As thousands of students around the country are beginning to find their feet on new university or college courses, it’s no surprise that many people find themselves overwhelmed by the weight of increased personal responsibility and the expectations that naturally come with taking studies to a new level.
Always on the go and often with far less free time than their parents may have enjoyed throughout their studies, the twenty-first century scholar faces a very different task from their predecessors. But fear not – help is at hand.
In this day and age, it is unsurprising that tech-related companies are trying to corner this market by offering a range of apps designed to increase productivity, aid learning and offer easy-to-reach entertainment options for today’s student population.
For example, the good people at Any.Do have created an application that can be downloaded to your smartphone, tablet or laptop, that allows the user to create a definitive “to-do” list, making missed deadlines and rushed dissertations a thing of the past. Simply upload your assignments’ due dates and details, your social events and sporting commitments to this easy-to-use touch-based interface and you need never again find yourself in the awkward position of walking into university, desperately thinking of a good excuse as to why an essay due that day is only half-finished.
Similarly, Dropbox will mean that there are no more lost notes or vanishing coursework – simply upload your information, and come what may, there will always be a soft copy for you to peruse, revise from or use to complete that daunting dissertation even after you drunkenly forget your school bag in the Student Union bar. Notes can also be shared with – or borrowed from – classmates, making life easier not just for you, but for your social circle as a whole.
Meanwhile, the likes of TED will allow access to interesting and informative background information across a range of subjects, and for students learning or using another language Duolingo allows for easy translations.
But of course it can’t be all work and no play – that, after all, makes Jack a dull boy. And so for the student with limited time on his hands who wants to be able to relax, unwind and have some fun with just a few clicks, the recent explosion in online gaming sites means that it is now easier than ever to be instantly transported from the library to the Las Vegas Strip, with sites offering poker, blackjack and classic roulette games from your phone.
Meanwhile, the ever-popular Miniclip app offers a wide-range of equally addictive games (without any implied threat to your student loan) for you to while away the hours in the library, including ‘Fragger’, ‘Gravity Guy’ and my personal favourite, ‘Apache Overkill’.
But if all of this sounds like it might get you distracted, you may want to try SelfControl, an app that will block certain websites during study time. This means that when you’re supposed to be working you won’t be allowed access to selected sites such as social media: a God-send when you are supposed to completing an assignment, but don’t seem to be able to stop scrolling through Facebook photos of that new guy who has just enrolled on your course. I mean, he’s just so mysterious…
So whatever your needs as a modern day student might be, there’s probably an app for that. It’s a great time to be learning!