We’re in the modern world, everything is paperless now! Er, except for that paper that’s due tomorrow, and the fact that trying to fit a laptop on those tiny desks in lecture halls is all but impossible so you have to take notes on paper – and if you want to take notes on the slides themselves you have to print them somehow, but do you actually need your own printer?
Where can you find a printer? Depending on where you live, and possibly who with, getting access to a printer might be almost insanely easy, or it might be like trying to trek to the North Pole in swimwear. If you live pretty close to any college buildings with a computer room, then they should have a printer – and they’ll (nearly) always have toner and paper. Your college might charge you for printing or give you a certain number of credits for free – check this out! If you’re really lucky then your roommate or someone else nearby might have a printer, you can use for free. If they do be sure to chip in to buy ink otherwise eventually you’ll be “that printer guy/gal”.
How organized are you? If you’re going to be relying on college printers or one belonging to someone else, then you’re going to have to be organized – no more finishing papers the morning they’re due and then hoping to find an available machine. You will have to be finished the day before at least so you can guarantee you can find a printer and print it. On the other hand, if you’re disorganized then a printer might not be for you – you have to make sure you have enough paper and ink otherwise you’ll try to print only to end up making a mad dash for campus anyway.
How cheaply can you get a printer? If you get given a printer as a present or already own one, then theoretically the bulk of the cost is already dealt with. But how much does ink or toner cost? If you’re going to buy a printer, I would suggest getting a black and white laser printer. These use toners instead of ink and you generally get a much higher print quality, it’s faster and while the initial cost might be higher in the long run it will be much cheaper. Be careful with inkjet printers – make sure you turn it off when you’re not using it as the ink dries up much quicker when the printer is waiting for you to print something.
Do you have the space? Dorm rooms are pretty small, not to mention the car you’re trying to fit everything in when moving to and from them! If you’re short on space, then your printer should be one of the first things on your list to go – you do have other options.
Is it just a printer? All-in-one printers are now the norm, so you get a scanner built into your printer which is pretty handy for photocopying things and scanning things in, but do you really need this? Unless you’re going to scanning things on a regular basis then it’s not something you need.
Overall you will need a printer during your time at college – but not necessarily your own. And if it’s wireless don’t forget to take a USB cable with you – being able to print if your network suddenly goes walkies is very helpful, plus if your Wi-Fi is supplied by your college then there will be a bunch of other people on it – do you really want to share your printer with anyone who can see it?
Do you have a printer? Do you think it’s a good thing to have?