by Hannah Lank
A new semester is upon us and with it comes many changes and many returns. Whether you’re returning to university to hammer out another year, or about to experience your first-ever semester, we can all use a little extra help managing life for the next eight months. Cue your smartphone and my top five favorite apps. Get downloading and find solace in their abilities.
Okay, yes, this is our own app, but we’re not shy about sharing how awesome it is. Time equals money, and most students are short on both. So if you’re going to spend your money, why not also save time? Got an 8 am class and want a coffee beforehand? Order on Boost as you’re leaving your residence, and it’ll be waiting for you when you arrive on campus.
Although we hate to admit it, it’s important to stay on top of our finances including when our credit card bills are due, where our money is going and what our overall financial health looks like. Thankfully, Mint, a secure financial app, covers all three bases and more. As students, we have a LOT of expenses: tuition, books, coffee, ramen… And they add up quickly! Mint tracks your credit card spending and organizes it into different categories (i.e. restaurants, entertainment, laundry, etc), even notifying you when you’ve exceeded your budget in one. It tracks your cash flow (income vs. expenses) and investments, suggesting how to improve your overall spending habits.
Most institutions use Blackboard to share assignments, syllabi and announcements from classes with students. (If your institution doesn’t use Blackboard, they likely use a similar platform that also has its own mobile app.) When on your phone, you can check your prof’s office hours on the go, remind yourself of upcoming assignments, or post questions to discussion boards the second they pop into your head. You’ll also get notifications when your prof posts an announcement, upcoming assignment, or new grade.
Hear me out on this one—no, it may not seem to be directly school-related, but it’s too easy to become absorbed in the bubble of student life. Although I’ve specified the New York Times’ app, download the equivalent of any news source. You don’t have to ever open it even—although reading articles about what’s up in the world is definitely not a bad thing. Instead allow it to notify you about major world events, so you won’t be completely in the dark. Eventually you may find yourself scrolling through it versus your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Don’t forget there’s a whole world outside of school, and it matters too.
When your life is practically studying, it helps to include a variety of different methods to trigger your memory reflexes. Although you could take the time to hand write keywords and definitions out on cue cards, Flashcards+ saves you time and paper. And you’ll never have to worry about leaving them behind on the bus. The app even offers a shuffling option so you don’t memorize the order of the flashcards instead of what’s actually written on them. Convenient? I think so!