There’s an app for that, University Students’ Edition

February 17, 2022

It’s about helping first-year students acclimatise to varsity life and all that comes with it.

Need support? First-year or Senior reach out!

Welcome back to our blog. This post is the second in the series that started with “Last minute tips for a smooth start for first-year students”. If you’re a first-year, check out the above blog and get some tips on what to do and where to get help for free.

If you’re a senior student that struggled through last year – reach out to faculty advisors. All 9 UP faculties have advisors and they are willing and dedicated to help you. If they can’t help, they will refer you to someone who can. No matter the type of support, whether academic, accommodation or mental health, just reach out, they’re there for you.

Too much of anything is bad! Social media and digital devices are no exception!

You knew that already, right? You may have ignored “life-hack” apps in the past in favour of Instagram, WhatsApp and TikTok. Now is the time to change that and ‘hack’ your journey at varsity.

If you’re a university student and are spending hours a day on social media or video apps, it will affect your success. Down-time from varsity work is vital. That’s the time for checking social media and watching YouTube.

If you simply can’t stay away from your devices and social media, you may have a problem. You’re not alone and help is available. Here is an article that will help you determine if you need help: How to End Social Media Addiction and Protect Your Mental Health.

There is an app for that!

You knew that right! But a little reminder now and then never hurt.

There are many apps that can help you navigate and be successful at university. These ‘smart apps’ help manage what little time you have, take notes and, yes, study. Here are a few that we think are excellent, check them out, but also do your own research. We all are partial to different ways of doing things, and this is no different. Remember – don’t just click on the links you need to actually start using them to derive benefit!

1. ProWritingAid

The best way to sum up what this app does comes straight from the home page of their website. “A grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package”.

We can attest to that. Having used many of these types of apps, we feel that this trumps them all (no pun intended). No matter what courses you’re taking, getting your writing right is vital. You don’t know how many times, we have heard people say, “Couldn’t he / she have used a spell checker?” As for grammar; unless you do a lot of writing or are an English whiz kid it’s even harder, though as important as spelling.

When you turn in a paper at university, lecturers consider the way it’s written. And with apps like this, being able to help, excuses are no longer acceptable to people reviewing your work. One of the most important things to mention is the free version is excellent. However, if you’re doing a course that requires a lot of writing, the paid version offers great additional features.

ProWritingAid works with most email platforms, word processors and browsers such as: Word, Gmail, Outlook, Google Docs, Apple, Open Office, Safari, Edge, Chrome, Firefox etc. and it will work on all your devices.

Want to know more and download it, you’ll find it here: ProWritingAid and in your app store.

2. Speechnotes

Varsity is hectic. There is information coming at you from every angle and you need to listen, note it, process it and respond via lecture preparation, assignments, projects and exam prep.

Fact is, we’re human no matter how organised or how fast we write, we’re going to miss things. Plus, we have thoughts all day that are pertinent to our studies and need to capture them for later. Unfortunately, it’s just not workable to pull out a book and write them down. We all need a little help. We need to record the lectures, study groups and our thoughts.

The Speechnotes app is an excellent way to do these things. The best part; it converts speech to text. Trust us, it will become an indispensable tool for you. Get it from your app store, you’ll be thankful you did.

3. Todoist

One of the best ways to navigate the craziness of varsity is to be organised and plan for things you need and want to get done. You’ve probably just slapped your forehead and said “duh!” because that seems obvious. However, it’s amazing how many students just aren’t. This typically causes them to be overwhelmed and no matter what they do, they never seem to get ahead.

Being organised just makes things easier and makes achieving time targets for your varsity work as well as still doing the things you want to do, like sport, gym or just hanging out with your friends.

There is so much to do that it seems getting organised is impossible. It’s not, there’s a solution. Start by thinking basic and apply the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid), Google it. All this means is simple wins the day, complicated is scary and is more of a reason not to get organised.

The simplest place to start is to use an app that is built specifically to help students get organised. Our pick is Todoist. It’s simple to use and really makes getting on top of things far easier. This brilliant blog, 19 Hidden features of Todoist goes through many of the most useful features and how to use them. Get it from your app store, today.

Till next time then

Thank you for reading our post. At The Fields off-campus accommodation, we understand the journey you’re on. We understand you have the confidence to tackle any challenges you encounter. However, we all need a little help and support – that’s why we create these posts.

The Fields is located on the University of Pretoria’s doorstep. It’s an incredible space where you have so many accommodation options, like living on your own or sharing with a roommate. Where and how you live while you’re at varsity makes a difference to your success. Read our blog explaining why we say this – Success with the right address. Check out our rates for 2022 and reach out if you have any questions – we are here to help with all your accommodation questions.

We are running an AMAZING COMPETITION – Join The Fields and stand a chance to WIN R10 000.

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