College looks different this year; here’s how you can be prepared

The ‘20-’21 school year is in full swing, and those entering college couldn’t be more excited. Despite the global pandemic, most students are still living on their college campuses and attending classes in one way or another. If you are on the lookout for the best school tech and dorm-room essentials. Here are some of the products that I’ve found so far.

A desk full of school supplies, such as a notebook, coffee, a Macbook, pens, a phone, and textbooks.
Credit: Rocketbook

The ‘20-’21 school year is in full swing, and those entering college couldn’t be more excited. Despite the global pandemic, most students are still living on their college campuses and attending classes in one way or another. If you are on the lookout for the best school tech and dorm-room essentials. Here are some of the products that I’ve found so far.

Adonit Note-M

My iPad Pro basically runs my entire life. It is my main driver for work, entertainment, and anything else I can justify using it for. The Adonit Note-M is the first-ever dual-function mouse stylus. That’s right, this thing is both a stylus and a mouse. I don’t use a mouse often, but I want to use the Note-M every time I’m on my iPad. Compared to a mouse, it has every necessary function: Mouse sensor, left and right-click, and a touch-sensitive scrolling wheel. Along with these mouse functions, the Note-M is a stylus that magnetically attaches to the iPad Pro just like the Apple Pencil.

Kensington USB-C 4-Port Hub

One of the only downsides to the iPad Pro is the lack of USB Ports. The Kensington USB-C 4-Port Hub expands the productivity capabilities of my iPad. With two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports, I can plug in a mouse, keyboard, or flash drive to use with my iPad. This device stays in my backpack at all times and has come in handy numerous times.

Envoy Pro Mini Ultra-Portable SSD

For my work, I have a lot of content on my computer. When I bought my iPad a few years ago, I went with the 64GB storage option. I was just trying to save a few bucks, but I quickly realized that this was not nearly enough storage for me. The Envoy Pro Mini Ultra-Portable SSD has been the perfect solution for me. With three capacity options ranging from 240GB to 1.0TB, I was able to find the perfect option for my work. Also, the device is super portable and clean-looking, which makes a huge difference for me.


I love tech products and anything that puts a tech spin on an otherwise basic product. We’ve all used paper notebooks for our whole lives. They’re just kind of… everywhere. The Rocketbook looks like a standard notebook but actually has some very unique features. When you finish writing on a page, you can transfer its contents to the connected app by scanning the QR code in the bottom corner. From here, you can share your work to Google Drive, OneDrive, Email, or other digital locations. The pages can then be erased and reused. Now, I only have to carry one notebook, and it’s easier than ever to find my old notes with the search function!

Anker Soundcore Life Headphones

Maybe you are taking mostly online classes right now. Here’s a solution to your audio needs. Anker Soundcore has the perfect pair of headphones for online classes and daily use. The Anker Soundcore Q10s are only $40, and the Q20s are $60. Each of these headphones is a fantastic budget option. They still feature high-quality sound and design. The Q20s are a little bit sturdier with a better build quality. However, the biggest upgrade from the Q10s to the Q20s is the active noise cancellation. I’ve learned that these are perfect for blocking out background noise while I work in a loud environment.

Philips Charging Cables

As a technology geek, I always have an array of devices with me that need to be charged. Philips charging cables are reliable and high quality. I always have at least two in my backpack that I take with me everywhere. The cables are braided and very clean-looking. Whenever I need a charge, I know that my Philips cables will get the job done. If you are in college, you might find many of the same benefits — even if you are stuck at home.

Coalatree Compass Backpack

All of the gear listed above, and so much more, stay with me at all times. Therefore, I need a reliable backpack to carry it all. I love the design of the Coalatree Compass Backpack. I have the grey colored one, but it also comes in blue and green. This bag is water-repelling, slash-proof, and contains enough pockets to hold all of my daily gear. I’ve received numerous compliments on this bag, and it will continue to be my daily carry-all for the foreseeable future.

ZVOX SB380 Soundbar

Do you love setting up your dorm room with all of your tech products?. You might consider a TV. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the quality of TV speakers. Therefore, I searched for a soundbar to compliment my TV. As a  college student, product cost is likely  important to you. The ZVOX SB380 soundbar is only $200, and it still packs a punch. It can be mounted, put on a shelf, or put in front of the TV. This soundbar also has customizable audio features like dialogue boost and output leveling. These unique customization features allow me to find the perfect audio settings for any situation.

Verilux Smartlight LED Floor Lamp 

Another great addition to any dorm room is the Verilux Smartlight LED Floor Lamp. This floor lamp is unique in that it has multiple settings for the light. Unfortunately, the lamp does not have fun colors like red, blue, and green. Instead, it has multiple shades of white. This is perfect to use if your  roommate is asleep because, in addition to multiple color settings, the lamp also has multiple brightness settings. The lamp can also be angled to point in any direction that you desire.

PureZone Tabletop Air Purifier

Everyone knows the stereotype that guys’ dorm rooms are disgusting. A lot of the time, that stereotype holds true. Some people in dorm rooms bring in some very interesting smells. The PureZone Desktop Air Purifier can do  an outstanding job at combating these smells. This small, yet mighty, air purifier sits on my desk and works 24/7 to clean and sanitize the air from 99.97% of all dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and other odors. In addition, it reduces harmful airborne germs. I’m confident that the air in any dorm room will always be clean and fresh.

Soundcore Wakey

I absolutely love wireless charging. There’s just something about putting my phone down and watching it magically begin charging that makes me giddy. Wakey is a wireless charger, alarm clock, Bluetooth speaker, and sound machine all in one, and it’s become the perfect bedside product for me. It connects to an app that controls alarms, sleep sounds, brightness, and even the radio. When I go to sleep, I place my phone on top, the LED clock automatically dims, and the alarm gently wakes me up in the morning. I’ve officially said goodbye to using the annoying iPhone ringtones as an alarm, and I’m so relieved. It seems perfect for college dorms.

Nomadix Go-Anywhere Multi-Purpose Towel

For me, versatility is key when it comes to purchasing new products. The Nomadix towel is a great example of a product that is incredibly versatile. I’ve used it as a standard beach or bath towel, a blanket for both warmth and picnics, and I’ve even considered hanging it on my wall as a tapestry. It’s soft, durable, sand resistant, and packs down to be super small. Simply put, this towel is more useful than I ever thought a towel could be.