If I’m not sitting in my bed, chances are I am typing away at my dorm desk. Between running a blog, taking virtual classes, working on assignments, and talking to friends, it’s no surprise that I can easily spend several hours reading, typing, and browsing (learn more about reducing eye strain here). Here are the various tools that help me with productivity, just in time for back-to-school shopping. Links to products are included throughout the post.
About my desk
My desk tabletop measures 22″ x 43″, and is 30″ tall. There is a bottom opening that is 24″ wide, and three drawers on the side (note that they do not have drawer pulls). Originally, my desk had a hutch screwed on the top of it, so to fit my computer, my brother unscrewed the hutch and we put it in a closet. I did not have to file any accommodations to get this type of desk- more on filing housing accommodations here
Marble contact paper
I wrapped the entirety of my desk in marble contact paper to protect against spills, scrapes, and other minor damages. It took about three rolls to cover my entire desk. A cool bonus feature is that I can write on it using dry erase markers. Here are the rolls from Amazon.
On the desk
Because I have low vision and type all of my assignments, I have a desktop computer that takes up a large portion of my desk. I have an entire post on why I chose to bring a desktop computer to school here. I have an HP Sprout, an unique computer with a large touchpad and 3D scanner that runs Windows 10.
A few of my online classes required that students purchase a headset for interactive sessions, as well as recording audio for assignments. I also purchased a headset stand that plugs into the computer via USB, and has a few USB ports built in as well. Here is my headset stand– my headset was discontinued, but it is a wireless model by Logitech.
I have a fifteen port USB hub that allows me to plug multiple devices into my computer at once. Normally, I plug in things that I don’t need to unplug often. Currently, I have my headset stand, cables for my main electronics, my wireless mouse, Echo Dot, printer, and my wireless keyboard plugged in, and I have extra ports as well. Get a similar device here.
I have one of the Urbio Perch magnetic storage systems hanging on the side of my desk. I have two of the “Bitsy” cups and one of the “Stumpy” cups. These cups hold my highlighters, sharpies, markers, and pens easily, and I’ve never had any issues with them falling down. Here is a link to Urbio products available.
While this is technically not on my desk, I got a Brother printer and paper on super sale, and it is fantastic for when I have to print a class assignment at the last minute. The printer sits on top of my mini-fridge about five feet from my desk.
Amazon Echo Dot
I have an entire post on the Echo Dot here, and it has been amazing to see how much it has helped me in college. I most frequently use it to listen to music, check the weather, perform calculations, and listen to the news.
I have a lot of electronics in my room- see the whole round up here. A surge protector is a definite necessity! Please note that some colleges may require students to buy a certain brand, or have a limit on how many outlets the protector can have. In addition, my college bans extension cords from dorm rooms.
In order to help me figure out how many pills are in a dose, I added tactile labels to the lids of pill bottles so I would know how many to take at a time (get the labels here). Some of the over-the-counter medications I keep in my apartment include allergy pills, Neosporin, Ibuprofen, and Aleve. I keep all of my medications in their original containers, and have copies of prescription labels stored to my computer, where my name is clearly displayed.
Part of life with low vision is constantly bumping into items and falling over. As a result, I have amassed quite the collection of band-aids, and store them in small fabric pouches for easy access.
My glasses are an absolute necessity for me- if I’m not wearing them, I’m either asleep or something is horribly wrong. I keep my spare glasses in my top drawer for easy access, and my friends also know this so they can grab the glasses if need be.
I keep an ankle and wrist brace for helping me deal with spasms, as well as various copper-infused compression sleeves. I believe I got these from the local drug store.
First aid kit
My first aid kit was a prepackaged kit from Target- get it here. It contained 140 pieces when I bought it- items like gauze, tweezers, band-aids, tape, gloves, instant cold pack, and wipes. I probably could have purchased all of these items separately, but I like having the plastic box. Inside the box, I also have medication that may be more likely to spill, such as ear drops and eye drops. I also have a smart thermometer that synchronizes with my iPad and Android phone, and while I may not use it a lot, I purchased it in a flash sale on Amazon for less than $10, and appreciate having a thermometer I can see. Get it here.
I have various pain relief devices to help me with my chronic migraines and chronic pain. If there is one that I couldn’t live without, it’s my portable TENS unit by IcyHot. It feels like a massage and delivers powerful relief on my back, shoulder, and legs. I have two units because I thought that the unit for knees was different than the one for back pain, but it’s only the pads that are different. I literally recommend this every time someone says they are in pain. Aleve makes a similar device as well, and both frequently go on sale- I got mine for $20. Get it here
I keep extra microUSB and lightning cables in case one of my cables suddenly breaks. I get these from Amazon, and I get free two hour delivery as well. There is also a vending machine on campus that allows customers to purchase cables and AC (wall) converters.
Assistive technology devices
I keep smaller assistive technology devices like magnifiers, eReaders, and iPad cases in here for easy reference. I have more assistive technology devices than average because this is what I am studying. My E-Bot Pro does not fit in a drawer, and instead is next to my desk.
I keep a couple of pairs of earbuds that I received with various devices, as well as a wireless Bluetooth headset that can connect to my phone. In addition, I have a pair of ear plugs that I use for band and for taking tests. Get them here.
My bottom drawer is where I keep all of my printer paper, cardstock, printer supplies, and other bulky items. I also store a sliding table for my E-Bot Pro in here that I received from the Department of Blind and Visually Impaired. This is twice the size of the rest of my other drawers.
Back support pillow
At my desk chair, I have a back support pillow that wraps around the back of the chair. The support level is amazing and I can type for hours without aggravating my back. I love it so much, I got it for my dad for Christmas, and he uses it while sitting on the couch. Get it here.
I am very lucky to have so much technology accessible to me, as well as a quiet place to work. I did not receive any form of compensation for reviewing any of these items, I genuinely love them and recommend them to everyone.