Technology has come a long way. Nowadays, your smartphone serves any and every purpose you could ever want it to, and I’m sure as technology expands further, there will soon be advancements that we couldn’t even dream of existing. It goes without saying that a phone is one of the most indispensable devices of our current existence, regardless of your opinions about that. As such, there are a lot of apps that you can use to make your university experience easier. I compiled a list of the apps that have served me well throughout sixth form and university, which I’m sure you would benefit from checking out as well.
1. Google Drive | Android/iOS
You will undoubtedly have countless notes, lecture slides, resources and assignments that are essential for your course. You do not want to lose these! Backing all your files up to the cloud is so useful, not only to avoid losing any files if disaster should strike, but also to know that you can access them anywhere. I prefer the Google interface and how it flows across my devices, but I’ve used Dropbox in the past, and I think it’s a good alternative if you’d rather not use Google Drive.
2. Outlook | Android/iOS
I know what you’re thinking; this is a given! Who wouldn’t connect their university email to their phone? I was surprised when I met so many people at uni who accessed their email from a browser on their phone. I think the instant email notifications are so useful and it’s much more intuitive to add events you receive in email to your calendar when you use the app. Although, I will say that during that period where we were to receive exam results via email, every email-notification noise made me extremely nervous, so I don’t really associate that noise to anything happy in my life.
3. Todoist | Android/iOS
The main task management software I use is Todoist because I feel like it has such a nice and easy-to-use interface. I like how you can separate different aspects of your life into different ‘projects’ so every task can be categorised and organised accordingly and it’s easy to set different priorities to tasks. I think these are the features that set Todoist apart from other apps like it, and the fact that it’s available on basically all platforms out there, so I can make changes on the laptop app that would be synced across my phone as well.
4. Forest | Android/iOS
This is such a classic app to help you actually concentrate on your work and avoid using your phone as a distraction. The premise of it is based around setting a time limit, during which you won’t use your phone, and a tree begins to grow. Going off the app kills the tree which is obviously something you want to avoid. For me, this is such a fun way to avoid distractions and I can use this app with the Pomodoro technique to set structured ‘work’ time in my routine. A free iOS alternative is Flora which is very similar to Forest.
5. Sleep Cycle | Android/iOS
I downloaded this app a few years ago and I’ve used it probably 98% of days since downloading it. Something about tracking my sleep just really appeals to me because of its importance (and inconsistency) in my life. I can’t say exactly how accurate it is because I’m hardly aware of the exact times I fall asleep or wake up, but I would say it’s generally right based off my habits. A healthy sleeping routine is so key to living a life in which you feel like you can thrive, and I know my sleeping routine has really been all over the place since starting university.
6. Notion | Android/iOS
I spoke about how I use Notion when I did my Notion setup post so you can go check it out in detail over there, but generally, I’ve really been enjoying the freedom that Notion gives. Being able to curate a setup that works exactly how I want it to has been liberating in so many ways, and it’s one of those things that will only evolve and improve with time too. Its dynamic methods match my dynamic lifestyle. Normally I use Todoist for general to-do list items, but when I have an extensive project with lots of different aspects to consider, I’ve found Notion to be superior.
7. Zoom | Android/iOS
This wouldn’t have made my list last year, but I think it’s pretty self-explanatory why it needs to be on here now. I still prefer Zoom on my laptop, but I have it on my phone in case of emergencies. I am intrigued to see how online teaching works out this year as we will have a lot of it alongside being in the hospital for clinical experience.
8. MapMyFitness | Android/iOS
Having some form of regular exercise is so essential to having a healthy life at university. Thus, having a good app that can keep track of any activity I do, as well as including a bunch of different workouts so I can create my own or use pre-set routines, has been so useful. I love how extensive the workouts in this app are and it’s nice to have everything in one place. This was particularly good for all the long walks I used to take during university as I could track distance, time and the route I took.
These are my eight top apps for university life as of right now. What are your essential apps? Do you find your phone more distracting or actually helpful while you’re at school or university? I would love to know!