I use my kindle for pretty much the same reasons you mentioned and it’s stupidly useful, especially for class. I prefer taking handwritten notes, but it can be a pain (and expensive) to print out reading after reading, and I hate lugging my laptop around if I know I won’t really use it or will only get distracted during lecture. So the kindle is a good choice for documents and quick searches during class time. I can take my notes, and still follow along with the reading, plus I can highlight important passages or take quick notes. Although I’m not a fan of it for note taking personally, if you’d like to also use a tablet for that, I’d suggest another model as the kindle is primarily for reading rather than like office work. I’ve got a few friends that swear by the iPad, and others (who are more art and drawing orientated) who prefer other models.
Also it’s a godsend on flights, just download books and you don’t have to worry about shitty airline wifi, and it’s good to carry instead of a laptop, and so much lighter than physical books, plus you can carry hundreds and download more.
Really you’ve got to figure out what you’ll use it for the most. Pretty much any tablet has some form of reading capability, that you can buy and read books from. So if you’re seriously considering buying one I’d look into other things you’d like to use it for as well. Because you’re a student though I’d definitely suggest one that you feel comfortable taking notes in, and that’s light and easy to carry. The less you have to lug around campus the better.