Author Archive | Tom S.

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Choosing a laptop to use for school may not be the easy decision you think it is. There are many options, but when it comes down to it, you’ll be looking at two versions: a Mac or a PC. My goal is to show you the pros and cons of both to help you make your decision. Remember that even though Mac and PC computers run on different operating systems, they are made up of the same parts, and in most cases, either one will be able to satisfy your education requirements.

The Advantages

The MacThe PC
Battery life
Generally superior and long-lasting

Software
Comes with installed, easy-to-use software for movie and music editing

Operating System
Easy-to-use, configurable operating system

Security
More secure infrastructure when surfing the web

Design
Arguably sleek models

Compatibility
Gigantic marketplace for all kinds of software

Customizability
Customize it to fit your style with the flexible Windows system

Entertainment station
Double as an entertainment station (watch movies, play games) as well as a work station

Cost
Competition between PC manufacturers means more reasonable prices

The Disadvantages

The Mac
The PC
Cost
Least expensive laptop (11-inch MacBook Air) starts at $999

Compatibility
Incompatible with many third party programs, although this is slowly changing

Customizability
Cannot be customized outside of what the operating system allows

Learning
More difficult to learn to use, although slowly changing with the advent of Windows 8.1

Battery life
Varies computer to computer, from frustratingly low to comfortably high

Overheating
Some hardware is prone to overheating because of how they are built and the various manufacturers

Viruses, malware, adware
Ensure safe web surfing with a good anti-virus program

The facts are laid out. Still unsure? Your choice can be made easier by looking at what you need, while making sure you’re getting the things you want.

  • Prioritize your needs
  • If you’re in a media program, you may need to edit movies or music. A Mac might be a better choice for you, since the Operating System comes packaged with professional, easy-to-use software.

  • Be wary of price
  • If you’re going to be using your computer for mainly word processing and web surfing, your best bet would be to go with a PC notebook. Models start as low as $400, and they can give you all the tools necessary to complete your schoolwork.

  • Take into account all uses of the computer
  • Will you be using your computer outside of school-related activities? If you plan to also use it for entertainment at home, look for a computer with higher specifications that meets your needs.

In the end, the choice resides with you and your preference. Both Mac and PC computers have advantages and disadvantages. Study the charts above, list out your priorities, see what’s on sale, and go into a couple of stores to test them out. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect one to fit your needs – and you’ll enjoy the hunt!

Check out this article on more things to consider when searching for a laptop.

Image by stevendepolo, Flickr

Image by stevendepolo, Flickr

Post-secondary education is all about finding and grabbing onto opportunities. Recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities can lead you to where you want to be in a surprisingly short amount of time. Extracurricular activities are full of opportunities that can help you get ahead, and certain clubs and societies you choose to join can have an impact on your professional portfolio even after you leave your post-secondary school. But, is it worth your spare time?

Extracurricular activities are the key to enhancing your university experience. They are the places where students gather to share their interests, and it is where many opportunities and relationships are formed. If you’re a new student, extracurriculars are a great way to get involved with not only those your own age, but students in the upper years. Depending on the type of person you are, this can help you get comfortable and adjust to post-secondary life much easier and faster, and it can very much prepare you for your future.

Though they may seem like ways to have fun and do what you love, extracurricular activities can also be great for networking. That doesn’t mean you need to walk in on your first day and start asking about jobs, but the connections you build and relationships you form could one day lead there. For example, joining the university radio station could introduce you to various contacts in the radio industry, while at the same time, give you experience you can present to potential employers. Participating in a club or a society is the easiest way to create these networking contacts because of the social interaction that comes along with the activity. People within these networking circles are looking for others with potential, and doing your best in such a place can present you with a good employment or educational opportunity that could make your professional career so much better.

Seems great, right? Here’s the “beware” disclaimer: Remember that you have to juggle your lifestyle. Too much focus on extracurriculars may not leave enough time allotted to your schoolwork, part-time job, or other aspects of your life such as family and friends. Don’t overburden yourself by joining too many clubs and societies; it can have a negative impact on your studies. However, this is entirely individual. Some students thrive off joining different societies and it helps them stay motivated to do well in their studies. If you’re already feeling swamped with work and school, and you have club meetings to attend, it may not be worth the sacrifice. Plan carefully and don’t overburden yourself; ultimately your grades will get you your degree, and if you can balance your commitments, extracurriculars could land you your job.