That Time I… went fully digital for school


Angelina Padilla-Tompkins

Senior Columnist Angelina Padilla-Tompkins’ iPad Pro with the Hotel at Holmes Student Center in the background.

By Angelina Padilla-Tompkins, Opinion Editor

Before the academic year of 2022-2023 began I set a goal for myself, going fully digital. 

I was tired of lugging around a heavy book bag filled with textbooks, notebooks, folders, a planner and whatever else tossed in the bag throughout the semester. I bought an iPad Pro in the hopes of replacing all my stationery.

In addition to the iPad, I purchased a compatible pencil and keyboard to replace my old MacBook. 

I downloaded notability to replace all my notetaking products and purchased digital versions of textbooks. 

The fall semester was full of trial and error. I learned that some professors make it challenging for students to go paperless by handing out paper copies of instructions, requiring students to print out assignments and asking them to bring lined sheets of paper to class. 

Now that the spring semester has begun, I do carry at least one notebook along with a pen and pencil with me for professors that cannot let go of paper. Other than one standard-sized notebook, I had successfully replaced most of my school supplies with a single iPad. The only item left was my planner. 

I am extremely picky when it comes to finding the right planner as it is going to become my constant companion for the next calendar year. I had grown attached to a physical planner with fancy pens and highlighters, so I knew finding a digital version was going to be a challenge. 

Unfortunately, I was unable to find an app I liked well enough to use. After days of hunting, I had all but given up until an ad for a digital planner from Etsy showed up on my Instagram feed. 

I immediately took to Etsy to look at all the options and my expectations were blown away. There were hundreds of options for digital planners. Whether you want to keep track of spending, homework, nutrition, social events or appointments, there are many planners available at an affordable price. 

Most of the options I saw were less than $15 and came with simple directions on how to download it into your favorite note-taking app. 

I purchased three different planners for different reasons. The first one I bought because it was geared toward students to help them keep track of classes and coursework, but I didn’t like the way it was set up. 

The second planner, I simply liked how it looked. Unfortunately, once I opened it I quickly learned it had too much content for me. I was looking for something simple that would help me keep track of my days, coursework, and personal events. 

I decided I would try one more before I gave up, and the third time sure is a charm. The planner I fell in love with is “ the minimalist digital planner,” from the shop manifestable

The planner has the simple cover I wanted, a monthly calendar with weekly views and days broken down by every half hour. 

I can see a standard monthly calendar, or I can click next to each week to see a weekly calendar. Additionally, I can click on a specific date to see a broken town of the day where I write my class, work, and personal schedules, as well as, a task list to keep track of homework. This planner also has a daily hydration tracker. 

Going digital can be a challenge, but anyone can do it, you just have to figure out what works for you.