Before I tell you my Top Ten Techs…. Congratulations for getting in to Liverpool!
May I be one of the first to welcome you and I hope very much that you enjoy your time in this beautiful city and have a cracking First Year!
The most essential piece of kit for any student is the trusty laptop. All of you will need one of these and if you haven’t already got one its definitely worth the investment and should be one of the first things you spend your (ever depleting) student loan on. There is a temptation when starting Uni to buy the best of everything, but there’s no need to head out and buy the latest MacBook. The majority of students will use their laptop for internet browsing, word documents, and let’s be honest- Facebook. Any run of the mill laptop will suffice for this.
Tips for buying
If you’re the kind of person that will sit in lecture theatres and fiercely type up notes then think portable- light (usually below 1.5kg) and with a long battery life (+6hrs) . An Intel Core processor of i3/i5/i7 should be plenty
On a budget- these will do the job fine and are nice on the purse strings
Feeling Flush- How about these options
MACBOOK PRO (don’t forget your Uni discount)
This is not such and intuitive buy but trust me, if you’re staying at halls of residence without WiFi (Carnatic and Greenbank) you’ll thank me when you turn up with one of these bad boys. When I was in Halls they provided us with an Ethernet cable to connect to your laptop and it works like plug in broadband which not ideal if you want to use your laptop anywhere but your desk. For about £20 your laptop is now portable for you to use in all areas of your room- well worth the cost.
So the chances are you already have a phone – worry not about getting a contract with mountains of data included, the Uni campus has Wi-Fi which you use your shiny new login details to access. And if you get a Wi-Fi extender for your room you can tether your phone to that to save even more of those precious GBs.
Whilst most of you will have a smartphone I recommend investing in a £10 cheap phone for nights out (which there will be plenty of- hey that’s one of the reasons why you picked Liverpool right?). I was mugged on a night out, but after chasing them down the street I managed to get my phone back, however I really wouldn’t recommend that so just buy a cheap rubbish one that if you ‘misplace’ it isn’t the end of the world.
Now this is one I wasn’t sure whether to include, I bought a tablet halfway through the year and to be honest I’ve hardly touched it. I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.70 and whilst its light and I can use it to look things up, it doesn’t do anything my phone can’t do, albeit on a bigger screen. My advice is, if you already have a tablet then bring it along, if not don’t beat yourself up about it, and if after a few weeks at Uni you feel like you need one then get purchasing.
Speakers are must have for all the predrinks that you’ll undoubtedly be having in first year. I bought a set of speakers that double up as an alarm clock- meaning I use them every day to wake up (or not) for lectures, then you can bang it out at prees and impress everyone with your extensive Spotify collection. These speakers aren’t ideal for playing bass, so I would recommend buying a separate subwoofer to really wow people.
Now you’d think that for £9,000 a year they could afford us the luxury of free printing but no we are not deserving enough for this, although the cost is fairly low- 5p and 10p for B&W and colour respectively. If you’re the kind of person that likes to print off lecture slides, diagrams, online notes, past papers, and basically destroy a small woodland you’re going to want to buy your own. If like me you print about 5 pages a year then don’t bother. I would suggest buying a printer with a scanner built in to it, they’re not much more expensive and can be really handy for uploading handouts to your ever expanding ‘Uni Year One’ folder.
7. Extension cord
Extension leads are an absolute must have, get one with a long lead and at least 4 sockets, doesn’t need much explaining but you’ll need this to charge all the amazing kit you’ve just gone and bought.
8. MP3 player
Again MP3 players are most likely items you already have, if you have one that you’re happy with don’t go out and buy a new one, stick with what you’ve got. They come in handy for that miserable wait for the 699 in the rain, when you’re the only person in your corridor with the 9am lecture and you’re stuck on your lonesome.
9. Portable charger
A real essential as in this technological age no one wants to be without a working phone for more than five minutes. Handy just to keep in your bag fully charged for an emergency- they can range in price, although if you’re on EE you can claim your free one by texting ‘Power’ to 365 (although as a few have blown up maybe buying one is for the best).
10. External hard drive
Once reserved just for hard-core geeks now it has a place in a drawer for all of us, Uni isn’t like school or college where you can get an extension on your deadline by saying ‘my computer crashed’, you’re a real adult now and that just doesn’t fly any more. In the immortal words of Beyoncé ‘Back Up’, and get yourself one of these. Mine is 1TB which I am no way near filling up but it does mean that I won’t have to go out and buy another one at any point in the near (or far) future.
11. Super exciting bonus tech tip!
Don’t get carried away with all of this, remember you’re a student and it’s probably your first time managing your finances, make sure that you account for all of your purchases and that you won’t run out of your student loan before the next instalment comes in in January.
Finally, no piece of tech no matter how amazing will be better than the people you meet at Uni so make sure on your first day to knock on everyone’s doors, introduce yourself, and realise the power of offering cups of tea and putting a big box of biscuits on the table!