Along with posters, plants, bedding and towels, your off-to-school planning includes a long list of necessities and just-for-fun items designed for a new chapter in your life. Leaving the planning and packing until the last minute adds to the stress of your looming big adventure. Whether you write down everything you use for an entire week or start with a blank slate, start early and avoid an "I-forgot" shopping trip when you arrive on campus.
Unless you live in a college town and plan to attend a school in your own backyard, your scholastic adventures after high school start the clock on your life away from home. To ease the transition to an unfamiliar city, your smartphone offers you maps and directions, entertainment guides and all the other insights that can make the difference between finding your way and missing out on everything your new home has to offer. Compare coverage maps before you choose a carrier and look for the best signal strength in your target location. To help you plan and pack, pick up a what-to-take checklist app.
Get to Work
If your parents offered you a brand-new notebook computer as an off-to-school present, pick out a model with the processor speed, RAM and drive capacity to survive your studies. Depending on your major, you may demand a lot from your system to support 3D renderings, scientific computations, graphic-arts designs or engineering models, so check your school's computer recommendations and any suggestions offered by your major department.
A handful of flash drives helps you share research with a study group and transport work in progress to the library. To keep your dorm-based study space well lit, pick up a desk lamp and outfit it with an LED bulb for cool operation and long life. Some campuses ban the use of halogen lighting in their dorms because of the heat these lights generate. Along with your other study assists, pack some earplugs to screen out the dorm noise.
Even if you do your own laundry at home, college life adds some new twists to washing your own laundry. Some campuses include laundromat privileges as part of your room and board, with a scan of your student ID providing access to the equipment. The high-efficiency washer at home demands HE laundry detergent to minimize suds and maximize cleaning, but you may not have access to comparable equipment during campus life. Instead of lugging a jug of detergent and the rest of the laundry liquids with you from home, plan to check out the facilities and pick up your products after you get to campus. You'll save enough trunk space for an extra set of bed linens or more clothes.
You can acquire, manage and sync your music and video library on your smartphone and notebook computer, but cranking up the tunes on a pair of earphones doesn't do your hearing any favors. To pump up the volume in style, bring along an audio dock to which you can connect your smartphone for room-filling sound. A wireless model streams tunes from any Bluetooth device, including your laptop and your roommate's MP3 player, through a convenient app.
Photo Credits: Describe the Fauna/Demand Media
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