Apps To Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet

Apps To Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet

New Year, New You: There's An App For That
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There's an app for everything...or nearly everything. With winter break now almost a memory, New Year's resolutions strained as the novelty wears off (seriously, running every morning sounds great when you're lying in bed the night before, but it sounds awful the morning of), and the new semester fast approaching, why not check out some apps that will help you be a better you in this new year?

If your resolution was to get organized, then check out the following apps.

Evernote

I discovered Evernote in high school and have been a staunch advocate of this app since virtually day one. Evernote allows you to take notes, make to-do lists, clip web pages to your notebooks, and is based in the cloud, so you'll never lose any of it. It seamlessly integrates with its desktop client, which allows you to access your work from both your phone and your computer. My Evernote is full of everything from half-finished shopping lists (note to self: buy more salsa), to my term papers from the fall. Seriously, I can't recommend this app enough. If you stop reading this article now, you'll have come out ahead for downloading it.

iStudiez Pro

It's not an argument that college is stressful, and that falling behind is just one overlong nap away. iStudiez Pro fixes that. It's a digital planner for today's college student -- going way beyond basic homework tracking. This app includes the ability to track your professors' office hours and contact information (pro-tip: put this in on the first day of classes, it helps when you inevitably lose your syllabus). The desktop version adds the ability to upload and collect files relevant to assignments, and even track your group project members' contact info.

Fantastical


Fantastical is a powerful alternative to Apple's standard calendar app, but it also integrates the reminders feature into my favorite day planner available. The best feature of this app is its intuitive parsing. If I want to schedule a coffee date on Thursday at two, I simply type "coffee date Thursday at 2" into the new event field, and it creates the event. The parsing feature is able to differentiate between reminders and calendar events with impressive accuracy.

If your resolution (like mine) was to be in better shape, then you have thousands of apps to choose from. These are the ones I use and recommend.

MyFitnessPal

Abs are made in the gym but revealed in the kitchen, as the saying goes. Calorie counting is both the most essential aspect of getting fit, and the most annoying. MFP takes out most of pain in the ass aspects of calorie counting, relying on its massive food library to help you quickly and easily log your food intake daily. The app also tracks your weight and helps you set goals to keep your resolution on track. The reminders do get mildly passive-aggressive if you ignore them though, so be sure to stay on top of it!

Strava

I love running, and run tracking apps are a dime a dozen these days. I recommend Strava over its contemporaries for two main reasons. First, the app is the most accurate, in my experience. Before I switched to Strava, the app I used to track my running occasionally clocked me at three minutes for one mile, or tracked my running path right into a lake. As much as I wish I was that fast, I'm not, and knowing your pace is key to actually training. Strava also has a great web app, which I use to plan routes and compare times with my training partner.

Paprika

Paprika is an app for managing and curating recipes. Part of my personal resolution to get fitter was to cook for myself more, and resist the siren song of Chipotle. Paprika allows you to plan your meals for the week (or longer, if you're especially ambitious) using recipes you can either input yourself or clip from its native browser. Yes, that means you can save your Pinterest recipes into Paprika. The app also integrates shopping lists, nutrition information, and even has a built-in kitchen timer!

Sleep Cycle


If I could marry my bed, I probably would. Failing that, I'd settle for just my duvet. Jokes aside, sleep is the one thing that all college students simultaneously are in love with and need more of. Sleep cycle uses your phone's microphone (if it's on the nightstand) or accelerometer (if it's under your pillow) to track your sleep and provides you a sleep quality report when you wake up in the morning. Where the app really shines, however, is the way that it wakes you up. Rather than setting an alarm (or six) for a specific time, when you set Sleep Cycle, you set a range of time to be woken up during. The app then monitors your sleep and wakes you when you're in the lightest stage of sleep during that time. It sounds ludicrous, but it works.

These apps won't magically grant you more will power to avoid that brownie at Gordon's, but they'll make 2016 a year when you'll be better set up for success!

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Shanklin

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To Those Who Feel The Need To Tear Down Others, Take A Seat

You have no right to hurt others because you don’t agree with them.

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I recently wrote a super controversial article, which I'm honestly very proud of. In the comment section, there were plenty of people criticizing me because of what I believe in, mainly because they didn't believe in the same thing as I put out there.

I would just like everyone to know that the people that write for this amazing company are just that — people. They are real, they have opinions, and they have feelings. There is nothing different about them than you. Would you like someone commenting hate on your Facebook post or anything like that? No, no you wouldn't. When you comment rude things on something that someone worked long and hard on, you are just being rude and inconsiderate of their feelings.

If you just go to the comments to leave a rude comment, you can write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. You're being a bully. These writers more than likely will go to the comment section, just like I did, and will be hurt by your arrogant, inappropriate comments.

Ever heard of if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

If you don't agree with me that's fine, but that doesn't give you the right to deliberately go and try and tear me or anyone else down. You're just being rude and you have no reason to be, all I did was write an article on something I believe in.

Also, don't let anyone rude enough to do this tear you down or diminish your self-worth. There are people out there who are still kind and caring, don't listen to the negativity this world brings. Just keep doing what makes you happy, because in the end, that's all that really matters.

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