There are all sorts of tips and tricks for hacking college success. You’ve undoubtedly read countless articles on how to get along with your roommate, how to set up your room so that it’s amenable to studying and socialising, how to use the Pomodoro technique to get better at studying and staying on task, etc. In this post, we thought it would be a good idea to offer you some tips for the tech side of your college experience.
Backup Backup Backup
And then back up your backup. There are a lot of different tools that you can use for this. You’ll likely have some cloud storage that you can use. And, of course, you’ll want to save everything to flash drives/usb drives as well as to your computer’s own hard drive. For very important assignments, you might even want to print out a copy to keep on hand, just in case.
Dealing with an Epic Tech Fail
It will happen at least once during your time as a college student: techno armageddon. Your computer doesn’t just glitch, it totally fails. Your phone bricks up unexpectedly. All of your electronics seem to go belly up all at once. Some of these problems you’ll be able to fix yourself or with a quick visit to a service provider.
In some extreme cases, however, like if your laptop starts to wig out and you lose a bunch of data and none of your ports will recognise your drives, you might need a service to come to you. It might seem excessive to call an onsite data recovery team to your dorm room but you know what? When you have less than 24 hours to turn in the thesis you’ve been working on all semester that is worth 90% of your grade, you do what needs to be done.
Prevention is Key
Typically epic laptop meltdowns happen because your computer is filled with a bunch of junk that you don’t use or no longer need. Old cookies, temporary internet files, a semester-long history, bits and bytes of programs or apps that you’ve long since deleted, etc. They pile up like laptop molasses. To prevent them from going up your computer’s functionality, clean out your machine regularly. Run a program like CCleaner to remove all of that extra stuff and to keep your hard drive squeaky clean and hyper-functional.
Block Out the Bad Guys
College networks are notoriously unsafe. Hundreds of devices are accessing it at the same time and it is unlikely that your school has a minimum security requirement for device protection. This means that the guy who skips all of his classes to play WoW all day could be allowing a steady stream of malware infect the network without anybody realising it. Or perhaps you put virus software on your laptop but skipped it on your phone and suddenly everybody’s smartphones are taken over by ransomware. You can’t force your floor-mates to use your preferred security setup but you can take some extra steps to protect your own devices from viruses and other problems. Make sure you take them.
Protecting Yourself From Yourself
Now that we’ve covered the physical tech tips, let’s talk about the personal tech tips. Here are some tips for making sure you don’t wind up using tech to become your own worst email.
Address Last: We have all clicked send too quickly on an email and instantly regretted it. To reduce this risk, wait until you have checked your messages for errors and made sure that you really want to send them before you type in the recipient’s email address.
One Password to rule them all? Absolutely not! That’s practically hacker bait. Every login must have its own (egregiously complicated) password. Use your computer’s “keychain” or a password protection app to help you remember or even create passwords for each service you use.
Syncing is Your Friend: When choosing your software and apps, aim for those that will sync across your different devices. This way you don’t have to keep copying your notes, projects, etc. from one device to another manually. You will save yourself tons of time and effort.
Project Management: Find an app to help you manage all of the different projects (and their various steps) in one location. Analog lovers can try using a bullet journal but if your technically inclined apps like EverNote, 2Do, OneNote, Trello, etc. are great for helping you track your project details from all of your classes in one location.
College is a fantastic experience and now that you know how to protect your tech (and yourself) and use it to your advantage, it should be smooth sailing as well.