Tag Archives: apps

Why Every College Student Needs Notion In Their Life

Let’s face it, staying organized in college is hard. Especially when most classes are online through Zoom or in some cases, completely asynchronous and self-paced. 

As a first-year college student, I was struggling with finding a way to organize my academic and personal life. Then I stumbled upon a productivity app called Notion. Those unfamiliar with this app are probably wondering what exactly is Notion and how exactly it works.

Released in March 2016, only available on web browsers and macOS, Notion works as a fully customizable interface described as an all-in-one workplace. From a daily journal to reading lists, creating a vision board, a budget tracker, or my personal favorite, a school semester planner, the app works for just about anything.

Also, one major bonus is Notion’s Personal Pro plan that is free for students and teachers who sign up with their school email account with no credit card required! Check out this article from Notion Official to learn more about setting up your personal workplace.

Along with free access, Notion’s Personal Pro plan offers users unlimited file uploads such as images, videos, audio, embeds, web bookmarks, and more. As well as unlimited guest collaborators on pages, and access to the version history of any page for up to 30 days. 

If you are new to the app and unsure where to start, I recommend checking out Notion’s templates available for users to duplicate and customize. Some popular templates include class notes, weekly or daily agendas, personal course schedules, meeting notes, and tracking job applications.

When I was first experimenting with Notion, a YouTube channel called Janice Studies was especially helpful in my journey to find out what works best for my needs.

Last year, she posted a video tutorial for a school semester template that included a weekly course schedule, a master schedule with assignments and due dates, as well as course pages with class information and topic lists. It was a lifesaver and I am forever grateful I found her channel before my first semester at UT.

Then, earlier this year, she posted another video tutorial for a new and updated version of the previous template. Similar to the last one, this is currently saving my life this semester.

This template features a master schedule and weekly course schedule. I found this one to be much more detailed with course pages now including lecture notes, learning objectives, and a grade calculator.

Another helpful resource for users new and old is the Notion Made Simple Facebook Group, which has nearly 34,000 members. In this group, users are allowed to share their workspace, templates (most of them are free but some cost money), tips and tricks, as well as ask questions if you are ever struggling or confused about something.

The most recent resource I have found from the Facebook Group is a website with free templates from Pranav – NotionSquared for a reading tracker.

Screenshot by Thalia Menchaca

Working as a digital library, this template allows readers to track their progress for multiple books based on the number of pages read. It also has the option to click on the title and start a new page for taking notes as you read. The website also has templates for goal tracking, efficient to-do lists, and spaced repetition for working or studying.

Though it may sound dramatic, I don’t think I would have survived this year not only without Notion but also these incredibly helpful resources that are free and available to users. Although there are moments when I struggled to customize a template to my liking (and also because I am a perfectionist), it gets easier as you get more accustomed and play around with it.

Featured Image by Lauren Breach

Apps & Extensions To help you with Zoom University

As we begin the first few weeks of Fall, it can be a difficult time to resume online classes. College is typically stressful, so being stuck in the closed confinements of a Zoom screen can be much worse. The tiring eyes, the awkward video lectures, and lack of Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” are many factors that can lead to procrastination and additional stress. Well, fortunately there are many apps and extensions that are extremely helpful at this time. From time management to studying, here’s some (FREE) resources that can assure a efficient and productive semester:

Photo by Lauren Breach

Time Management

Tide

Tide app is the epitome of relaxation and focus. It provides a timer for focus, naps, and mediation equipped with scenic backgrounds as well as natural, soothing sounds. 

Flat Tomato

This app not only shows stats of your study progress but also syncs with other devices. Similar to the famous pomodoro method, Flat Tomato provides intervals between working and taking a break, ensuring more productivity. 

Routinery

Routinery is as if you had a personal assistant in your back pocket, as it curates your own routines. It also includes stats/feedback of your habits and progress.

Photo by Lauren Breach

Notes

*Evernote , *Google Docs, *One Note, & Notion

Now, the wondrous world of note taking is so simplistic yet overwhelming that these four apps are very interchangeable. Although writing notes by hand is a powerful tool, these note resources are equally effective, depending on one’s aesthetic as well as one’s usual extension. 

If one prefers using google chrome, Google Docs is preferred while the same goes with Windows and One Note. Yet, if aesthetic and separating more notes/projects is more essential, Evernote & Notion are the perfect tools.

a new era of fitness

New technology has revolutionized the way we go about our daily lives. From the comfort of our phones we can consume media, make money transactions and now monitor our fitness.

According to Phys.org, one of the first electronic waves of fitness was with VCRs and Jane Fonda’s video series on the “ideal” body in the 1970s and 80s. Along with the addition of electronic treadmills and exercise bikes in gyms, electronic fitness was underway. Now in the 21st century, we have more personalized and convenient ways to track our fitness with the development of Fitbits and Apple Watches. As well as built in fitness trackers on smartphones, now it seems easier than ever to get in shape.

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In September 2009 Fitbit released their first fitness tracker with the capability to track the users movements, sleep patterns, and calorie consumption. Since then, Fitbit has grown to become one of the leading companies in fitness with a net worth of $1 billion. 

In September 2019 the company launched Fitbit Premium, an app that takes data from the users smartwatch and turns it into personalized guided programs. 

With 11 different smartwatch models, and two smart scales, it is safe to say that Fitbit has come a long way from the original clip-on trackers.

While Fitbit appears to be growing each day, they still have some competition.

In April 2015, Apple joined the fitness industry with the release of their Apple Watch. The watch had the ability to not only track the wearer’s fitness but also make payments, send texts and receive calls.

Courtesy of Unsplash

The watch was an instant hit, landing on Time Magazine’s list of the 25 best inventions in 2014. According to Know Your Mobile, Apple sold 33 million watches in 2015 and became the #1 best-selling wearable technology in the world. Since then Apple has gone on to make five Apple Watch series. The newest models include new additions such as noise alerts and can track menstrual cycles.

Along with all these watches are fitness apps, since the release of smartphones in the late 2000s the amount of health and fitness apps has grown exponentially. Some of the most popular being, Nike Training Club, Carrot Fit and My Fitness Pal, according to Digital Trends. These apps include features such as heart rate monitors, calorie intake and meditation.

In a 2015 study done by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, it was discovered that fitness apps can increase exercise levels and a user’s BMI. Researchers also concluded that the apps can help those looking to exercise to overcome the barrier of exercise and increase belief in themselves.

As beneficial as digital fitness can be, there are downsides and concerns.

Fitness apps put emphasis on weight loss which can contribute to stigma against overweight bodies and in turn causing overweight individuals to reject a more healthy lifestyle, according to JMIR

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In a 2019 study, JMIR discovered that for young people, fitness apps can result in the development of poor body images and inadequate eating and exercise patterns. To combat this, JMIR recommends app developers to encourage long term behavior change and self-reflection when using the apps.

Fitness apps can be a good tool for users, but they are not to be taken lightly. In order to truly reap the benefits, it is important that users take it as a chance to become more educated about their health. With the right mindset and behavior these apps can help users take back control in their lives.