“What are the top five ways a smartphone can make student life better,” you ask? Well, I cannot wait to tell you. In fact, I could easily give you ten ways that a smartphone could make student life better, but in the interest of not making this article so long that you need to take snack breaks, I’ll cap it at five.
5. Constant access to course material
Whether you’re in high school or university, more and more course content is accessible only online. If you don’t want to have to drag your laptop to school every day, then a smartphone can really help enhance your student life by standing in as your in-class digital screen.
I learn a lot better when I’m taking notes by hand, so when I can, I’ll bring only a pad of paper, a pen, and my smartphone to school. I use my phone during lectures to reference the professor’s lecture notes if they’re going through the slides too quickly or they’ve said something in a completely unintelligible mumble, and it leaves me with more than enough space on my tiny lecture hall writing surface to still take notes.
If your professor and institution allow the recording of lectures, a smartphone can also make student life easier by standing in as both your phone and recording device. Feel free to bin your old Olympus Digital Voice Recorder (and by “bin” I mean “donate to a charity or something, because that thing is still an excellent piece of technology”) and record your lectures on your smartphone instead.
4. Email on the go
Need to email your professor about getting an extension on your latest paper or send your parents an “I’m still alive! Don’t worry; send cookies!” message? Well, your smartphone hooks you into that, too. It cuts minutes off of your end-of-day routine by letting you catch up with your inbox while you’re still on campus, turning time that would have been wasted by waiting in line or sitting on the bus into productive time.
More productive time during the day means more free time at night, so you’re free to enjoy the vibrant campus community instead of staying in every night getting your course work done.
3. Better planning for school
Another tough thing about attending school is the sheer volume of stuff that needs to be done every day. You have to remember to do your laundry, get to work, go to class, finish your assignments … there’s a lot there, and if you don’t constantly carry around a day planner, it can be hard to remember which things are due on which dates.
Thankfully, smartphones take all of the hassle out of that. They help you plan for school by giving you constant access to your calendar (which can usually be synced across devices and give you reminders about major deadlines and tests), and if a standard calendar isn’t enough, you can download a wide variety of apps to help you plan out each day.
2. Making friends & dating
As a student myself, I can reliably tell you that one of the hardest things about going to school is making friends. Don’t get me wrong; the class work is plenty hard, but it’s manageable as long as you put the time and effort in. Making friends, however? That stuff is tough! I’ve experienced it myself and I hear it from almost every person I meet on campus: finding new friends that you really click with can be the hardest part of the entire university experience.
I can’t imagine making a real connection with someone on campus without a smartphone anymore. I know that sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, but smartphones play a big role in how people connect nowadays. When you’re taking five classes, two labs, and a seminar in a single term, you simply don’t have time for weekly coffees or nightly phone calls.
Texts, however, can be sent off in the blink of the eye. Snaps can let you two bond over something you see as if the other person is really there. And if you’re lucky enough to find that special someone (be it your friendship soulmate or a romantic partner), your smartphones will let you visit digitally using apps like FaceTime and Skype.
Smarphones are way more customizable than regular phones, too, so they can even help bring new friends together. An interesting smartphone case is a wonderful conversation starter (the solar panelled one in this article is the EnerPlex Surfr iPhone Battery Case), and even something as innocuous as a cracked iPhone screen can break the ice!
1. Never being late for class again
When I got my very first cellphone, the first thing I did was come home, unplug my alarm clock, and get rid of it. Smartphones, even more than old flip phones, are awesome wake-up devices. You can set your alarms to go off whenever you want (and however many you want) so that every day of term starts when you need it to. With some Android phones–like the Galaxy S7 Edge–you can even set the length of your ideal snooze time.
I like how easy it is to change up your alarm ringtones on a smartphone, too. It’s not like the ’90s, when your alarm clock would play either a) a terrifying beeping noise, b) the radio, or c) whatever CD you had inserted into the CD drive to wake you up. Instead, you can start waking up with a gentle rainforest tone, move on to a subdued alarm noise if you hit snooze too many times, and finally shoot out of bed in a hurry when a full-volume klaxon starts blaring at you from your preset smartphone alarm.
Reason #0: it just DOES!
Smartphones keep you connected to the world day in and day out. This has its pros and cons, of course, but at the end of the day: smartphones make student life better just by existing. They’re essential for the way that most people live in the world today, and they make student life better simply by not making it worse.
Not having a smartphone severely limits your ability as a student to network, meet new people, plan events, and even attend some classes, so it’s fair to say that they enhance student life just by giving you the option of using them. It’s up to you whether or not you’re going to use your smartphone, but as long as you have one, you have the choice to let it make your life better.
You can choose to do any or all of the above points and a fair few more, but having a smartphone with you for school makes student life better by giving you the choice to use it or not.