6 Ways to Use Technology to Avoid Drowning in College

As time moves on and as one moves forward in his or her academic career, college becomes less about only keeping good grades and more about being able to market oneself to a future employer. I'm terribly guilty of the former, but simply becoming involved in other things can aid you in becoming a well-rounded individual that might actually be able to snag a job in your field post-graduation.

Consequently, getting involved may mean either joining clubs, playing sports, or getting a job, and for some of us, all of the above. This past fall semester, between work, class, and studying, my weeks were running typically over 60 hours. Yes, it was a lot to take on, but it's manageable, even if it isn't for everyone. While I wouldn't exactly elect to do that all over again, being organized was a great help.

So, now I finally get to what this blog entry is about. TECHNOLOGY.

I'm the first to admit that typically when working with technology, I'm like this:

But there's hope.

Kind of.

First, Make Use of Your Calendar

Something that I would easily stress, my Calendar became my best friend. I typically had three to four classes per day, and work on top of that, so finding time to study and to have a social life was a little difficult. However, using my calendar was an interesting endeavor, given that I own a MacBook Pro and use a smartphone running Android. Nevertheless, it is not that difficult to do. I personally used the Google Calendar that is available with any Umail account, and synced it to my Calendar app on my Mac. Events made on either place, from the web, an application, or even my smartphone's calendar, all synced to one another, regardless of their original location.

Put all of your classes, meetings, trips to the gym, dates, etc. in it. Also, I put in 5 minute events at the beginning of my professors' office hours as a reminder of when I could meet with them. This makes it easier to be able to work out a professional relationship with your professors and utilize your time most effectively.

However, don't necessarily try doing this. (Just........ Ouch.) ------------>

Get Your Email on Your Smartphone

You can go to the following link on KnowledgeBase to find out how to get your email on your phone (http://kb.iu.edu/data/bami.html). While the directions are for Apple devices, Android devices can be used similarly; you would simply configure it within the Android operating system in your email Settings. This makes it difficult to miss an email because you lacked access to a computer, which comes in handy during stressful, time sensitive periods of projects, exams, and having to manage a rather long to-do list to keep up with everything. Even so, remember not use SMS shortcuts in an email, even if you are sending it from your phone. Revise it for grammatical errors, and always be polite and humble to the point of almost-but-not-quite-self-deprecating, and thank your professor for his or her time.

The best part is that reading and going through my email on my phone syncs it with the web (check that your email provider uses IMAP servers), so my deleted items are still deleted on my Mail app on my Mac. This keeps you from having to go through the same things twice, and also have access to everything everywhere.

Unfortunately, there are just some things we cannot help. *Thank you Modern Family*

Turn Homework and Projects into Tasks

So, here you can do what I did. Combine all of your syllabi and their due dates, test dates, homework assignments, reading calendars, etc. into a dated Word document and highlight text as you complete items on your list (which was a NIGHTMARE when professor's lagged behind, and put back everything else for the semester), but still, using tasks, either within your IU Umail account within the Calendar settings, or the Reminders option on Mac OS X or iOS 7, can be a big help when it comes to time management. I never went anywhere without my laptop, living off campus, and as a result, did not need to worry about the information syncing between devices when I sat down to work, but it's always nice if you don't want to lug the thing around.

Use Cloud Storage

Before working for UITS, I didn't even know that IU Box existed, much less what it actually was: 50 GB of Cloud Storage that is accessed with your username and passphrase @ http://box.iu.edu. There are apps to connect your Box account to your phone and your desktop, and to sync files altered on one computer to the next via IU Box Sync. I personally keep my Box Sync folder on my desktop and have folders within it for each of my classes. I then keep everything from past semesters (my class folders containing all my work, grade reports, etc.) in another folder on Box as an archive. You never know when you might need a sample of your work.

Also, you can authorize access to your Box and other cloud storage accounts to be able to access the files straight from My Computer on a PC in the academic labs here at IU. Once you go to http://cloudstorage.iu.edu and authorize your cloud storage accounts, they will simply appear as another drive available on the computer, similar to if you were accessing files on a flashdrive.

This is also essential when using thin clients at IU, the small black box-with-a-monitor looking stations scattered around campus. These stations use a central server and a virtual operating system to download applications to the station that you are using, meaning that there is no actual space on the hard drive to save your files. Using this makes maintenance and updates easier, so using cloud storage is essential when saving your work while using these computers. (Hint: when printing, make sure to select IUB B&W printers from the settings. Since IUB and IUPUI share a server for thin clients, the default is usually IUPUI B&W.)

You can also use Google Drive or Skydrive with your Umail and Imail accounts and authorize those as well via http://cloudstorage.iu.edu in order to give yourself access to those files on any school computer as well, without messing with your Internet browser.

Use IU Printer Finder to Print from Your Laptop, or Print from Your Phone

Download IU Printer Finder from IUWare and you can add the printer drivers for the servers we use here at IU to print to campus printers straight from your personal computer. The directions can be found here: http://kb.iu.edu/data/ammz.html.

You can also print a document directly from your phone using IUAnyWare, which is the cloud computing which we use for the Virtual Desktops. It is similar to using IUAnyWare on one's laptop or another computer. The directions for that can then be found here: http://kb.iu.edu/data/bbbx.html.

This makes life so much easier than waiting to find an express computer station that isn't in use when you have class in 5 minutes, the computer takes 2 to log in, and there is a line stretching partially down the hall. I've been there, and the walk of shame walking into class late with your paper is a lovely experience when your professor is staring you down and making you incredibly grateful that looks can't kill. By printing from your own laptop or phone, you can just log into the Printer Release Station, print your paper, and be on your way

Use IU AnyWare

Speaking of  IU AnyWare, it is a great tool to use when you have to edit something on the fly. Since you already have to use it to print from a mobile device, you'll already know how to use it at this point. However, as long as you have a fast internet connection (I typically prefer IU Secure over my connection at my apartment for obvious reasons-- it's faster), you can even run programs as complex as Adobe Photoshop on your phone or tablet. While it isn't always practical to do this, i.e. because of a small screen or an incredibly complex document, the option is there, and because the program is being streamed to your device over an internet connection, you don't have to worry about it using the entire 16 GB on your phone's hard drive.

And if all else fails...

Remember these beautiful words of wisdom:

*Lastly, I own none of these images, but I hope you enjoyed them all.*

Check out some of these other blogs for some more useful info.

Gotta love academia.

About The Author
Ian BeverPsychology, English, Italian major, creative writing concentration, philosophy minor, Class of 2015

Hi! I'm Ian and I'm currently a senior at IU majoring in psychology, English (with a concentration in creative writing), and Italian, and minoring in philosophy. I'm also a member of the IUB chapters of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Pi Eta Sigma/Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and IUB Psychology Club. You might have also seen me around campus working as a Technology Center Consultant for UITS, but at the moment I'm spending my senior year abroad in Bologna, Italy and Canterbury, England.

After graduation, I plan on pursuing an M.S. in Human Computer Interaction Design and ending up wherever that may lead.

Sometimes I can be clever and amusing, so I hope you enjoy sharing my experiences here at IU!