Browsing your Google Play Store or App Store for useful applications can be an exhausting task. We would all like to believe that our expensive gadgets are the solution to the daily problems we encounter. Unfortunately, there is a veritable sea of applications proclaiming their various benefits. There are countless apps for games and other forms of amusement, but what can be found that is truly useful?
As a student, what is “useful” is defined by elements of convenience and organization. Remembering due dates, assignment details, study group sessions and other scholarly appointments can become stressful if unassisted. Many people, including myself, have attempted to tidily record all these minutiae in various notebooks and planners. Inevitably, one of these notebooks is accidentally forgotten or lost, and there begins an accelerated path towards disorder.
Luckily, the tools of our era provide solutions to these issues. Two applications that I have found indispensable as a student for this purpose are Evernote and Wunderlist (available for free download at www.evernote.com and www.6wunderkinder.com, respectively). No longer do I have to sift through hundreds of free-to-download, obscure programs for the perfect organizational application. These two programs can’t make you a super-student or bump your grade up to that much-desired A, but they smooth out many of the day-to-day wrinkles inherent to a crammed schedule.
Evernote Corporation produces many different applications focused on efficient organization, with its main app Evernote being the most popular. In short, this application simplifies note-taking. If you are inclined to type up notes on your laptop during lectures, Evernote is the perfect tool. You can customize your profile by separating classes or topics into separate “notebooks,” each of which include various “notes,” or individual documents.
If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can synchronize your data among all your devices, so that your notes are always easily accessible. If you find yourself running across campus to take a test you completely forgot about, Evernote allows you to quickly go over your notes on the fly. Keeping every syllabus, note and project stored in Evernote prevents you from experiencing that dreaded situation where you don’t have a piece of information you desperately need.
Once you become familiar with the application, the notebooks and notes will start to pile up, creating a formidable collection of documents. If you take notes with the clunkier format of Microsoft Word, it can be quite difficult to locate documents. However, with Evernote, you can find those documents or even specific phrases within them using the search tool. Any piece of information that you enter on Evernote can be quickly summoned with a few key words.
Wunderlist’s function is a much less complex but no less helpful. It serves as an advanced calendar and to-do list, categorizing every assignment or task that you may have coming up. Wunderlist’s simple layout, with customizable backgrounds and profile settings, is extremely user-friendly and easy to master.
Similarly to Evernote, Wunderlist has the ability to synchronize information across all registered devices. You can enter homework due dates or meeting times quickly via your smartphone and have that information available later, when you sit down at your computer. The calendar and reminder functions of Wunderlist enable me to see what I need to do and prioritize, no matter what device I am using.
Wunderlist also has a search function that makes it easy to track down specific entries. Equally convenient are the categories that you can create within the application. Make a folder for each of your classes and see what assignments are due either in one class alone, or what is due during the course of a week. This application separates your tasks into manageable chunks, an appreciated relief in the life of any student.
These two applications can be useful even beyond the context of schoolwork. With Evernote, you can take notes on literally anything. By typing up thoughts as they appear in your mind, you won’t find yourself forgetting that amazing idea you had the other day, or the hilarious thing your friend said to you. Wunderlist is spectacular if, like me, you can never remember crucial appointments or even your mother’s birthday.
Whether you use these applications for scholarly or more personal reasons, Evernote and Wunderlist can help you organize your life. Since the day I downloaded both of them on my laptop and smartphone, I have felt that I am in control of my schedule, instead of the other way around.
Hailey Gross is a sophomore in English from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.