Tom Bihn Ego
Tom Bihn Ego (Photo credit: Stef Noble)

For many students entering college for the first time, the question of preparedness is one of utmost importance: not just if you have enough money to live on, or how you’ll handle your classes, but whether or not you have everything you need to live, play, and work at college. Even students in accredited online college programs are finding themselves buried beneath mounting costs. Some of the things you’ll need are obvious, like a toothbrush, or a computer, while some are much better shrouded. There are, however, a handful of electronic things that every college student will make use of, to varying degrees.

1. Hot Pot – A simple hot pot can prevent dorm room starvation. A warming element with a pot on top of it to cook things in. For many dorms, you won’t be able to use a full power microwave, much less a stove but you can boil water and make a Cup O Noodles, which is all you should be eating in college anyway. Nutrition is for graduates.

2. E-Reader – Something every college student will become intimately familiar with, no matter the field of study is reading. If you go to college, you should try to like it.  A modern day E-reader, then, is a perfect idea for a farewell gift, or a housewarming present; the size of a legal envelope, an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle, can hold thousands of books for both for leisure and other. Its non-volatile flash memory – this means that if you drop it or shake it, you don’t lose your books. More than that, with many vendors hopping on the cloud computing bandwagon, your books are never lost when deleted, and you can even share books with friends.

3. Maxell AirStash – I hesitate, often, to recommend specific products; in this case, however, there are no real alternatives to this product. What it is, is a USB thumbdrive with a built in WiFi Access Point. What that means to you is that you can add files and folders to your thumbdrive, pull it out of your computer, and then access the files – wirelessly – from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Even devices with an ‘i’ in front of the name will have no problems transferring data to this little product. It’s a lifesaver, often times, and a convenience all of the time.

4. Eye-Fi SD Cards – Many of us take pictures: we take them often, we take quite a few of them, and then we struggle with syncing, and keeping the photos we want. This product takes the wires out of the equation, leaving you with just wireless networking; taking apart the black spaghetti in front of us allows us to think much more clearly about the task in front of us. More than just that, though, this little product allows you to – wirelessly, mind you – instantly and painlessly upload any photos you take with your camera to your favorite photo sharing websites. An inspired idea, marrying two very simple products, something that, photography students especially, will come to cherish.

5. Tom Bihn Bags – When buying something expensive, buying the cheapest accessories is a questionable decision. Being realistic, students carry over a thousand dollars on their backs to and from class every day. From a laptop to an e-reader to assorted small devices like a smartphone, camera, etc. Who could trust protecting all of this technology with a bargain basement bag from a major department store?

Tom Bihn hand makes his bags in Seattle – they’re U.S. made, with U.S. labor, using U.S. sourced materials. These bags are all thoughtfully designed: no matter what you need, it’s very likely Mr. Bihn has created something that fits you perfectly. Peace of mind comes with Tom Bihn products: every bag made carries a lifetime warranty, no questions asked; your bag is even returned to the same seamstress who made it, when possible. These bags may be on the expensive side, but investing in a Tom Bihn bag is an investment you make over a ten, fifteen year period, or longer.

Thanks to the Internet, these days if you need something you can find it and ship it to your house. A prospective college student will need many things, these items are usually simple, everyday things that combine features, or make the everyday tedium a little more bearable. Creature comforts are the name of the game here, things that make adjusting to living on your own just that much easier.

Tech Review for College Students: What You Need Besides Online Access 2

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