philomycus

The Tree Rat
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Hey gals/guys. Not to :beat: here, but I have a question for current vet students.

Can you survive without a laptop?

If not, are you happy/surviving with a standard or a tablet?

Not looking for very long winded answers and controversy on brands, I'm just trying to decide whether or not I could get by without one initally- trying to avoid plopping down $$$. Thanks!
 

rustysmom

Mich State CVM c/o 2012
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At Michigan State, you can survive without a laptop. I print off PowerPoints and handwrite my notes on them. I get too distracted when I try to take notes on a computer :D

We also have 24 hour access to the vet school via key cards so if you wanted to use a computer in the evenings or on the weekend, you can just go to the school if you didn't want to bring a computer with you.

Usually, the only time I take my laptop to school is during finals week (or other major exam weeks) when it's impossible to get to a school computer.
 

alliecat44

KSU CVM Class of '11
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Some of my classmates do as rustysmom, even though we technically have a "paperless" curriculum. The only problem is if the day's lectures aren't posted until we're actually physically sitting in class--can't go home to print them out--but can run upstairs and pay $0.05/page to do so in between classes.

Otherwise (i.e., if your school was always timely about posting lectures to the internet or distributing hard copies to your mailbox), I think it's very do-able.
 

cateyes

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Mar 22, 2008
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You can absolutely survive without a laptop.
The only real benefit I found to bringing mine was the instant gratification for checking to see if grades were posted :laugh: Also, I type faster than I write.
With regards to tablet vs standard pc, I invested in a tablet last quarter because my laptop died, and I didn't use the tablet feature much at all. I love onenote though, because I can take notes directly onto powerpoints- that works on both tablets and standards, so imho it's really whatever works for you!
 

Kat0303

UTCVM co 2012 WOOOOOOO!
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I agree, you can live without a laptop. But, I really like taking notes on mine and find it really useful since I type faster than I write. So, it's really a matter of preference, but it's definitely doable to go without. When I started vet school, I didn't use my laptop at all and would print powerpoints and write on them. But now I use it in every class. It really is a matter of what you like best. Some people like to have hard copies to highlight and write on, so they may not use a laptop as much.

At Tennessee, there is a program where you can use one of the school's laptops/tablets for the semester (It's one of the ones you can write directly on...I'm not sure what the difference is between a tablet and a laptop...). You can continue to use it through vet school unless there is some massive demand from other students for them, but that doesn't really happen since most people have their own laptops. So, maybe your school has something like that.
 

Angelo84

Tufts Class of 2011
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I very rarely bring my labtop to class. I take notes with pen and paper and that works just fine. For our histology class we had online slides which was useful and you needed to bring a labtop for those sessions (although I guess you could share with a buddy).

So I would say a computer at home is a necessity but a labtop to bring to class is not.
 
OP
philomycus

philomycus

The Tree Rat
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I appreciate the responses. I've got a laptop that's 6 yrs old and have deleted everything from the hard drive and hoping I can get by with that. Id rather save the $$$$. thanks again
 

mbv

WSU CVM 2012
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Oct 24, 2007
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it really seems like it depends on the school. the vast majority of my classmates don't use computers in class. i have a laptop but prefer hand written notes so i never bring it to school.
however, i'm working at UGA this summer and it seems like everyyyone brings their computers with them everywhere!
both schools have many computers for vet student use. my school even has free printing so i never print anything out at home!
 

twelvetigers

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(It's one of the ones you can write directly on...I'm not sure what the difference is between a tablet and a laptop...)
That makes it a tablet. That's what the difference is between a regular laptop and a tablet - the ability to take written notes and draw, but save them as computer files or convert into text later.
 

Truth74

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At UIUC, I have heard that a lot of the course material will be delivered at the last minute, because we're the guinea pigs. :cool: I also know that there will be software specific to clinics that needs to be loaded during orientation, so it's definitely mandatory to have a tablet or laptop before orientation.

I'm still trying to decide between the HP and the Toshiba. At this point, they both have the same warranty packages and the pricing is very comparable for the same specs on each. I may resort to throwing darts over the weekend.
 
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philomycus

philomycus

The Tree Rat
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My student mentor called me today and said a laptop is not necessary. I'm going to see if I can get away without one and save $1,000. I am SCARED :scared: SH*(&%&% about this debt and not having enough $$$, so I'll save them funds for now.
 
Jul 21, 2009
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If you plan to come to Davis you do need a computer unfortunately.
Some of our exams (like radiology) are online
However - even though they tell you you have to get one of the computers they recommend, don't listen.
I got the tablet and it sucks
I would much rather have bought my own computer - and they aren't going to kick you out for disagreeing with them about your laptop.
 

pressmom

Third year!
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Apr 4, 2007
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At UIUC, I have heard that a lot of the course material will be delivered at the last minute, because we're the guinea pigs. :cool: I also know that there will be software specific to clinics that needs to be loaded during orientation, so it's definitely mandatory to have a tablet or laptop before orientation.

I'm still trying to decide between the HP and the Toshiba. At this point, they both have the same warranty packages and the pricing is very comparable for the same specs on each. I may resort to throwing darts over the weekend.
I'm a Mac girl, but my dad uses PCs. He has had a couple of Toshibas and they have both turned out badly. (Crash a lot, etc.) I'd go with the HP just seeing his experience with the Toshibas.
 

sumstorm

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I had a Toshiba tablet. In 4 years I had 3 issues:

I spilled water in keyboard
I seperated the power intake from the mother board
I damaged the screen

I had the accidental damage overnight service warranty. I don't know if they offer it anymore. If they do, make sure there is a service rep in your area. Then realize you may have to fight like hell to have it honored. Each time, it was honored (I had my laptop back in 24 hours) but the service center said they couldn't do it, didn't have the parts in stock, etc. Each time Toshiba had hte parts couriered in. However, I spent alot of wasted time talking to someone in India to get that to happen. I have heard the same complaints about all the programs...and I am not sure Toshiba offers the 24 hour repair anymore.

I now have a Lenova, with guaranteed on site repair within 24 hours. I am, so far, impressed. When my power supply went out, they overnighted one. I haven't had any other issues (1 year now.)

Please note, both my tablets are heavily used/abused. I take them everywhere. The toshiba above went out to sea with me, went camping, to dog shows in dusty horse barns, beaches, etc. So far, I do prefer the Lenova, but it was $$$$ compared to the other tablet options. I do have some problems with debris (dog hair) settling under the keys of the lenova and causing issues with typing....and an air can doesn't do much to help, I end up scraping hte hair out or picking it up with sticky tape slide behind the keys. I didn't have that problem on the toshiba. toshiba had louder keys, and required less pressure to type.

Part of the reason I didn't get an HP originally is that they were considered a 'business' class item, and they would not sell them under the credit purchase program (12 months, no interest) for personal use. That may have changed, or you may have the money to buy outright.
 

spikey

penn vet 2011
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Apr 10, 2006
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I don't ever take notes on my laptop in class. We usually get handouts, and even if we don't, I take notes the old fashioned way. I can't type stuff up nice during lecture, nor can I study from the computer.
 

sumstorm

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I don't ever take notes on my laptop in class. We usually get handouts, and even if we don't, I take notes the old fashioned way. I can't type stuff up nice during lecture, nor can I study from the computer.
I have the opposite problem...writing a long time causes my hand to ache, as I tend to grab the pen too tightly. That might be because I was originally a left hander, forced to write right handed as a child. So, my left hand is better at fine motor control, but I don't have hte patience to go back and 'learn' how to write with it now, and my right hand writes very sloppily. I do everything else left hand dominant.

I can type at 163 WPM w/4 errors/page, with formatting, which makes my typing far faster than my writing...and it is legible! I don't like studying from the computer as much, but the ability to read my notes is probably more important! And I can print if I have to (though that goes against the tree hugger in me.) I am so grateful that the school I attended required every student to start typing classes in 4th grade, again in 6th grade, and again in 8th, with a final class of comp apps, with lots of typing, in HS.
 

spikey

penn vet 2011
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I have the opposite problem...writing a long time causes my hand to ache, as I tend to grab the pen too tightly. That might be because I was originally a left hander, forced to write right handed as a child. So, my left hand is better at fine motor control, but I don't have hte patience to go back and 'learn' how to write with it now, and my right hand writes very sloppily. I do everything else left hand dominant.

I can type at 163 WPM w/4 errors/page, with formatting, which makes my typing far faster than my writing...and it is legible! I don't like studying from the computer as much, but the ability to read my notes is probably more important! And I can print if I have to (though that goes against the tree hugger in me.) I am so grateful that the school I attended required every student to start typing classes in 4th grade, again in 6th grade, and again in 8th, with a final class of comp apps, with lots of typing, in HS.
Wow, impressive! Typing notes in the 4th grade! I think had I been brought up like that to study from the computer and got used to typing my notes and studying from the computer, I'd be at ease doing it that way like you too.

Sometimes I will type my notes, especially a study sheet, but I study everywhere and anywhere, and having the hard copy with me to whip out is best.

I find it fascinating how different we all study and prepare - its pretty neat to hear about how others approach the same stuff. :)
 

sumstorm

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Wow, impressive! Typing notes in the 4th grade! I think had I been brought up like that to study from the computer and got used to typing my notes and studying from the computer, I'd be at ease doing it that way like you too.

Sometimes I will type my notes, especially a study sheet, but I study everywhere and anywhere, and having the hard copy with me to whip out is best.

I find it fascinating how different we all study and prepare - its pretty neat to hear about how others approach the same stuff. :)
Indiana was one of the first states to include a computer programing/apps requirement for graduation, so computers were pushed very early. I actually started programming (basic) in third grade, and by HS I was involved with programming competitions (and I wasn't a strong programmer or a computer geek.) But you are right...it set me up with a preference towards computer use....I actually entered college knowing how to handle Excel, Access, and Powerpoint better than most professors and business professionals.

I also tend to study everywhere, and like to 'catch time' by studying while in lines and such....which does mean I expose my laptop to a lot of risk. It is also one of the reasons weight of my laptop is so important to me, and why I have a tablet (so I can carry it like an oversized sprial bound notebook. ) I do print some stuff out as well. I have a map pouch on my bike and like to put diagrams in there to memorize, and if I am working on something specific, I will sketch it out quickly or print it out and carry it around in a pocket while running errands. I am really one of those techies though....I have a tablet with docking station, large monitor, split keyboard, and scanner/printer/fax combo, I use an iphone, a digital voice recorder, and a netbook (which is great for any typed stuff...highly transportable!)

I also prefer to study outside....so my house is set up for wi-fi coverage in the back yard and on the front porch! I do take the tablet everywhere and have 2 ten hour batteries because of it. Just bought water proof panniers to take it back and forth to school!

However, 5 years ago, I would have still been in paper and pen....because the tablets were so heavy, and just for the reason you brought up....transportability and accesibility.
 

sumstorm

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Oh, one other thing I like about computers...mine backs itself up each night, something I wouldn't do with paper notebooks. I also have temporary on net storage for document back up. Means that even if the computer is destroyed or lost, my data is protected and recoverable...something I can't say about my paper notes.
 

spikey

penn vet 2011
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However, 5 years ago, I would have still been in paper and pen....because the tablets were so heavy, and just for the reason you brought up....transportability and accesibility.
Sounds like you've got the whole workstation set up! And I agree - good thing they've been working on the tablets and making them easier to tote around. I've been tempted to splurge on one, but since I'm halfway through and I've survived without it [and not to mention that I have no money for one], I'll have to wait. :laugh:

sumstorm said:
Oh, one other thing I like about computers...mine backs itself up each night, something I wouldn't do with paper notebooks. I also have temporary on net storage for document back up. Means that even if the computer is destroyed or lost, my data is protected and recoverable...something I can't say about my paper notes.
Good point! Rain is no good for my notebooks, and they are a pain to store on my bookshelves and such. :(

Oh, the things we do for vet school! :p
 
Aug 5, 2009
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Another good option is netbooks. Cheaper and lighter than most laptops, they are ideal for taking to class for notetaking and websurfing. Backing up your notes is a good thing and there are plenty of services out there for storing your data online as a backup. Dropbox is my personal favorite but there are others, including Google Docs. Google Docs is a little different concept from Dropbox but for the purpose of notetaking they are basically the same.