7 Tech Prod­ucts to Help You Make It Through This School Year

NOVO - - YOUR DIGITAL DORM ROOM - by Stephanie Greenall

When gear­ing up for your first year at col­lege or univer­sity, it’s easy to go a lit­tle over­board with de­vices. I’ve seen back-to-school guides rec­om­mend­ing ev­ery­thing from tele­vi­sions to smart fridges, but un­less you’re rent­ing a whole wing of dorm rooms, you won’t be fit­ting any of those ap­pli­ances in your new pad. If you’re look­ing to sur­vive your first year away from home here’s a list of gad­gets I wish I had when I started school.

Sam­sung Gear VR Head­set

The Sam­sung Gear VR ($89 US) was made for dorm life! This de­light­ful gad­get would have made liv­ing with a room­mate a whole lot eas­ier when I was in univer­sity. In­stead of be­ing paired with a fel­low night owl, the school’s al­go­rithm de­cided that some­one who en­joyed early bird din­ners and a bed­time that could ri­val any grand­par­ent would be my per­fect match. Af­ter long lec­tures and hours spent at the li­brary, all I wanted to do was curl up and watch my favourite shows in bed. This was al­ways met with grum­bles and moans about the light from my screen. I would have loved to lay back in my bunk bed and binge with­out the com­plaints of my cell­mate. In case you find your­self teth­ered to a geri­atric room­mate, I sug­gest grab­bing the Gear VR, it will be the per­fect tool for a much-needed es­cape and of course a sta­ple for your post-sec­ondary suc­cess.

Bose Quiet Com­fort 35 Noise-Can­celling Head­phones

Whether you are drown­ing out your room­mate’s didgeri­doo – it ac­tu­ally hap­pened to me – or try­ing to find peace and quiet in a noisy li­brary, a pair of noise can­celling head­phones will help you main­tain your san­ity. I tried to make it through univer­sity with a cou­ple of sets of ear­buds and failed mis­er­ably. The Bose QC35 wire­less head­phones ($350 US) would have made the per­fect ad­di­tion to my dorm’s ar­se­nal of tech. The QC35 fea­tures Acous­tic Noise Can­celling Tech­nol­ogy that con­tin­u­ously mea­sures, com­pares, and re­acts to out­side noise – then can­cels them out with the op­po­site sig­nal. With 20 hours of bat­tery life and a large cup of cof­fee, you’ll be able to make it through all of those all-nighters.

Fit­Bit Blaze Smart Fit­ness Watch

Armed with a meal plan and an ice cream buf­fet, I learned the har­row­ing

truth about the Fresh­man Fif­teen. For those of you who are im­mune to the call­ing of an all-you-can-eat buf­fet, I am in awe of your will power. If you need a lit­tle help keep­ing your health in check, why not try a fit­ness tracker? I’ve been a long-time fan of Fit­Bit and have re­lied on my Fit­Bit Blaze ($199 US) to keep me in line. This wear­able isn’t just for the ath­let­i­cally in­clined; it fea­tures guided breath­ing ses­sions to get you through ex­ams and re­minders to move when you’ve been trapped at the li­brary all day. So don’t worry if you over-in­dulge, just make sure you get those 10,000 steps in!

Lap­top Locks

When na­ture calls and you’ve got a prime spot in the li­brary what do you do? Pack up your lap­top and risk los­ing the seat by the only work­ing out­let, or do you leave your com­puter and hope you make it back be­fore some­one swipes it? I found my­self in this sit­u­a­tion quite a few times, but I was lucky the only thing that went miss­ing was a cho­co­late bar. If you’re not much of a gam­bler, a lap­top lock will put your mind at ease. Most lap­tops fea­ture a Kens­ing­ton Se­cu­rity Slot (or K-Slot), which al­lows you to an­chor a ca­ble to your com­puter and se­cure it to a ta­ble. With the Kens­ing­ton Com­bi­na­tion Ul­tra Lap­top Lock ($30 US) your prized pos­ses­sion won’t be walk­ing off with­out you. For MacBooks, your best bet is a teth­ered ca­ble from Try­ten ($35 US). The sin­gle­piece lock se­cures into an adapter that mounts on your de­vice. It’s bet­ter to be safe than sorry!

Sea­gate Backup Plus Ul­tra Slim

If you are go­ing to learn one thing in univer­sity, it should be to backup your files! Af­ter

des­per­ately push­ing my PC tower through the snow in a shop­ping cart to the cam­pus IT cen­tre, I dis­cov­ered the hor­ri­fy­ing re­al­ity of data loss. To avoid a tear­ful trip of your very own you might want to in­vest in a por­ta­ble stor­age drive. The Sea­gate Backup Plus Ul­tra Slim ($59 US) is small enough to tuck in your back­pack and pro­vides you with a ter­abyte of space. The drive is com­pat­i­ble with both PCs and Macs and comes in a choice of two stylish fin­ishes (gold and plat­inum). It’s not worth the risk of los­ing your files, don’t leave home with­out an ex­ter­nal hard drive. Be­lieve me.

Smart­phone Apps

Un­like stu­dents to­day, my mo­bile was an ar­chaic flip phone. There were no apps to speak of and if I wanted to lis­ten to mu­sic I had to carry an ad­di­tional de­vice. Now I con­sider my smart­phone an ex­ten­sion of my body and I would rather lose an arm than my iPhone. With fold­ers full of apps, I de­pend on their abil­ity to or­ga­nize and con­nect me to the dig­i­tal world. For a new stu­dent, a smart­phone is the per­fect tool to help guide them through their school year. To track as­sign­ments, projects, and classes the my Home­work app will keep even the most dis­or­ga­nized stu­dent in line. If you have a pas­sion for lists – like my­self – Wun­derlist is the app to help you or­ga­nize and share your to-dos. Do you need help study­ing? Flash­cards Deluxe al­lows you to cre­ate a dig­i­tal deck to help you mem­o­rize just about any­thing. It turns out if you need help in school, there’s an app for that! All th­ese apps are avail­able on iOS and An­droid.

The Tile App

If you’re the kind of per­son who would lose your head if it wasn’t screwed on, then it’s time to grab a Tile or two. The Blue­tooth tracker clips to ev­ery­thing from your keys to your pass­port. With a new el­e­gant de­sign and twice the Blue­tooth range than the pre­vi­ous model, the Tile Style ($35 US) is the per­fect bal­ance of form and func­tion. Us­ing the app, the Tile will ring if nearby, or it can pro­vide you with its last known lo­ca­tion. The Tile not only keeps track of your ev­ery­day es­sen­tials, but also pre­vents you from los­ing your mind. Th­ese handy giz­mos make for a great go­ing away gift; I have been known to hand them out to many of my scat­ter­brained friends.

From VR head­sets to fit­ness track­ers, you can up­grade all the gad­gets you want, but just re­mem­ber that none of th­ese de­vices will re­place a good old­fash­ioned study ses­sion. You can’t use tech to cheat your way to good grades … well un­less you’re a ro­bot!

Bose Qui­etCom­fort 35 Noise-Can­celling Head­phones

Fit­Bit Blaze Smart Fit­ness Watch

Kens­ing­ton Com­bi­na­tion Ul­tra Lap­top Lock

Sam­sung Gear VR Head­set

Top: Sea­gate Backup Plus Ul­tra Slim. Bot­tom: The Tile App

myHome­work app screen­shot

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