Below are some necessities that I find will help you get much more organized as a student:
Gmail – if you haven’t been using Gmail already, sign up for a free account. Being able to search through your e-mails using the Google search engine, as well as many other productive features which I haven’t had time to explore, this is your best choice for e-mail.
Google Calendar – yes another Google product. However, this is really helpful, which I prefer over Outlook. You can simply access it anywhere you want, no thrills. It also sends you SMS reminders, which is helpful.
Toggl – time management tool. You can download the desktop version or simply use the online version (same account). Simply enter what task you are doing and press the Toggl button, and you can track how much time you’ve been using on tasks. This requires you to remember everytime you switch tasks, but I think there’s a feature for that as well.
Edit – I don’t use this anymore, it’s actually quite a pain to track all the things you do everyday. This tool will come in handy though.
Dropbox – mentioned before in my blog, but really a great program. No need to carry that USB drive around anymore, all you need to do is keep a synchronized folder on your main computer. Install the program on your laptop to access the files wherever you go, or simply go to the Dropbox website.
Small notebook – not a laptop, but a simple, small notebook. Pocket-sized works better, so you can instantly jot down whatever you are thinking. Better than a cell phone since it’s easier to input data in, unless your cell phone has a QWERTY keyboard or something.
File folders – as mentioned on Study Hacks, it is great to keep a file folder for every subject you are taking at school, or even your extracurricular projects. This helps you get really organized. Put whatever notes, assignments, past exam solutions, samples into the folder, so you don’t get yourself into a big mess when the time comes.
Laptop – personal preference, there are many that get through college without one. To most students, its more of a distraction tool for messaging and Facebook, rather than actually giving it a productive run. I would recommend getting a small laptop if you had to. Currently the best one is the Asus EEE 1000HE (I have something similar); the MSI, Acers, HPs, and Dell Minis aren’t bad either, but Asus is the best bang for your buck.
Whiteboard – I found it more appealing to work on than writing on pieces of lined paper, so whatever floats your boat.
And when future allows – Canada doesn’t have a decent, economical wireless data plan. Or else, using the Iphone 3GS or something for internet surfing from anywhere is a real godsend. There’s wifi here and there, but unless you can access them (you can if you read Lifehacker’s article, but what if you’re on a bus?), its a lot better to be able to just have ADSL speeds anywhere in the city, whether you’re in the library or in some restaurant.
Preferably something that lets you read e-books as well, since I read a lot of them.