It wasn't THAT long ago that it was a big deal for a college student to have their phone in their room. Of course I'm probably dating myself, still college students have always needed some small comforts of home to make their dorm room their own space. While smart homes have been kind-of-a-thing for the past few years, smart dorms are arriving on college campuses this fall.

Here are some of my favorite gadgets for college students:

The Nox Sleep Light from Sleepace connects to your smartphone and will help you start and end your day in a peaceful way. At night, the light gives up an amber glow which has been proven to help people relax. It also plays soothing music or relaxing sounds that gradually silence once it determines that you've fallen asleep. It does that by picking up and reading your breathing patterns. In the morning, rather than jolting you out of bed with an alarm sound or loud music, the Nox slowly raises the light in the room to simulate the rising sun. I have it set to chirping birds at 7 a.m. The Nox attempts to sense when you're at your lightest moment of sleep and will begin waking you up with the sound of birds chirping louder and louder and the light becoming brighter. In addition, the Nox Sleep Light is designed to monitor, track and improve your sleep quality through the app. It's $150.00

The Sound Oasis bluetooth speaker will help drown out noisy neighbors or roomates with several 'soothing' sounds that are stored on an included SD card. There are sounds of waves, a brook, music, white noise and a heartbeat (yep, it is a little creepy sounding, but it works for some people). The 360-degree speaker also connects to any smartphone device to stream music from Pandora, Spotify or any other music app on the phone. The BST-400 Stereo Bluetooth Sleep Sound Therapy System is $130.

The Amazon Echo Dot and Tap are two of the more popular Amazon Alexa products. Both these devices will answer questions, read news and audio books, set reminders and control smart home devices. The Tap has an included 360-degree speaker while the Dot should be connected to an external speaker for great sound. The Amazon Tap is $130.00 while the Dot is $50.

If you do get an Echo Dot you'll want a bluetooth speaker to go with it. The Vaux speaker has good sound but it also turns an Echo Dot into a wireless device by keeping it charged even when the speaker is not connected to a wall outlet. The Vaux is like a 'puck holder' cradling the Dot and providing power. It has a mini-audio plug that connects to the Dot's external audio plug and can hold a charge for hours.

The Vaux Cordless Portable Battery and speaker for the Amazon Echo Dot is $50.

A printer is something that doesn't immediately pop into your mind when moving into a dorm room, but it can certainly make a difference as the semester begins. Rather than running down to the library or another building to print out a paper the student will have it in their room connected to their computer. Printers are small enough to keep on a desktop now and prices have dropped to below $50.

Wish I had been able to do that when I was in school.