With the new iPhone 5 coming out, many students are making new technology a priority. They sometimes do this to make college easier, but they neglect buying groceries and other financial duties to achieve educational and personal status.

There is a trend in tertiary education throughout the country as students accept technology as “Professor-in-Chief.” It seems they cannot get through tough classes, textbooks and study sessions without the help of technology. Students and professors alike have quickly embraced this trend to stay ahead of the curve.

Many students forgo basic needs such as food, transportation and even textbooks, in some cases, to get a hold of technology. They believe that once they have technology, everything else will fall into place.

A recent study compiled by Presta Electronics reveals some startling figures about the use of technology in college. According to Presta, “73 percent of college students said they cannot study without technology. 38 percent of students cannot go ten minutes without checking their email, tablet, laptop or Smartphone. Students nationwide spent $13 billion dollars in 2009 on technology.”

This is evidence that technology often means more than an empty stomach to a starving student. Fun is as much of a motivator as schoolwork and often drives these big purchases.

Melissa Memmott, a senior in communication, admits, “You could tell yourself, ‘I’m buying this for school,’ but I’m really buying it for fun.” Memmott has skipped groceries several times to fulfill her own need for technology.

A look into the typical college apartment or dorm reveals a wide variety of technology: a flat screen TV, a video game console, laptops and tablets. This is an example of how students study hard and play hard.

There is another aspect of technology that compels students to upgrade: Social networking online is a major part of life, unlike ten years ago. Students keep up with their friends, family and even assignments using Facebook and Twitter. The newest gadgets only speed up this interaction.

Constant upgrades do not have to be a negative experience because they keep students on the cutting edge.

Department Chair of Digital Media Dr. Thor Anderson said, “In our field we’ve got a generation of professional digital media consumers. Sometimes, if they always have the latest technology they only consume instead of produce, but they must have the necessary experience to make the transition to be productive.”

This is the reality of college. Students go through years of education in order to produce results, a requirement in every field. Production is as important to artists and writers as it is to manufacturers.

To the consumers out there, Anderson has this advice: “Ultimately you’ve got to practice doing what you’re going to do professionally, and these devices make that possible.”

As students consume technology and media, they learn what to expect from themselves as they produce. This expectation drives students to create meaningful experiences and products using the technology that dominates their college experience.

By John Carlsen