Simple Apps to Help Streamline University Life

University life showing student using an Apple iPhone University life is a series of highs and lows – hopefully many more of the former than the latter. Managing schedules, writing papers, working in a few shifts a week at a part time job, studying, reading, managing money, keeping up with family and other interpersonal relationships – you might finish your degree and find yourself asking “how did I manage to keep all of those balls in the air at the same time?”

Outsourcing some of your university life to technology

For generations, people had no other choice but to try to tackle everything manually. Pen and paper were the main component of most students’ arsenal, and if you weren’t paying attention during a lecture, well, your only alternative was to try and find time to speak to a professor during office hours. Luckily, in the digital era, technology can do a lot of the work for us. Below are some of the most useful apps for life at university.

Apps for organization

A lot of studies have been done on the various personality traits that are predictive of success in
university. Among them are executive functioning skills like time management and organization.
In fact, in a Canadian Journal of Higher Education study, 73.7% of study participants indicated that time management, planning, and preparation were the most important attributes for achieving academic success. Being organized requires planning, and dedication, but thankfully modern technological advancements mean we don’t have to take on the burden of organization all by ourselves.

One such organizational app is Fetchnotes. This app lets you assign hashtags to your notes and thoughts, thereby allowing you to organize everything you need to do in a given time frame. For instance, you might assign an “exam” tag to everything having to do with an upcoming exam, and you might assign a “read” hashtag to all of your assigned readings for a given day of the week. This is a free app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

Apps for social media downtime

A 2014 study from researchers at Baylor University found that college students spent, on average, between eight and ten hours per day on their cell phones. That same study presented self-reported data which concluded that roughly sixty percent of college students are ‘addicted’ to their cell phones, and that cell phones, almost invariably, end up becoming a major distraction during lectures, or from important, often intellectually demanding tasks.

While it is certainly popular, and quite easy to rail against cell phones and social media, they are, for the vast majority of people in the West, a fact of life. In fact you would likely be hard pressed to find a university or college student on campus anywhere in the developed world that didn’t have a state of the art smart phone in their pocket at all times. While having and using a smartphone may be unavoidable, deciding when and what you use it for can still be within your control.

Apps like SelfControl are great options for people who find that their work ethic, and attention span suffers because of their cell phone (particularly social media addiction). SelfControl allows you to block websites of your choosing for a set amount of time, so that you are not tempted by your phone when you really should be doing something more productive with your time.

Budget Apps

Part of the university experience, for many people, means learning to manage money. For a lucky few, money is no object. Family wealth has underwritten their university experience, and rent, grocery, textbook, even spending money is just a phone call or text away. While that is not to look down upon families who can afford to do these things, the average Joe or Jane struggling to make their way through university life needs to be able to handle their finances responsibly, or risk having to go without. If you are new to managing your own money, or have struggled with doing so in the past, there are a number of great apps out there that can help make the task easier.

One such app is My Weekly Budget. This is not a free app ($1.49 for iPhone/iPad; $0.99 for Android), but it is a useful one. My Weekly Budget allows you to set weekly budgets, and then monitor your spending to ensure that you do not go over what you have decided you can afford. Every time you spend, the app shows you what percentage of your weekly budget you are using up, how much you’ve spent in total, and how much more you can afford to spend based on your preset amount. It is astonishing how much easier it is to keep to a budget when you are reminded of what you are spending, and how much of your allotted budget a given expenditure is eating up.

Document storage

Document storage is one of those things that many people struggle with. You write a paper, turn it in, then consign it to the desktop for the rest of eternity. The only problem is, your computer can crash. Things that used to be in one file folder, can accidentally get transferred to a different one. Files can become corrupted and unreadable, resulting in lost work hours, even entire weeks’ worth of work. Luckily, Google Drive is here for us. Google Drive, while quite well-known and well-used, is something a lot of university students aren’t overly familiar with. During high school, Microsoft Office for Mac and PC is typically the method most people use to write and store documents. However, many people in the professional world, particularly for jobs that involve people and teams in disparate locations, utilize Google Drive.

Google Drive is a cloud storage platform that allows you to write and store 15 free gigabytes worth of documents, presentations, excel sheets, forms, and drawings in which you never have to worry about losing any of it. What’s more is that you can quickly and easily search your Google Drive for documents you have previously been working on, assign them to folders, and share them with friends, colleagues, professors, and group project members.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there is simply not enough time in a day to get through everything on your plate. When university life seems insurmountable, and time is a precious commodity with conflicting demands, professional essay writing services like Homework Help Global offer academic quality writing to help make university life a little more bearable.

References:

(2018). “Ten Great Apps for Uni Students.” The Good Universities Guide.” Retrieved from: https://www.gooduniversitiesguide.com.au/education-blogs/student-life/ten-great-apps-for-uni-students

Stelnicki, A.M. et al. (2015). “Who is the Successful University Student? An Analysis of Personal Resources.” Canadian Journal of Higher Education 45(2): 214-228. Retrieved from: journals.sfu.ca/cjhe/index.php/cjhe/article/download/184491/pdf_21

Wood, J. (2014). “College Students in Study Spend 8 to 10 hours Daily on Cell Phone.” Psych Central. Retrived from: https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/08/31/new-study-finds-cell-phone-addiction-increasingly-realistic-possibility/74312.html

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