If You're A Student, You Need To Know About These Free Tools

If You're A Student, You Need To Know About These Free Tools

High school, college, grad school — it doesn't matter! These are essential.


Four years and thousands of dollars later, I'm finally graduating from college this summer. I've learned some valuable things, and I've learned some things that I will never use again. However, I have stumbled across some very useful online tools along the way. If you're a student (at any level) these free tools will make your life so much easier.

1. Google Docs

Google Docs — the heartbeat of all college group projects. If you haven't heard of this one, it's probably because you haven't had a college group project yet. When you do, this free online tool will save your life. One group member can create a document and share the document with other group members and voila, all group members can have a live view of the document. You can see what others are typing as they type it, as well as make edits, chat within the program, and see who has done what work. That means groups can work on papers together without trying to coordinate all of their schedules so they can physically be in the same place. It's a magical thing.

2. Google Slides

If you thought Google Docs was amazing, wait until you hear about Google Slides. I've found that this tool isn't as well known as Google Docs, even amongst college students, so this is your chance to use it in your next group assignment and impress all of your classmates. Google Slides is to Microsoft PowerPoint as Google Docs is to Microsoft Word. In other words, Google Slides is the same concept as Google Docs but with a live, collaborative presentation editor rather than just a document. This comes in handy for any project requiring a presentation or visual aid.

3. Canva

Canva is a beginner graphic designer's best friend. I'm far from a graphic design genius, but Canva allows me to make professional looking graphics for any occasion. It has templates for resumes, social media posts, logos, infographics and more. It's a free alternative to the many paid graphic design programs out there and it is super easy to use. I've used it to create content for class projects, projects at my job and on my social media. Next time you need to create any sort of graphic, Canva is the answer.

4. Pexels

Pexels is your one-stop shop for stock photos. I have a confession to make- for school papers and projects, I used to just pull any image off of the web, copy and paste it, and call it a day. THIS IS NOT OK. This was a long time ago and I didn't know any better, but now I do, and so do you. Thankfully, Pexels has tons of beautiful free stock photos available for use. The website even indicates if you'll need to provide an attribution for using the photo.

5. SurveyMonkey

Not everyone will need to create a survey during their time at school. However, in some majors, it comes up quite a bit. If you ever do need to create a survey, SurveyMonkey is your friend. This tool allows you to create highly customized surveys to meet any need. The only downfall is that the free version of the tool limits you to create surveys that have 10 questions or less. However, I've never found this to be a problem since I usually want to keep surveys short and sweet!

6. Kahoot

Maybe you had teachers in high school who were cool enough to use Kahoot. I certainly did. If you don't know what Kahoot is, it's a website that allows you to create timed quizzes that participants can play in real-time on any phone or laptop to compete for points. It's a fun way to get your classmates involved if you ever have an assignment that requires you to plan a class activity (I've had quite a few).

7. Prezi

Prezi is a fun alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint. The templates are a bit more modern an exciting than a typical PowerPoint. Prezi also functions similar to Google Slides in that multiple people can work on the presentation at the same time. I would recommend Prezi the next time you want to spice up a class presentation.

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.


So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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