gear), less bulky alternative to the red MD Financial pack... and would be pretty low key were it not for the gaudy "University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine" logo splashed enormously across left, right, and centre. Besides the aesthetic departure, however, a unique UofT backpack presents a symbolic change as well.

The MD Financial backpacks are uniform and recognizable around the country - in a way representing a form of solidarity and (for better or for worse) hierarchy between all Canadian medical students. Does shunning the classic med school backpack in favour of their own then represent a deep-seated desire for the university to separate itself from its peers?

Your guess is as good as mine, but I have to admit - the red knapsacks look pretty sweet.


Joyce said...

i am always frightened by the sea of blue med backpacks when moving to/from class... D:

Anonymous said...

i wonder how much it'll sell on ebay..

sandlot said...

I dunnoooo... i think i like this year's uoft's bags the best. Maybe i like gaudy things... also it looks the nicest.

shirls said...

Personally, I'm more for the blue than red. Red usually stands out more than blue.

a_ndy said...

My tacky blue? Or the grey-blue Swiss Gear backpacks? I like the Swiss backpacks too, but the giant logo splash is a bit too much.