Life at college can be made fun with gadgets and furniture that make living a whole lot easier and provide an element of excitement and relief. Here is a list of fun gadgets and furniture that any college student, about to embark on dormitory living, should bring to school.
* Computer for work, play and communication with family and friends.
A laptop with Internet capabilities is most useful as you can do your assignments, communicate with your family and friends and access some form of entertainment such as games, on-line movies and radio and playback functions as well. Call it a one-stop commodity if you like.
* Portable modem
Although it may be a slightly more expensive gadget, a portable modem is small and lightweight, one that you can activate anywhere on the college grounds especially if your college does not provide any wireless connection. With a portable modem, you are connected wherever you go.
Even if you have a desktop, consider getting a portable modem as you can use that with a borrowed laptop besides accessing the Internet on your desktop with it. Besides convenience, you can also keep it safely tucked away whenever you do not need it as portable modems can be as tiny as a thumb drive these days.
* Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) such as O2, NEO
If you opt for a desktop, consider getting a personal digital assistant as it offers you mobility and you can save time doing your work on it and then downloading it onto your desktop when you get back to your dormitory. You can still connect to the world and execute many of the functions that you can with a desktop or a laptop although you would be straining your eyes.
PDAs are useful for planning your assignments, keeping tab of events and budget and expenditure and for communication. Some PDAs have great recording functions as well and give clear photographic and short digital recordings. This may prove an asset to your studies if your subject combination requires you to document photographs of your work and places you go to.
Many telecommunications companies offer good and affordable bundles consisting of desktop or laptop, PDA and connection plans.
* Spare batteries
Have spare batteries for your hand-phone, your PDA and laptop in case you cannot get a supply of electricity for them easily. Make it a habit to get them fully charged daily as it ensures that you stay connected and you can still get work done in the case of a massive blackout. These electronic gadgets also act as a portable light source in the case of an emergency.
* Cheap hand-phone with the best available plan
Some telecommunications companies offer bundle services which include the Internet, Broadband and telephone services. If you do not have a PDA-phone, the next best item would be an I-phone or a 3G phone which allows you to go on the Internet if there is an absolute need to. A hand-phone would help you keep the blues away, contact family and friends and can double up as a radio or music player as well as a digital camera.
* Simple rack or storage for condiments.
Condiments can come in handy on one of those days when the food order seems out of sorts and the food tastes revolting. A dash of salt, Tabasco or Tomato Ketchup and Chili sauce may save the day. A rack for condiments can also add an atmosphere of homeliness to an otherwise dull-looking dormitory.
* Mini-refrigerator or icebox
These may take up a little space in the crowded dormitory. However, a refrigerator is another item that can make your dormitory feel like home. Stock it up with bread, milk, cheese, ham, pre-prepared salad packs, and any item that can make a simple meal. You may need to be energised during one of those unfortunate days on which your brain seems to have taken a trip to Cancun on its own and you simply cannot but burn the midnight oil to get your assignments completed on time.
* Mini-oven or microwave oven
A mini-oven or microwave oven is great for warming or heating up pre-prepared food for those last minute or sickly days. Between a mini-oven and a microwave oven, a mini-oven may be a better choice as you can warm up a dish of milk in it with fewer risks.
* Multi-purpose storage boxes.
These come in solid wood or plastic boxes that can double up as mini-tea tables, stools and window-box seats. Smaller ones can also be tucked away under beds or in a neat corner. The advantages of having these storage boxes is that you can move them around fairly quickly and with little packing as everything you need is already nicely sorted out and arranged in them.
You may ask what to store in them. You could keep a set of tea items such as cups for hot drinks, cutlery and crockery with saucers that can double up as plates.
* Foldable bedding.
A Japanese-style tatami bedding adds an unique slant to the idea of a multi-purpose dormitory. It also saves space in a crammed room as it can be folded up and tucked neatly into a box seat, freeing the room of bed space and thus making room in the day for more floor space to work on. It can also be folded up neatly to form a cushion for a floor seat. A favorite set of bed spreads and pillows (freshly laundered, of course) would add a touch (and smell) of home and put you to peaceful sleep in an unfamiliar place.
* Musical instrument or games equipment.
If you play a portable musical instrument such as a guitar or harmonica, or a game, remember to bring it along to school. Nothing beats having a hobby in a faraway place. Everyone needs some form of relaxation and to get out of studies for a while. You will find yourself studying better once you are relaxed.
There are likely other gadgets and furniture that you may think of bringing along to school. Do bear in mind, if you are sharing a dormitory room with one other mate, only half the space belongs to you. It would be a good idea if you could pay a visit to the dormitory and make plans with your dormitory mate before actually shifting your belongings in. You will then have a better start to your first day being away from home and at school.