Students use apps to get ahead in new semester

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As K-State starts a new year and semester, many students are looking to improve their lives through better health, organization and increased focus on academics. For some, this is being done with the assistance of mobile apps.

Many students are finding themselves relying on the practicality and efficiency of apps in an age where paper copies are becoming rarer and older methods of communication are being replaced with instant messaging and other forms of communication.

“Apps are quick and easy,” Molly Jaax, freshman in animal sciences and industry, said. “There’s an app for everything.”

Christian Ford, freshman in wildlife ecology, said apps allow him to stay connected.

“I use Spotify, Snapchat and Reddit regularly,” Ford said. “They help with accessibility and communication on certain levels. I use these apps to keep up with my friends and world news.”

For students wishing to improve their physical activity and nutrition, both the iTunes and Google Play app stores offer a variety of apps to assist with health goals. One such app is the Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal, available for free on both iOS and Android. According to the app description on the iTunes and Google Play stores, the app contains a database of over 5 million different foods and associated nutritional content.

Students wishing to track, monitor and improve their exercise and physical activity should look to the health and fitness sections to find apps that meet their specific needs. Runkeeper, an app that times and catalogues the duration of a person’s physical activity, is available in both stores for free. The app has the ability to sync to both the Apple Watch and Android compatible smartwatches to display running statistics on the wearer’s wrist, and it offers personalized workout plans for speed and distance training and weight loss.

Another useful fitness app is the Pacer app, which is available for both iOS and Android systems. Pacer offers a pedometer that runs as a background process on the phone, keeping track of the steps the owner takes throughout the day. At the end of the day, the app offers statistics over distance, steps taken, calories burned and active time.

“(Pacer) has shown me that I definitely don’t exercise as much as I should,” Melissa Hamilton, junior in accounting, said. “And that motivates me to try to get more physical activity in.”

The new semester has also prompted many students to rethink their study habits and time management skills. Krista Long, freshman in biological systems engineering, said she recently downloaded and has been using Hours, an iOS app that tracks and organizes the time she spends studying for each of her individual classes.

“I really like (the app) because it holds me accountable for studying equally for each class,” Hours said.

For people who prefer to optimize every function of their mobile experiences, Trigger, available exclusively on Android devices, allows users to choose certain criteria that “triggers” various phone functions. For example, users can set their phones to automatically mute when connected to certain Wi-Fi networks.

Users seeking to unify their network of phones, laptops and tablets can look to Pushbullet, an app for both iOS and Android systems that mirrors phone notifications onto computer desktops. This feature allows users to directly respond to phone notifications and text messages from their computers without ever needing to physically access their phone. Other features include file access across connected devices and universal copy and paste.

Whether it be for studying, staying fit or organization, these are just a few of the apps that can help students through college.

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I’m Rafael Garcia, co-editor-in-chief at the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism, campus visit coordinator for the JMC Ambassadors, and the vice president of social events and communication for the Edgerley-Franklin Urban Leaders. I come from Emporia, Kansas, home of the Twinkie, world’s best tasting tap water and journalist William Allen White. I’m passionate about journalism because I love people and their stories, and I want to find and tell those stories here on campus. In my spare time, I’m a Chihuahua wrangler, doughnut enthusiast, Netflix watcher and racquetball player. Contact me at [email protected]