“I joke with my friends that I’m Iron Man and my phone is my J.A.R.V.I.S. because I wish there was someone who could remind me of things,” senior communication arts major Beth Kerlin said. “I’ve grown to use my phone as that constant companion who’s like ‘you won’t forget this, I’ll remind you.’”
Just as Marvel’s Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, would be lost without his J.A.R.V.I.S.—the artificial intelligent computer system that helps run his life—students are using their smartphones to help them do everything from making plans, to taking notes, to reminding them to pray.
“Basically, most apps I use are functional because they remind me of things that I would forget because I’m really busy,” Kerlin said.
One of Kerlin’s favorite apps is Timehop, which describes itself as “a time capsule of you.” Timehop gathers content a user posts on different social media platforms and provides daily updates about what the user was doing exactly one year ago, two years ago or three years ago.
She also uses the app Sunrise Calendar, which is a more advanced calendar app than the standard iPhone calendar. Sunrise pulls together all of your events into one place, including multiple Google calendars and Facebook events, allowing users to see their schedule three days at a time.
Prayer Notebook and Textlater are two other apps Kerlin uses daily. Textlater, as the name implies, allows users to schedule a text to be sent at a later time. Kerlin said this app is great for when it’s late at night and you remember you forgot to text someone. Prayer Notebook is a way to organize a user’s prayer life and helps users remember to pray via notifications.
While some Christians suggest fasts from technology and social media, Kerlin views technology as a resource.
“One of my biggest things about it [technology] is that especially in the Christian world people are critical about apps and being on your phone,” Kerlin said. “And they’ll talk about all of these fasts from technology, and I believe as a PR major that we should engage the world through using different apps.
“So I’m not always the biggest fan of fasting from Facebook or Twitter and things like that because it’s part of my career when I graduate. I think it’s a great way to make yourself known and to relate with people. So I see apps as a resource rather than the enemy.”
Sophomore psychology major Andrew Hill uses his phone to help him stay connected with family and friends. He said it can be both good and bad to be so connected.
“There are definitely benefits [to having a smartphone] because there is information right at your fingertips, but I definitely also recognize that it is a huge distraction,” Hill said. “Every night when I go to bed, instead of actually sleeping I’ll lay there for 30 minutes and check all my social network stuff and I know how bad it is, but it’s just so addictive.”
Hill said his favorite apps are Instagram and Snapchat. For school work, Hill uses a dictionary app to look up words when he’s reading.
Senior early childhood education major Trisha Landis utilizes her phone not only to stay in touch with friends and family, but also to help her plan for student teaching and find the cheapest gas.
Landis uses the Gas Buddy app to help her save money and find the cheapest gas in the area. Gas Buddy compares gas prices in the area, letting users know where the cheapest gas is.
The Pinterest app is coming handy for Landis as she is student teaching this semester. She said it’s a great way to find ideas and be inspired while lesson planning.
Smartphones and apps have become a part of the college landscape. While recent research published by Kent State University faculty found that students who used their cell phones more frequently tended to have lower GPAs, higher anxiety and lower life satisfaction, not all cell phone use is bad.
Mashable.com recently compiled a list of 25 apps to help students get through college. Some of these these apps might just simplify your life. What apps do you use?