School supplies take on a new image

By Jessica Chesko
October 6, 2006

Shane Evans

College students doing their back-to-school shopping are no longer spending the bulk of their money on paper and pencils, but rather on high-tech electronics. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2006 Back-to-College survey, college students spend an estimated $36.6 billion and of that amount, $10.46 billion is spent on electronics. says that “college students will spend more than twice what parents of K-12 students will spend on back-to-school shopping this year.” Laptops, iPods, PDAs, Xboxes and flat screen TVs are just a few examples of the electronics that are flying off the shelves this season.

Many students on Cabrini’s campus buy these electronics simply for their entertainment purposes. “I have an iPod,” said Danielle Ferrari, a sophomore biotech major. “It’s not for school use, just to pass the time.”

Jen Daily, a sophomore psychology major, said that she does not have an iPod yet. “If I was to get one I wouldn’t spend more than $110 on it.”

Not all of these items are just for entertainment purposes. Some are actually necessary for college students to have. “.My TV has a built-in VCR which I use to view my public speaking speeches because it is part of the class,” a sophomore English and communication major said.

Other students at Cabrini also find many of these electronics to be necessities. “Before I came to school I didn’t have a cell phone,” graphic design major, sophomore, Christina Mastro said. “Since I got one it is easier to contact people in clubs and my classes.”

Laptops are another college essential. They are quickly taking the place of notebooks and pens as the best way for note taking. “I still have notebooks but, you know, you have to email professors the majority of your work,” Bill Monahan, a freshman English and communication major said.

Monahan added, “I still think we’re in the paper/pencil era but if you don’t have a PC you’re not going to get far in college, not just for school work but for communication purposes.”

“I just got a Mac Book Pro and that cost me about $1,800.00,” Kathryn Roper, a junior graphic design major, said, “Although I have to wait for software compatibility for the laptop, I know it is going to be worth it even after I graduate college.”

Despite today’s high prices, none of the students seem completely deterred from buying these electronics. Some felt it necessary to pay the high prices in order to get better quality.

“They are only expensive if you are going to the wrong place to purchase them and don’t have the appropriate knowledge on the piece of technology you are purchasing,” Roper said.

Whatever their reasons may be for purchasing these gadgets, college students today seem to need and want to keep up with the latest in technology.

Loquitur welcomes your comments and questions on this story. Please send your comments to: The editors will review your comments each week and make corrections if warranted.

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Jessica Chesko

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