There’s a trending TikTok sound where users conclude that their lives suck because they don’t have an iPad, implying that people with iPads look like they have their lives together. It has now become viral, with people recording videos of themselves buying an iPad to this sound. Even at UC Berkeley, most people in my classes use an iPad to take notes, do homework and read books. The straight-A student with all the different colored highlighters and pens has been replaced with the straight-A student taking notes with an Apple Pencil on their iPad. It seemed like the universe was telling me that I needed one, so I eventually caved in and bought an iPad to see if it would overhaul my life.
I bought it under the guise of “investing in my education,” which was partially true. But I didn’t know how convenient owning an iPad was. Compared to my chunky gaming laptop, it was thin and compact, making it easier whenever I went on campus. I was able to function with just my iPad for doing assignments, readings and projects. It also replaced any notebooks I needed for class because I was using an app for notes instead. This resulted in a spacious school bag that wasn’t as heavy as before, easing my daily walk from Sather Gate to Cory Hall.
In terms of actually doing schoolwork, it changed my life. I used it as a second screen with my laptop, rather than dealing with split screen on my small monitor. It was also handy for marking up PDFs and documents rather than going through the trouble of printing them and doing everything by hand. With my note-taking app, I was able to create my own bullet journal and write down my to-do lists for every week to stay on top of school. In combination with the Apple Pencil, the iPad replicated the pen and paper feel that typing on a laptop couldn’t replicate. I felt like Greta Thunberg would be proud of me for the amount of paper I was saving.
You might also be asking, “Did you use it as a glorified Netflix machine too?” As much as I want to deny it, my iPad was also a source of entertainment. It’s better than watching shows and movies on a tiny phone screen, which made binging from my bed so much more enjoyable. It was also a great way to read e-books through the night, making me feel like a true English major.
Did an iPad change my life? Yes. It elevated how I did my schoolwork, allowed me to be more organized and was easier to bring on campus. For me, it was definitely worth the purchase. If you have a smaller laptop or enjoy writing in notebooks, I would hold off on buying one. However, an iPad didn’t solve all my problems: I’m still single, I have an existential crisis every other hour and my toilet suddenly stopped working. At least I can write notes on my iPad, which is fine with me.