Electronics must-haves for university

The time has come to leave high school for Uni? Here are the must-haves for your new student life!

Summary

  1. Essential equipment
  2. Essential accessories
  3. Useful apps and websites

1. Essential equipment

📱 Your smartphone

It will allow you to communicate with your classmates, to record your classes, and even to take notes as a backup.
💡 There are keyboards that can be connected directly to phones for note-taking, even if this is not a lasting solution, it can be very useful!

💻 A laptop/tablet

To take notes, download course materials, etc. This is becoming more and more of an essential need for students. To choose the perfect one for you, you will first have to list your power, storage, and battery life needs.
⚠️ Be aware that it is not suitable for all courses, for example, if you need to retain a lot of information, or if there are a lot of diagrams, sketches, etc. handwritten notes may still be preferable.

🔋 A power bank

It will be your new best friend: for those lecture halls plugs that are always in the wrong place, for those long rides in public transportation or for coming home from a party with battery! There are power banks for all budgets, all sizes, some lighter than others, etc. As for battery power, if you want to be able to recharge your phone several times without charging it in between, opt for one with around 10,000mAh or more.

💾 External storage

A USB stick to store files that are not necessarily useful on a daily basis and/or to transfer files from one device to another or to a printer for example. If you have a lot of files or photos that clutter up your devices you can also opt for a hard drive.

🎧 Headphones

Great for long rides and to stay distraction-free while you're working.

💸 Good to know

To get all these devices, but especially for your computer, don't hesitate to ask around to see if you can get financial aid. You can for example ask your school, or the region or the department! You can consider flash sales websites or refurbished products to save money. Also look out for offers from major retailers at certain times of the year, such as Christmas, Black Friday, etc., to get your equipment at a reduced price or even loyalty offers such as vouchers for every euro spent!

2. Essential accessories

🎒 A proper bag

With a laptop sleeve, lots of compartments and that won't budge like your handbag under the weight of your textbooks. Basically, look for something sturdy, comfortable, with pockets on the sides and inside, preferably waterproof to avoid panicking whenever it rains.

🔌 Cables

For file transfer, smooth presentations before your class or working on multiple screens: you at least need a USB cable that connects to your phone (preferably extra-long) and an HDMI cable. You may also want to get an Ethernet cable, which is useful in case of any wireless network issues.

3. Useful apps and websites

👩🏻‍💻 For every day

The Microsoft Office pack, probably the most useful, which you can normally get for free with your student email address or via your school!

🗂️ To organise your work when working in groups

If that's often the case, in addition to using file-sharing tools, there are some collaboration apps or websites that you can use such as Trello.
For your solo work, you can use classic calendars like google calendar or apps like MyHomework: we can't guarantee that you won't do anything at the last minute, but at least you won't miss a deadline again because you completely forgot that the assignment existed! 🗓️

📊 For your presentations

Consider Canva, the easy-to-use graphic design platform (free version available and you can try out the pro version for a year as a student) and template websites such as Slidesgo.

🧠 For all your studying

Consider flashcard websites such as Quizlet: well-known for studying vocabulary for foreign languages classes but you can use it to remember all sorts of things like important dates.

⌨️ For your written assignments

If, as part of your training, you have to write a lot of essays or assignments in general, you need to know about two types of websites: those that check for spelling mistakes (in addition to the automatic system in Word, for example, you have sites like Scribens or Cordial for French or Grammarly for English); and those that help you reference your sources in your bibliography, such as Scribbr.

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