Essential Technology Tips for Freshers

Jack Hope offers many useful tips on how to make the most of your technology during your time at university.

This is an attempt at a ‘bare essentials’ guide freshers. It details things that really helped me organise my university tech. So without further ado, let the tips begin.

A great calendar is essential, especially for those with bad memory or with a busy schedule. With mail apps, not only can you organise events like deadlines, but you can subscribe to your academic timetable which automatically inserts and changes lecture and seminar times. Smartphones are getting smarter, they can send and store your emails and generate events for you so that, with one click, they can be added to your calendar; for example, the tutor emails and appointment time. Having your timetable, personal events, deadlines/course dates and scheduled appointments all in one convenient view is so much easier. You won’t ever lose track or get double booked.

Speaking of having information in one place, the University apps are an essential. They can provide lecture schedules and course presentations to a university wide directory, as well as the all-important campus map. Both Falmouth and Exeter universities provide apps that have these features. However, the only downside is that they don’t provide an off-line mode, which means that no Internet connection equals no app information. This is why I suggest that vital information (like timetable emails) should be linked to a native phone app.

Another area many freshers can struggle with is finance. This can otherwise be from personal expenditure or handouts to friends (usually jaeger bombs on a night out dominate the day after). I strongly recommend keeping a record of your spending (or big purchases at the least); there’s a whole host of apps that provide this service, personally I’m old-fashioned and just keep it on a notes app. Keeping this record can provide clues as to why your student loan is running low. As a side note, if you haven’t already, set up PAYM; your bank will offer it and it means you can quickly text friends’ money – a lifesaver.

If emails don’t already consume you, get ready. Emailing is incredibly useful when sending information you want to keep a record of, this is why your course, societies, University (updates), campus (news), halls and FXU sends everything over email – and I mean everything. I strongly advise upping your email game. Label email boxes and organise them in a way that you can access information important contacts quickly and easily and definitely give a subject to every email, just in case you need to search for it.

If my time at university has taught me anything it’s that having the latest Microsoft Office and an organised online filing system is so important, especially when dealing with lots of hand ins. Always download the latest version of office available to you, trust me they are developing tools to make your work look better and group projects easier all the time; be sure to sign in with your university account to unlock all the available features. To accompany the latest version of Microsoft Office, I would suggest having online filing system, this is useful two-fold. One, you can never lose a file. Services such as OneDrive or iCloud Drive offer free storage and automatically upload and update files. The second reason is that your files are always with you. Never again can you forget your USB stick because any computer or mobile device can be logged into either to show or share files; I have done/needed this countless times this year.

Just remember the motto “new campus, new you”. Even if you don’t become the most organised person, these tips and tricks will make your life so much easier. When I started last year I wish I had a piece of advice like this to read, it would have saved me a lot of time.