I have a choice between 2 laptops for almost same price.
Would you choose the one with:
15.6 inch screen and 512GB SSD
or the one with:
17.3 inch screen and 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD?
Portability is not an issue.
The laptop in question is:
Notebook Dell Gaming Inspiron 3579 G3, 15.6" FHD IPS, Intel Core i7-8750H up to 4.1GHz, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCI-e SSD, nVidia GeForce GTX1050Ti 4GB
for me the extra screen size will benefit you for university work, and while I wouldn't say it was 'less bad for your vision' it will be easier on the eyes as you'll be able to fit the same amount of info on screen at a larger size (zoom). It would also make having mutiple windows open at the same time easier due to the larger size.
As dudeman509 said the extra space will be welcome especially if you plan on keeping it for some time as games are certainly not getting smaller and neither are documents/pictures/vids/audio, not to mention windows updates (it keeps a backup of windows in case you want to roll back) and the countless other things you will install.
The benefit of the 512GB option? no mechanical HDD. while it is unlikely to fail the chances are statistically higher for a HDD than an SSD, especially as time goes on.
Those be my 2 cents, but others would have their own opinions and they will be just as valid (unless they're plain stupid!)