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The Best College Apps

As a college student, one strives to maintain a certain level of excellence. That excellence usually involves doing as little as possible while still getting sh*t done…or at least maintaining that illusion. Since everyone and their mother (except mine) now has an iPhone and various other application-based devices, this has now become even easier.

EVERNOTE

Monday’s lecture was incredibly boring. You can’t really recall anything the professor said (I’m not going to name names but…Introduction to European History 1789- Present). To be fair, you tried to take notes, but the calls of Facebook and Reddit could not go unheeded. At least you wrote down a couple of key points. Now it’s Wednesday and surprise! Instead of lecture, today is just one of several classes that are actually just TA-led discussion sections. You can’t run, but you can hide behind your laptop. This time, you stealthily take out your iPhone under the desk, open an app, and access the couple of notes you took on your computer during lecture. When your TA asks a question regarding an obscure piece of information only discussed in lecture, your entire section, including the know-it-alls – are mute. After a couple seconds, you lay down some knowledge down on the members of your discussion section and your TA, dazzling them with your brilliance, superb memory and dedication to your studies. Well done, student.

This isn’t sorcery. This is the awesome power of Evernote. a cross-platform note-taking program, Evernote can be used on computers, iPhones, and in any old web browser. Its brilliance, however, comes from the fact that wherever you write your notes in Evernote, it will sync to the program’s server, as iCloud does. You will be able to access any and all of your notes, no matter the medium in which you took them in. Now, really, there’s no excuse to be aceing your classes.

MINT
Every time I see the total on the cash register when I go grocery shopping in
New York City, a part of me dies a little inside. As a result, I have developed a tendency to never have cash on me. Ever. While this helps prevent impromptu trips to Starbucks (“Hey, I have a couple bucks ready –I should get a frapp!”), I am not always completely conscious of how much I am spending. I have expenses I often forget about as well, such as iTunes music. And don’t get me started about going out– using a card to pay for alcohol never ends well (don’t buy Long Island Iced Teas at Terminal 5 with an open tab. Trust me on this).

In order to give myself a reality check and curb my spending, I looked into budgeting websites and applications. This quest brought me to a magical app called Mint, a cross-platform budgeting and money management program that organizes your expenses, shows trends in your spending, and allows you to set budgets and goals. After connecting my online Chase Bank account with Mint, all of my transactions from the past couple months were uploaded to the site. While it was initially depressing to discover just how much of my money each month goes to food and clothing, it made me apportion my money every month for specific types of costs. For example, I gave myself a $30 limit for coffee shops; whenever I go to Starbucks my purchase is logged, and if I go over my limit, Mint reminds me on both my computer and iPhone (if you have the app) that I’m enjoying one too many iced lattes. It’s kind of like having your mother over your shoulder, nagging you – in a helpful way though, of course.

MIXOLOGY

As much as I’d like to believe that my discovery of the deliciousness that is Smirnoff marshmallow vodka and orange soda now makes me a bartender, I must concede that it doesn’t. One often gets sick of simply putting whatever alcoholic beverage is at hand with a random soda from the vending machine. Since I do not have an unlimited amount of money and was too lazy/broke to do the Barnard Bartending course, I have recently started to depend on a secret weapon called Mixology.

Us collegiettes tend to hoard whatever alcohol we have, simply because…it’s alcohol. We usually don’t think about potential cocktails when we purchase the stuff. We also typically have a number of non-alcoholic beverages in our fridges. The Mixology iPhone app allows you to take an inventory of all your alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and uses this inventory to produce a list of drinks using the ingredients you already have. Now you can maintain a sense of classiness next time you get wasted. Normally you’d just be pounding back shots for lack of better options, but at least
this time you attempted to make cocktails. Give yourself a pat on the back! If you have any control over your motor skills, that is. 

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