When you head off to college there are a lot of unknowns to worry about. What will your classes be like? Will your roommate not be nearly as cool as they seemed on Facebook and Snapchat? What happens if you get sick? Will the food be as bad as everyone says? And, most important of all: what should I bring? Never fear intrepid student, we are here to make sure you know exactly how to gear up for life on campus. Here are the top 6 tech gadgets you will need for school this year.
Even if you have a 5TB hard drive you’ll want to have at least one or two external flash drives. Why? Because every student needs to regularly save and backup his or her work. That’s just school 101. The best type of external drive to buy is a secure USB flash drive. This will not just keep your work safe should your computer fail (or if you lost your charging cable last week and you have a huge paper due tomorrow), it will also protect your work from prying eyes who might be looking for a shortcut or who want to copy your notes without asking for your permission.
Just trust us on this one. Charging cables are elusive buggers when you live in a dorm. You lend them out, you forget them in classrooms, labs, your friends’ dorm rooms, the library, the bus, you name it. Always have at least one spare charging cable for each of your devices in a safe spot in your room. This way if you lose one, you’ll have a spare. And, of course, once you start using that spare, buy a new backup right away!
There are a lot of different types of tablets out there and everybody has their favorite. We’re not here to push you onto team Mac or team Android. Whichever OS you choose, make sure that your tablet has the following:
- A super long battery life
- Good sized internal hard drive
- Ability to print wirelessly
- Ability to network with the cloud
- Ability to work offline (no chrome tablets for you while you’re at school)
- Great app library–especially for note taking
- Compatible styluses that can handle handwriting.
One of the best ways to save money and space is to take notes directly on your tablet. You can do this using a stylus or a keyboard, whichever is easier for you. The reason this method is best is because if you store those notes on your cloud server, you can access them from anywhere and don’t have to worry about losing them. Moreover, you’ll save much-needed dorm room space — notebooks and binders take up a ton of room!
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Seriously. Trust us on this. Invest in a really good pair of noise canceling headphones and never lend them out. They will more than earn their worth probably within the first few weeks of your term starting. Yes, buy them even if you think you work just fine in loud or crowded spaces. You’ll use them for more than tuning out the world when you’re studying, we promise!
Phone speakers and laptop speakers are rarely super great. And even if they’re good, their top volume isn’t all that loud. This is why you need an external speaker: to help you amplify your tunes! And be glad you’re in school now and not when your parents were younger and stereos took up alarming amounts of space. Even just a small bluetooth portable is enough to get the job done. In fact, this is probably your best option because, like charging cables, portable speakers tend to get lost quickly and often.
Smart Alarm Clock
Mom is not going to force you out of bed in the mornings when you’re at school (at least, we hope not!). You’re going to have to get yourself up and moving. This can be really hard for some people and that’s why you need a good and smart alarm clock. For one thing, you can set these alarm clocks to wake you up with ambient light that mimics the sun instead of a loud buzzing or other obnoxious noise (your roommate will thank you for this, we promise). For another, if you choose a noise-based alarm, you can program them to keep going off until you use your smartphone to scan in a specific object like the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom down the hall.
Coordinate with your roommate about the big stuff like television sets, decorations, etc. For the personal tech, though, this list should be more than enough to set you up for success!