College: There’s an app for that

By The Beacon | September 19, 2013 1:19am

By Kathryn Walters |

If you take a gander around the UP campus, you will see a peculiar sight: a person shuffling along the sidewalk with glazed eyes, not realizing where he or she is walking, totally absorbed in the small digital rectangle in his or her hand.

Multiply that sight by roughly 3,000, and you’ve got a good portion of the UP student body that is glued to smartphones, iPads, Kindles - you name it. In this digital age, how else are we supposed to plan our schedules and social lives, stay up to speed with the latest celebrity drama, manage our school assignments and listen to that new singer who’s climbing the charts?

I did my homework this week and scoured the App Store for apps tailor-made for the life of a college student. From music and money management to gaming and graphing calculators, here’s a taste of what’s out there.

Mint: Free - available on iOS and Android. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this app, which acts as your personal financial adviser. Sync up your bank accounts to your phone or tablet and Mint will keep tabs on how much money goes to rent … or late-night Taco Bell runs. Plus, it budgets your money and sends you reminders when bills are due.

Wunderlist: Free - available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. To quote a friend, Wunderlist is wunderful! For those of you who just can’t live without lists (and lists for your lists), Wunderlist organizes all of the things you need to do in one place. It also sends you helpful reminders when things are due, and you can prioritize all of your lists. You’ll never forget when that history paper is due, or to buy extra chocolate at Fred Meyer for midterms week.

SkyDrive: Free - available on iOS and Android. Backing up your files is super important because you never know when Murphy’s Law is going to rear its ugly head, leaving your computer useless and you on the verge of tears. SkyDrive can help with that. Send your important documents to that lovely Cloud in the sky with SkyDrive and access them from any of your devices.

Spotify: Free - available on iOS and Android. A lot of people might prefer Pandora, but Spotify lets me listen to exactly who I like, rather than throwing a bunch of random artists into my mix that I “might” enjoy too. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection, and your personal soundtrack is ready for doing homework, working out - whatever your heart desires.

7 Minute Workout: Free - available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. I always complain about wanting to exercise and not having enough time, but with the 7 Minute Workout app, my excuses fall as flat as my future abs (hopefully!). The app takes you through 12 short exercises for seven minutes per session, making your heart pump just enough so you don’t have to feel guilty about the cookie (or three) you ate earlier today.

UP Library: Free - available on iOS. One of UP’s best kept secrets is that the Library has an app! It’s been available since last year, but has been a bit under the radar since its release. You can search the catalog, contact librarians, renew and request items and scan ISBN numbers to see if the library has a book you just stumbled across in Powell’s.

EasyBib: Free - available on iOS and Android. After writing your huge term paper, the last thing you want to do is spend more time figuring out how to cite your sources in Chicago Style when all you know is MLA. Download this app, and your troubles are over. Simply scan the barcode of a book and it will create a citation in perfect APA, MLA or Chicago Style and send it to your email.

CalcMadeEasy: Free - available on iOS. It’s been three years since I’ve last taken a math class, and while I’ve definitely forgotten quite a bit since then, I haven’t forgotten the burning anger of being forced to buy a $100 scientific calculator which I would never need again after that class. This app, that can perform the same calculations as a scientific calculator,  would have seriously come in handy then.

IMDb Trivia: Free - available on iOS. One of my favorite ways to unwind in college is watching TV or a movie. I think it’s safe to say I’m not alone in this. But when you’re in the middle of a huge study session and only have five minutes for a break before the nose goes back to the grindstone, check out IMDb Trivia. Put your encyclopedic knowledge of movies, TV and celebrities to the test, compete against your friends and learn even more random facts about “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead.”

Pivvot: Free - available on iOS. I have found my new study-break addiction, and its name is Pivvot: a captivating game that tests your logic and sense of timing. All you do is pivot to the left or right on your phone or tablet to avoid obstacles as your target travels down a winding path of beautiful shapes and colors. It doesn’t sound super exciting, but trust me on this one. I might never put my phone down now.