One of the most common questions I receive in my DMs is what products I have and use for school. This post is going to be straight to the point and includes links to everything I own that has been absolutely necessary for being a student.
I’ll start with the iPad. People ask me what kind I have allll the time, and is it necessary? The answer for me has been 100% HELL YES. This all depends on your school of course, but if your instructors give you downloadable powerpoints, having everything on your iPad is sooo nice. Trust me I get it, I went from paper note-taking and textbooks when I was in nursing school, and I was incredibly intimidated when people told me they recommended an iPad for CRNA school. It was a learning curve at first, but man, being able to search exact terms for what you’re looking for in a sea of lecture material….yes please. No more flipping through pages trying to find what you’re looking for, no tabs, no binders or heavy books to lug around. Given, some textbooks are just nice to have in person, I have one that’s the most commonly referenced in my program, but that’s it.
So then I’m always asked, “do I need the iPad pro?” The answer is no. Do not waste your money, you’re broke enough. If your iPad is strictly for school, you are absolutely fine with the more basic version. The only thing you need on there is your note-taking app (I use Notability), and maybe a few educational apps that you like. One thing I learned however, is that CRNA school (and probably other graduate programs) will need higher storage to accommodate for all the material. There’s just too much. I originally bought the 32G iPad before school, the cheapest option, and unfortunately this month I had to trade in my 32G for the 128G. Which honestly totally worked out fine. It was so easy to trade in my previous iPad for the larger storage one, I only had to pay like, $200 to upgrade. So. Depending on the amount of material you are going to receive in school, that will determine your storage size. If you want to keep a bunch of textbooks on your iPad I would probably suggest the 128G. If you’re hesitant to take the pricier plunge, buy the 32G, see how far it gets ya, and you can ALWAYS trade-in that iPad for an upgrade, so you’re not really out any more money than if you would have paid for the bigger size upfront.
So here’s the link to mine:
Next lies my trusty whiteboard. My desk faces my whiteboard. I sit at my desk for hours every single day. I use my whiteboard in two kinds of ways, active and passive.
When there is a suuuper difficult concept I try to draw it out. I try & put together an entire chapter/lecture/concept in one place. This is the part that takes forever. Because this is the LEARNING part. You learn as you tie everything all together in relationship with one another and once you understand that? You’ve learned the material. The next part is just maintaining and memorizing that understanding. 🧠
There comes the passive part. I leave my big drawing up on my whiteboard for days. While I could be working on something else, my whiteboard is always in direct view and I look at it often. Eventually, it becomes so familiar I can “see” the entire drawing in my head as I’m taking my test.
Everyone I know in my program has a whiteboard. I often get asked what size to get and as with everything… the bigger the better. Mine is about 3ft x 4ft and sometimes I do wish I had more space on it, but my size is definitely great and effective.
Headphones. I wear my headphones nonstop. I’m someone that has to have background music while I study or I just completely zone out. When starting school, I knew I had to buy headphones but of course was trying to stay on a student budget. I tried out two different pairs of “noise-canceling” headphones, and they just weren’t truly noise-canceling so I returned them. Sometimes you do get what you pay for. My friend in another CRNA program recommended this pair below, and yup, best investment ever. The quality is very much worth the money and if they broke this second I’d buy them again in a heartbeat.
Here they are:
In addition to those headphones, I did want a pair that wasn’t as bulky to bring with me to school, so I could pop them in at the library or in the lab and listen to lectures/music. As always, I stalk the crap out of everything I buy, and landed on these bluetooth headphones with like, the best reviews on amazon. Originally I had bought a pair for my husand for Christmas because his airpods broke, and again with my student budget mindset, I knew there had to be something of the same quality out there that isnt so expensive. After reading the reviews on these headphones I decided to buy them for my husband. Then I started stealing them for myself cause they were so great. Everyone’s saying the quality is way better than airpods, and they come in a bunch of great colors. And they’re WATERPROOF. LIke idk why you would wear these in the shower but IF YOU WANTED TO you could, and that’s just randomly cool. In the end, they’re so cheap I decided to stop stealing my husbands and bought my own pair in pink.
Ta da! And check out all of those 100K+ 5 star reviews!
A backpack that stores it all. I always need everything organized and in its place. So I knew I needed to get a backpack that had a bunch of compartments and functionality. Here’s one that can hold it all and is super durable, plus you can charge your phone and that’s cool too.
Linked below. Comes in tons of other designs too.
I also have a fun gold whiteboard calendar on my wall, so I can just look up from my desk and see all the hell that will be taking place that week.
Favorite note-taking pens:
COMPUTER STAND. I’ve got neck problems as it is and if you don’t yet, you will in school, sorry. There’s tons of computer stands out there but I wanted one that was minimal and didn’t look like some crazy metal contraption and make my desk all ugly you know? Here’s my desk.
I got tired of putting paper or whatever over my laptop camera above. Now I have these awesome easy webcam sliders so you don’t have to be paranoid that you left your video on in class.
Another common thing people ask me about is my laptop case. Here she is, just double-check on the one I linked to make sure it’s the correct size for your macbook before you order.
And lastly, random little things on my desk that help keep me in the zone:
If I’m studying in my office, 99% of the time I have a candle burning. Idk what it is, but it adds a little calm to my madness. A miniature spa if you will. Fragrance that makes you happy is a yes for me. If I’m mourning the loss of my exposure to the outdoor seasons, I’ll light a candle with a summer or winter scent to make me feel like at least seasons exist since I never leave my office and go outside. Two of my favorites are the stress relief candles from Bath & Body Works or the Mahogany Teakwood. I have a serious Bath & Body candle obsession but we’re not going to dive into that.
This last one’s super random I don’t know why I’m including it but I like them so whatever. I was looking on amazon for something naturally calming & portable that I could bring anywhere if I get stressed or just need to take a deep breath. I came across these lil’ mini inhalers and I’m actually obsessed. They have super small chunks of himalayan pink salt on the inside (which have tons of health benefits), and the inhaler includes peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and tea tree. It’s super minty kinda like those Vicks inhalers but this one’s cuter and 100% organic. I keep one on my desk and in my backpack.
That’s all for now, happy studying!
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