For starters: congrats! You’ve decided to take the trip down Higher Education Lane. It’s an emotional roller coaster, for sure. There’s a lot of fun to be had. There’s also a lot of stress. There’s a lot of intriguing learning to be done. Truth be told, there’s a lot of total boredom, too. Long story short, there’s just a whole of everything in college.
You want to pass your classes and earn your diploma. But don’t you also want to have fun and network? It can be tough to balance all of the different academic and social facets of college life, but there’s a simple technological device that can streamline all that “stuff” and make it manageable. You’ve probably heard of it before: the laptop.
A laptop is your real best friend in college, even more than your first roommate. Here’s how to use your PC to have the most academically and socially successful college experience possible.
First and foremost, a laptop gives you access to the Internet. If you’ve lived most of your life at home with your parents, as most of us pre-college students do, you’ve probably gotten used to having a comfortable place to browse the web.
Your home has a fast and reliable Internet connection, and maybe there’s a comfy home office for you to post up at. Or maybe you sit on your bed while you’re web browsing or streaming movies. Point is, there’s a good chance you always had a comfortable and reliable place to use the Internet.
Not always so in college. If you’re living in a dorm, you’ll probably have an Internet connection that’s being used by dozens, if not hundreds of other students.
It’s a slow connection and it crashes a lot. You might also find that your dorm room isn’t the coziest place to do your web browsing. It’s probably a small room, and you’re most likely sharing it with one or two other students. It’s cramped, and your roommates might be loud or nosy about your web activities.
Thankfully, a laptop allows you to escape the clutter of your dorm and your dorm’s lousy WiFi. You’ll be able to hole up in a coffee shop or the library to do your web work, each of which have more comfortable amenities than your dorm. And, besides, there are more cute girls or guys at those places, anyway.
Most high school students have to take notes by hand. In college, most professors allow students to take notes on laptops.
There’s a number of benefits to taking notes on a laptop. First, you can probably type faster than you can write by hand. You’ll be able to take better notes and you won’t ever miss anything the professor says (news flash: many college professors talk for two hours without stopping, giving you no chance to ask for repeats).
When you type your notes, you’re also able to print them out much more easily, and most word processing software has highlighting and editing tools that allow you to denote the most important information.
The drawback to taking notes on a laptop is that you can’t really write mathematical equations. If you’re studying the arts (perhaps you’re studying to be a painter), you won’t be able to make sketches. And if you’re bored, you won’t be able to doodle.
Ever heard of a 2-in-1 laptop? This is a laptop that incorporates tablet functionalities. The screen is touch screen, so you can tap, swipe, and draw on it.
Furthermore, the keyboard is either detachable or it folds elegantly under the display so that it doesn’t hinder your drawing. 2-in-1’s come with styluses that allow you to draw with greater precision. 2-in-1’s are optimal laptops for students who don’t want to be constrained by the typical computing experience.
They say that the most successful college students aren’t necessarily the smartest students, but the students who are able to organize themselves well. A laptop is your greatest organizational tool.
A laptop gives you digital calendars that you can synchronize across all your devices. You’re also able to set reminders to do certain tasks or go to certain events.
IF you don’t take advantage of these features, you might lose track of key assignment deadlines or forget about important networking events. Your grades and your social life could suffer if you become disorganized.
College is your time to be creative. Your laptop enables you to partake in a variety of creative endeavors. Edit photos of your hiking trip with your roommates. Create videos that highlight your first semester in school.
Sketch digital illustrations or an entire animation (very doable on a 2-in-1). Produce music and play it loud at the party next weekend. Write a novel. Blog. Record a podcast. Write up a business plan for a startup. In college, you’ll have more time than ever to do creative activities, so take advantage of it.
Let’s recap: successful college students make themselves comfortable, take good notes, stay organized, and have fun. A laptop helps you do all these tasks, seamlessly. Besides your cell phone, a laptop is one of the most important devices to have in college. Don’t let it accumulate dust!