In Focus
Oct 2, 2016

Your College Buying Guide

Kate Lawler on the things you should consider investing in to help make your college day that much easier.

Kate LawlerStaff Writer
Anna Moran for The University Times

As you walk under Front Arch and into Front Square for the first time as a student of Trinity, you may be wondering what you’ll need to help you get through the year. You may have experienced the fear that every other fresher would have received some elusive e-mail, giving them a checklist of everything they should do and buy before entering the hallowed halls of Trinity, the fear that you would be left there, like Elle Woods entering Harvard Law School with a pink fluffy pen and notepad, unprepared, like an idiot. Of course, this isn’t true but, with this fear in mind, we have prepared an inventory of items that, amidst the chaos and excitement of Freshers’ Week and the first week of term, you may have forgotten about that will help you through the year.

Getting Your Daily Fix

Investing in a travel coffee mug or a flask will save you a lot of money over the course of the year. It, first of all, it allows you to buy a jar of coffee or tea, making the whole hot beverage experience cheaper. Secondly, in many places, the cost of your coffee is cheaper when you bring your own cup. Even in accommodation, having your own mug will be easier than trying to fight someone for the last one, especially if both of you want a cup of tea. Getting a customized mug through sites like my photo mugs will make sure no one mistakes yours for theirs.

Tiger on Nassau St has a variety of different designs of travel mugs to choose from €6. Believe me, you will really notice the difference this makes to your pocket, especially during exam season.


Staying Hydrated

As a student, you will quickly start to notice how easily you end up throwing away money. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying a bottle of water every day. Unbeknownst to yourself, you could end up spending almost €10 a week on water. To avoid this pitfall, we suggest buying yourself a Bobble water bottle. Bobble water bottles are sleek, reusable bottles that filter water as you drink. Bobble water bottles allow you to use your tap water as drinking water. These can be found in shops like Arnotts for €14.95.

Sustainable Snacking

To survive the lecture tummy rumbles, pick up some on-the-go snacks. The students’ union shops – located in the Hamilton and House Six – sell packets of dried fruit and nuts and range of cereal bars, including Nutri-Grain bars for 99 cent, that are perfect for when you don’t have time for breakfast, which will be often.

Getting Connected

During your time in college, you are almost certainly going to need a laptop. While it’s worth shopping around to suit your own needs, we would recommend a MacBook. Due to the famously high prices of MacBooks, with a MacBook Air starting at over €1,000, you should check out Harvey Norman. They are currently running a cashback promotion where any laptop over €699 comes with a €100 cashback redemption. Alternatively, Apple also offers a student discount. Your nearest Harvey Norman store in Dublin is in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, accessible with the number 37 or 39 bus from Baggot St. Alternative the Click store, located in House Six, offers technology and repairs at discounts for students, and you can purchase a renovated second-hand laptop there for approximately €400. Through the union, you can also rent a laptop for €1 a day for up to two weeks.

It’s also important to buy a laptop cover to protect it from damage. You can find these at the reasonable price of €5 in Currys PC World, or you can splash out around €30 on a more personalised cover.

Staying Connected

Aside from the library, plug sockets on campus are extremely scarce, so we’d recommend investing in a portable phone charger. Click sell them for €30. They also sell earphones, with prices starting at €10, and more expensive Beats earphones for €80.

If things go wrong with your devices, the College’s IT Services or Click should be able to provide you with a solution. IT Services’s offices are located in Áras an Phiarsaigh, just off Front Square. Additionally, you won’t need to purchase the costly Microsoft Office package or internet security as IT Services offer free downloads of McAfee Norton Internet Security and the Microsoft Office package, avaliable on their website.

Saving Online

Apps are going to get you through a lot of your college life, and the following are all free in the Apple iTunes store or for Android users in the Google Play store. You’re more than likely going to be on a budget so you can use apps like InForFree and Groupon to find bargains. InForFree offers free or discounted access into nightclubs across Dublin, and Groupon is a site that offers hundreds of special offers on nights out, weekend getaways, restaurants and more. You’ll also be eligible for a lot of student discounts so be sure to sign up to discount providers. Hailo is the essential taxi app for nights out. You should also seek out the Dublin Bus app, the LUAS app and the Irish Rail app to help plan your journeys. Google Drive and Dropbox will become core parts of your student life, whether your class is sharing notes or you want to make sure you won’t lose work. For language students, Reverso is your bible. It is one of the most accurate translation services and will come in handy when you need a word as soon as possible.

Jenna Clarke-Molloy contributed research to this piece.

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