College means ch-ch-ch-changes. The dorms are the front line of a whole new world—but not a scary one if you (or your loved one) is prepared. We’ve created a theoretical wish-list for college-bound students…not the teacher-mandated one from your high school guidance counselor, but a cool list with must-haves for the next-gen intellectual. From apps to gadgets, here’s how to kill it at college.
Different classes, courses, and clubs all carry their own commitments. The transition from high school to college can be tricky in part due to the lack of schedule—what to do with the abundant free time? Avoid rookie mistakes (ie: cramming for midterms) by making lists and setting aside study sessions via Remember the Milk, a time management, and to-do list app that syncs across all your devices.
Taking handwritten notes is proven to boost memory and learning ability. And once in a blue moon, a professor will have a no-laptops policy for their lectures. We suggest a new-age approach to an old-school, proven idea. The Moleskine Smart Writing Set is like an iPad disguised as a paper notebook. Transcribe notes during class in the paper tablet, and it will automatically capture each pen stroke and transfer it to a screen in real time, allowing users to edit, organize and share their scribbles.
It wouldn’t be college without textbooks. While some of your required reading may be available online, the bulk of it is not. Enter I.R.I.S.’s Air Pen: the highlighter of the future! Drag this ingenious smart pen over selected passages, and the text will instantly appear on your PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices—it can even translate the text into 55 languages! This is fantastic for studying on the go; instead of dragging a book around town, simply scan the important snippets into your iPhone.
Just Say No
It’s hard to finish a paper when your social media accounts are calling—but the internet is also a necessity for 99% of school assignments. Luckily there’s SelfControl, an aptly named website and app that enables you to block specific websites for any period of time. This is also a nice carrot-on-the-stick trick for studying; use BuzzFeed or Netflix as the reward for time well spent.
Time Is of the Essence
On a similar note, we strongly suggest wearing a watch, and we’re currently obsessed with Obaku’s watch design. Nowadays, if we want to know the time, we check our phone…and then get sucked into the notification vortex. A wrist watch is also important for maintaining a good test-taking pace during exams since wall clocks aren’t always a sure thing—and whipping out an iPhone is typically verboten.
Catching Some Zs
You can sleep when you graduate (kidding). Tune out study-time distractions or dorm-room snorers with Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Speaking as a recent college grad, noise-cancelling headphones are positively, absolutely necessary to survive and thrive in the dorms.
Nap: Real talk: how to be a good napper is one of the most important skills you’ll learn in college—it’s a critical subset of time management, and you can literally do it in your sleep! The Power Nap App helps students become A+ nappers by helping to train them to catch a few Zs between classes to boost alertness and productivity.
Create memories that double as dorm room decor! The Fuji Instax Instant Camera has all the instant gratification of an old-school Polaroid camera—but smaller, faster and available in trendy pastel hues. We love the over-exposed look these snaps have once developed, giving photos a 1970s vibe and removing facial blemishes. In an ever-digitizing world, a physical photo feels even more special.
Keeping It 100
Fully charged phone, keys, wallet—good to go seize the day. Don’t wind up stranded across campus with a dead phone. This mighty wristlet charges your phone while holding your keys, cards, and cash.
Pro tip: Wrangle all of these essentials with a hip, all-purpose backpack! Herschel’s Little America boasts pin-striped, padded pockets for your phone and a larger one for your laptop and notebooks.
We hope this virtual orientation was helpful for students plugging into their first year of college. And once students finish their freshman year, doors open for study abroad opportunities…check in next Thursday for more on that! With a positive attitude and open mind, there’s so much to learn—in the classroom, in the dorms and beyond.
Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.