This week’s blog post is all about some of the apps I find useful in my life as a student. I haven’t included the usual things like social media, games etc. but rather have focussed on 4 key areas: studying, shopping, health and travel.
This is what we’re here for after all! My favourite app for studying is actually UCB’s free app called U@UCB. I only recently started using it properly and it is so helpful! I’ve posted screenshots below but the app is basically the best parts of UCB portal condensed onto your phone. You can see your timetable, attendance, library loan, printing credits, results, reading lists and so much more. One of my favourite parts of this app is the ‘Find A PC’ option. It shows you where the computer rooms in all of the UCB buildings are and the best part- it shows you how many are taken and how many free ones are left! This is going to be invaluable as I begin writing my dissertation and helpful for group projects when you’re looking for multiple computers and not just one.
RefMe is useful for assignments as you just have to enter the ISBN of your chosen book and the app will reference it for you! If you’re not confident yet with referencing, this app/website is a lifesaver (although don’t worry about referencing- it gets easier as you get used to doing it).
Forest is the only app on my list that isn’t free- it’s only £2.99 but I used it religiously throughout my A levels and for uni assignments. It’s designed to stop you from getting distracted by your phone when you’re supposed to be studying. You simply input the amount of time you want to be phone-free for and it plants a tree for you- if you exit the app then the tree will die but if you don’t look at your phone, your seed grows into a tree that is then added to your forest. It’s also helpful for tracking how much time in a day/week/month you’ve spent studying. Another great thing about the app is that Forest have partnered with a charity called Trees for the Future, so when you spend your coins earned by studying to buy new types of trees (yes, that’s a thing) Forest donates to the charity- so far they’ve planted 177,853 trees through use of the app!
One of the perks of being a student is the discounts that are offered by shops, which is so helpful when on a limited budget. My favourite by far has got to be UNiDAYS, they offer such a wide range of discounts for clothes, tech, beauty, music, TV, books and more. However, a word of warning- if you are on a tight budget don’t use the discounts as an excuse to shop for unnecessary stuff! For example, when Superdrug or Boots have student discounts, I’ll use them to buy the essentials like shampoo, conditioner, hair ties and skincare that I would have bought anyway but I get it at (usually) 10% off. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then but on my budget, I definitely cannot afford for it to be a regular habit.
Speaking of budgets, another one of my essentials is my banking app- obviously there won’t be any screenshots to show you here!! I find this so helpful to have on my phone because it means that I can check on my bank balance at any time. This is good because sometimes I can bury my head in the sand and try to ignore how much I’ve spent but if you get into the habit of checking your balance regularly, I find that I am more motivated to try and manage my money better.
My first app is mostly for your mental health, because that’s just as important as physical health. I love to use the app Calm when I can feel myself getting stressed, it gives me some time out to relax and put everything into perspective. The app is free, although you can pay a fee to unlock more options. You can listen to calming music, go through guided meditation sessions and listen to sleep stories which I find impact my physical health too as they help me to get to sleep faster.
Another health app on my phone is NHS go. This app was developed for young people and by young people to encourage us to talk and care about our health. Sometimes when I’m feeling under the weather I try and google my symptoms which usually leads to me thinking I’m going to die. NHS go is a reliable and accurate source of information to help under 25s understand better what’s going on with our minds and bodies. It can also help you find nearby NHS services if you do think you need to talk to someone. In the screenshot below I put in the Maltings’ postcode and searched for GPs, but there are other options like A&E, Dentists, Fitness Services, Opticians, Pharmacies, Quit Smoking Services, Walk-Ins and more.
The 4 main travel apps I have on my phone are Uber, London Midland, National Rail and a Tube Map. Uber is helpful for nights out, or trips around Birmingham if the train isn’t an option. It can also work out fairly cheap if you are in a group and split the fee. I have the London Midland trains app as that is the service I use to get home to Hertfordshire and National Rail is useful for my journeys to and from Selly Oak and UCB. I have the Tube Map app for the times I go to London as I am not as well versed in all of the lines as some true Londoners are. Having these travel apps on my phone helps me to get places much more efficiently, as the upcoming train information is on my phone instead of having to find the time boards.
I hope you found this helpful! I’m looking forward to lectures beginning on Monday.
Until next time,