If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the past several weeks trying to discount the fact that this schoolwork piling up is actually important. And now, with midterms fast approaching, that blissful neglect is turning into panic as you realize all those hours spent marathoning “Downton Abbey” (thank you, Netflix) could have been put to better (or more responsible) use. So as you decide to buckle down and get to work, Her Campus Kenyon is here to provide you with the (free!) iPhone apps that are sure to get you through to October Break (or at the very least, help you study for that Bio exam.)
1. Evernote: Do you ever have trouble staying organized? This free app might just change your life. Essentially, Evernote is an organizer that keeps everything you need in the palm of your hand. Along with keeping track of assignments and making to-do lists, this app lets you attach pictures and voice recordings to your notes. Admittedly, it’s a bit difficult to use at first, but don’t give up. After a few days of navigating the features and haphazardly clicking buttons, Evernote becomes second nature and can be used as more than just an academic planner. Found a designer purse that you absolutely love but can’t afford? Take a picture, attach it to a note, and you won’t forget about when your mom takes you shopping over family weekend!
2. StudyBlue: StudyBlue functions like an updated, sleeker version of Quizlet. After an easy registration process, this app allows you to make your own flashcard sets and save them to your iPhone so you can access them anywhere. In addition to choosing between having presented the cards in the order you made them or having them shuffled, you can also choose to sort them “hardest to easiest” or “least studied,” so there’s no excuse not to know all those terms. And iPhone-less ladies, don’t feel left out, StudyBlue has a website (studyblue.com) so you can make and use your flashcards on your laptop, too.
3. SparkNotes: I’m not going to suggest that this can be used as a substitute for your assignments. (Seriously, think about how much money you/your parents spent on those books you’re supposed to be reading.) But SparkNotes can be a useful study tool if you’re using it the right way. Whether you’re reading The Republic or Don Quixote, there are bound to be passages you don’t understand. That’s where SparkNotes comes in; it clarifies things you might be confused about, helping you prepare for discussions, essays and exams. Having this program right at your fingertips also means you can review what you already know on your walk to class.
4. Simply Yoga: If you’re looking for a way to de-stress, make some time for yoga. (Also, check out Rachel Larson’s article for more ways to eliminate stress.) For beginner yogis, Simply Yoga will help you learn the basics in 20, 40 or 60-minute workouts. The instructor in the app goes slowly through various poses that are designed to help you relax. While you can find various yoga programs on YouTube and other places online, the advantage to having this app is that you can take it anywhere. Now I don’t suggest you go into Downward Facing Dog during your study break in the library, but if you feel like doing a morning routine outside, Simply Yoga makes that possible.
5. T-Zero Countdown Timer: Whether it’s October Break, Family Weekend or your birthday, having something to look forward to will keep you motivated. Just set the date and time of whatever that may be, and this countdown timer will keep track of the days, hours, minutes and seconds. So when you start to get down about the amount of work you have piling up, remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Bonus: SelfControl This isn’t actually an iPhone app, but if there’s anything that will keep you on task while you’re trying to write a 10-page essay, this is it. Go to selfcontrolapp.com, download this program, create a “blacklist” of websites that are likely to distract you and set the timer for however long you need to stay focused. Once you’ve done this, SelfControl will block those sites that might get you sidetracked. Be warned: once you set the timer, there’s nothing you can do to turn it off.