Here at Wink Reports, our company mantra is “Software Empowering Lifestyle”. This is not merely a slick sounding corporate buzz-phrase – these three words embody our attitude towards our products and the way we approach our work. We believe in creating software products that empower you to get things done faster and more efficiently. Using software shouldn’t be an arduous, complicated necessity; it should be a pleasant, simple experience that ultimately makes it easier for you to get things you need done, so you can better spend your time enjoying life. This was an important consideration when we created Wink Reports.
When I was an undergraduate student I always felt starved for time – not that things are a whole lot easier now that I’m a Mum and studying a postgraduate course! But anyway, juggling my work, social and study obligations was a constant challenge. It wasn’t long before I started figuring out which tasks were using up the most of my precious time, and looking for solutions to help me get them done more efficiently.
So, I’d like to share with you some of my favourite websites and apps that help me stress less, study better and free up my time so I can use it to do more fun things. Here’s my shortlist of free software that will empower your student lifestyle!
- Citefast is a website that auto-generates citations for reference lists in several different formats. There’s a reason this one is at the top of my list, and that is because I know that this website alone has saved me hundreds of hours of work throughout my university enrolment. Writing up reference lists or bibliographies for all the lab reports, essays and assessment tasks I had was a nightmare until I found this website. Tinkering around in Word with the italics button, checking referencing websites to make sure that I’d put brackets and full stops in the right place and staring at a screen for hours trying to make sure I wasn’t about to lose a mark because I’d put an author’s name out of alphabetical order – no thanks! Citefast does all that fiddly work for you. You just give it a few search words and it goes off and finds what you are trying to cite, then spits out a reference list in the format you choose. Magic!
- Quizlet. Flashcards are one of the most effective ways to study. They promote active recall, they easily facilitate repetition and they engage your meta-cognitive faculties to help ingrain your learning into memory. But if you’re like me and you have terrible handwriting, then they’re a hassle to put together and use. Quizlet solves this problem by providing a free flashcard creation service that enables you to quickly create, save and organise series of flashcards. You can even download their app, and be able to access your flashcards on the go!
- F.lux is a software program which automatically adjusts your screen brightness to be appropriate for the time of day or night that you are using your computer. Being a student means a lot of late nights finishing assignments and cramming, and the last thing you need is the quality of your sleep being diminished because you’ve been staring at a screen all day and your eyes feel like they’re about to bleed. I can honestly say that since I started using flux, I’ve found it a lot easier to get to sleep at night.
- The Amazing Grade Calculator: I’m one of those people who MUST KNOW what mark they need to get on their final exam in order to get a passing grade. Having that magic number really helps take the pressure off and makes my exam experience a lot less stressful. This website is pretty simple, you just put in what marks you’ve already got leading up to the exam, and what grades your school will award you per mark (for example, 85 is a HD) and it’ll tell you what mark you need on your exam to pass.
- Timetable: When I was in the second year of my degree, my university decided to stop printing free student diaries. Grrrrr. Luckily, the Timetable app was a good replacement. It allows you to map out your classes, assignment due dates, exam dates, and sync them across all of your android devices. Oh, and it also auto-mutes your phone during lectures. How cool is that?
- Wikipedia: Lecturers and tutors alike will tell you never, ever to cite Wikipedia. So you probably shouldn’t do that. But personally, I found Wikipedia to be an excellent resource for getting ideas, and starting to research topics for essays and assignments. Because everything in Wikipedia is supposed to be referenced, you can use the reference list from the article of your choice to go off and find actual papers and other reputable sources to investigate and put in your own reference lists.
- Moodgym is an innovative, interactive web program designed to prevent depression by teaching the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy as well as meditation and relaxation exercises. I’ve included it in this list because as a psychology student, I’ve been taught the importance of preventative measures for mental health but this is something that many people either don’t know about, overlook, or don’t find the time for. University can be very rewarding but also extremely challenging and having access to a tool that helps you keep an eye on your mental state can only be a helpful thing. Because Moodgym is online, you can do it anonymously, either at home or anywhere with an internet connection, at any time of the day or night. I should stress here that if you feel that your mental health is not 100% please seek out professional guidance. MoodGYM is not a substitute for seeking diagnosis and treatment from a qualified person – but it is very good tool for self-care and skill development purposes.
While this list was written specifically with students in mind, keep an eye out for a future blog post I’m working on which will focus on what websites and apps I find most useful as a working Mum. If you’ve got any questions or you’d like to share your own experiences, please feel free to contact us! I’d love to hear what your favourites are.