By Kara Apel, University of South Carolina alumna
The excitement of starting school and coming back to campus has died down a little — it's back to the grueling days of class and homework.
Here are some gadgets that can not only make your life a little easier but also provide some entertainment.
The Flying Alarm Clock
As someone who is nowhere near being a morning person, getting up for an 8 a.m. class is absolute torture. For those of you who've ever overslept and missed something important, you know how stressful it can be when you're worried about waking up on time. Luckily, ThinkGeek has a solution for you. Its Flying Alarm Clock is an absolute lifesaver. It sets a little circular key into the air when your alarm goes off — and will not turn off until you get up and find the key and place it back in the slot. At only $20, this alarm clock is perfect for those of you who need an extra push to get up in the morning.
I don't personally own one of these yet, but I hope to get one soon. For those of you who don't have a gaming system like an Xbox or Playstation that can hook up to the Internet, the Roku provides a way to get streaming shows and movies on your TV. My best friend swears by it — and for $98, it could be a great way to get your Netflix on your TV without having to buy a new TV or gaming system.
So this isn't quite a gadget, it's more of an app — but it's one of the coolest web applications I've seen in recent years. You install the Spotify software on your computer and can download any song you want for FREE. For those of you who don't want to spned money on iTunes or download music illegally, this is a great option. If you pay $9.99 per month, you can access the music on your iPod or phone or even on your computer when its offline. For music lovers, this is a great deal and makes an easy way for you to have a rocking party playlist without coughing up money.
This is an oldie, but a goodie. You really can't go wrong with having an iHome. Not only can you play your iPod on it, but you can also listen to the radio — and even use it as an alarm clock if you wish. The price range varies, so you can budget and pay what you want to spend. If you don't need a lot of frills, you can get one for $50 or under easily.
There are many debates surrounding Kindle vs. Nook. While I'm no expert to say which one is better, I think a device like this is a great addition to any chic college student's toolkit. Not only can you buy books cheaper than you would getting a paperback edition, you also can access the thousands of free literature that's already out there. The battery lasts a while and is very user friendly. If you love to read, this could be a great investment.
(Image credit: Think Geek)