5 Apps To Make Next Semester Better

5 Apps To Make Next Semester Better

Use these to focus, study, organize, and more.
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Smartphones have made our lives a lot simpler. We can access the internet, calendars, maps, and more from a device that fits in our pocket. However, we mostly use this device for texting, playing games, and checking all of our social media accounts.

Sometimes we forget that there are tons of great apps out there that can help us learn as well as stay focused and organized. Here are four of my favorites.

1. Forest

Do you ever sit down with the intention of studying, but a notification appears on your screen, then suddenly it's two hours later and you're not quite sure how you ended up on YouTube? If this sounds familiar, you should try "Forest."

Whenever you need to focus, simply open the app and set a timer to plant a virtual tree. The tree will grow while you are studying and if you try to leave the app, then you'll kill the tree. The app then makes you feel pretty awful for doing that.


If that isn't enough of an incentive, the app lets you earn coins based on the amount of time that you stay focused. These coins can be used to plant real trees in India and Zambia, so your productivity is not only helping you, but the planet as well.

2. Quizlet

Any free moment is an opportunity to study when you have a big test coming up, but it's not really convenient to carry around flashcards while you're waiting for your coffee or sitting on the bus. Quizlet solves this problem by allowing you to create study sets of flashcards that can be accessed from your phone or computer.


Quizlet provides different learning tools that allow you to test your memory of the information on the flashcards. You can also use study-sets from other Quizlet users and share your flashcards with classmates.

3. iStudiez Pro

I love Lily Pulitzer planners as much as the next girl, but I'll be the first to admit that they aren't the most practical way to keep yourself organized. iStudiez Pro eliminates the need for a planner that takes up space in your bag.


This easy to use app allows you to keep your class schedule, professors' contact information, grades, and homework all in one place. You can even set reminders for important assignments and tests.

4. Evernote

If you're anything like me, you have tons of random notebooks and word documents filled with notes from various classes. While it's convenient to take notes anywhere, it can make it difficult to find what you need when it comes time to write a paper or study. Evernote solves this problem by allowing you to create notes that sync between all of your devices.

When using Evernote you can stay organized by storing all of your checklists, notes, documents, and more in one place that can be accessed using your iPad, iPhone, or Mac. You can have several different notebooks to keep everything organized and even clip and save notes from the web.

5. Netflix

After all of that studying and work you'll need a break. That's where Netflix comes into play. Do you want to enjoy a guilt-free Netflix binge? Pick a series and only allow yourself to watch episodes when you're at the gym. It's a great way to relax and you won't mind working out if it's the only way that you get to catch up on "Scandal."

These apps have helped me to stay focused, keep organized, study more, and relax. I hope that they can help you do the same.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Clancy

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Teaching Is An Amazing Career, It's More Powerful Than We Give It Credit For

Teaching is a career that is heavily overlooked — it is much more powerful than people realize.

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When it comes to teaching, it's not always easy or fun. But, let me ask you this: what career really is easy or fun all the time? Being challenged can beneficial. Otherwise, you are just going through the same routine over and over. Teaching will definitely keep you on your toes because there's always something happening.

People seem to think teachers just lecture on information that they hope their students remember for the test. You know what? Those people are dead wrong. Teaching is more than that. Teaching means having the passion and drive to educate children. Teaching is turning something dull to something that students will find more interesting and enjoyable.

Teaching is also about providing tools and other resources for students in order for them to succeed, especially the ones who tend to struggle in school. Being able to give those tools to help them accomplish their goals is extremely rewarding. A teacher will work with a student who is behind on his/her reading skills to have him/her be right at the level he/she needs to be by the end of the school year. Not many jobs provide a reward quite like guiding a student, if not more, to success.

Although it focuses on academics, teaching is not just about that. Sure, being an effective teacher is key, but there are other aspects that are just as significant. As a teacher, you also have to connect with your students. Knowing your students on a personal level is so important. The connection can build respect that will, in turn, help them to succeed. Plus, students spend more time with you on a day-to-day basis than they do with their parents — isn't that frightening? So, you have to be able to support them and let them know them that you are there for them if they are having trouble.

Additionally, that connection you build with your students can last a lifetime. You can witness the growth of a student right in front of you. In fact, I am still very close with some of my teachers from elementary school. Many of them inspired me to become a teacher. Because of those great bonds I built, I had the opportunity to intern with some of my past teachers, which was a rewarding experience for everyone. Being able to develop such a connection with someone so different in age is something that is so powerful and that doesn't come with many other careers.

Teaching is so amazing. There are so many layers and beautiful aspects to it. Again, it can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun. Not many people can say they have fun and laugh every day at work. I also truly believe that not many other people can say their careers provide as rewarding of a feeling as teaching does. To be able to make such a difference in someone's life is an incredible thing. Teaching is my passion. I know teaching will not be only gratifying but something that will bring me pure joy.

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