essential apps for your phone: university edition

My phone is my life. I guess in this day and age (very, very sorry I just used this phrase), this sentiment isn’t surprising but seriously I would be lost without it. Not only because I have this need to take pictures of everything in my life, but because I use it to keep track of everything in my life. At one point, I owned a Windows Phone and while I loved the OS, the lack of apps available for the phone was absolutely killing me. Then I smashed the screen on my friend’s floor (completely by accident, I swear to god) and I had to get a new phone. I’m telling you, getting an Android phone felt the way that the people in Plato’s cave must have felt after leaving the cave and seeing that there was so much more to the world. See, I retained some of my philosophy knowledge!

So here is a list of apps that I use to keep myself on track during school, I’ve included links to the Play Store and Apple Store as available.

1. Transit (Android/iOS)
University life means bus life, especially when you go to Waterloo or even Laurier. Not everyone has the funds for a car and our student cards act as our bus passes. Considering the fees for the buss pass is wrapped into our student fees, it makes sense to take advantage of this. Generally Google Maps is decent at keeping up with the changes in the GRT bus schedule, but I’m finding right now during this summer term, it’s seriously lacking.

This Transit app rocks because 1) it is updated with the summer schedule, 2) it offers the same sort of trip planning option, and 3) it has real time updates to bus times which is something Google Maps lacks.

2. Mint (Android/iOS)

As a university student with a shopping habit, keeping an eye on my finances is such an important part of life that I find I tend to slack on. Mint is great because it keeps track of all of my transactions, and I can create budgets and it’ll patronizingly remind me if I’m overspending.

3. Evernote (Android/iOS)

Another big part of student life is the note-taking life. If you do yours by hand, all the power to you, but I have no strength (physical or mental) to do that, so I take all my notes on my computer or my tablet if I’m not feeling a laptop that day. I love Evernote because it syncs up my notes across all my devices and I can pick up from where I left off, which is particularly handy for studying purposes. It’s functional and you can even organize all your notes into notebooks.

4. Google Keep (Android)

Beyond notes for class I also need an app for all my random to-do’s and thoughts and grocery lists. I like Google Keep because I can keep track of everything from random comic ideas that I have (trust me they’re all corny and awful) to my assignments. I’m a list kind of person when it comes to time management and organization so I like seeing everything that I have to do and being able to cross it off my list is oh so satisfying.

Google Keep also can have timed reminders or even location reminders so you never forget to pick up more toilet paper when you’re at the store.

5. PushBullet (Android/iOS)

Pushbullet connects all my devices which again, digital age and all that, cross-connectivity is super important. The most important function (to me at least) is the fact that it connects my phone to my laptop so I can reply to texts without having to pull out my phone. There’s also a universal copy and paste function, so if you select something on your phone to copy, you can paste it from your laptop. As you can tell from the screenshots, I really just use it to send Michael recipes.

6. SolCalendar (Android)

I clearly didn’t think through the ordering of this list because absolute top on my list of apps to help me get through my busy university schedule is a great calendar app. When it came to the calendar app I looked at a lot of different options before deciding on SolCalendar. I had previously been using Sunrise but I had issues with the calendars that I wanted shown as well as the design of the widget. SolCal syncs up my iCloud account, where all my main calendars are, and allows me to hide the pesky and persistent Hotmail Birthdays calendar, which Sunrise had issues with.

Being able to see my schedule for each day is super important to me and SolCal’s widget and app have an agenda view, where it breaks each day down into the events going on. You can also get the weather from the app, which is great to just glance at and the widget fits in with my theme really nicely. The only issue that I have with it is that there is a monthly view and an agenda view, but it would be nice to have a weekly view as well. It also doesn’t save your settings on a user account, which is annoying since it means I can’t see everything that I set up on my tablet (though it’s fine on my computer) but it really doesn’t matter on my tablet.

7. Days– (Android)

Beyond an app for to-do lists and a calendar app, I also find it super useful to see a countdown of days until important assignments and tests. I went through half a dozen countdown-type apps this week in search of a pretty one and I think I finally found one. Days is simple and gorgeous and has a widget option. Note: how do apps not have widget options, it’s 2015, get it together people! Ultimate organization app incorporates the to-to lists with calendar with a countdown. Dream big people, dream big!

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