Wow! Can I relate to your situation! I just graduated in May, so the memories are still so fresh. I chose to go to nursing school as a second career. Because I already had a mortgage and kids, I had to keep my full-time position as a flight attendant while I went through a rigorous two-year program.
My books, clinical supplies and notes traveled to London, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, Munich or Rome every week. In addition, I had to “pack” for the trip. I also packed a small cooler for my food that I brought with me to save money.
So this is how it went:
My 24-inch rolling bag contained my basic needs for being a person—toiletries, clothes, umbrella, shoes, flight attendant emergency manual (this is a space-taker) and my documentation (passport, visa, etc.)—and my laptop went here when I was working. Luckily there is a clip to add a bag, and I used it to hang my backpack on the front of the rolling bag.
My cooler bag just slid over the arm of the rolling bag. I think that if you had a rolling bag, you could get yours down to one or two.
—The Flying Nurse on Packing your bags