This is the year. You will crush academia. You will be a powerful mix of Leslie Knope, Hermione Granger and Rory Gilmore. To make your crushing it a bit easier, did you know there are DOZENS of online tools just waiting to be used?
Here are just a few of my favourites:
I have no words to adequately describe how much I love Grammarly. As someone whose job revolves around writing, whether it be emails, blogs or social media posts, Grammarly is a life saver.
You can either download Grammarly as a desktop app or use it in the browser and install a nifty browser plugin. It catches all your typos, fixes your grammar and gives you a lovely weekly summary of how your writing has improved. There’s a free and paid version, with a plagiarism checker in the paid version - I was terrified of plagiarism when I was in college.
Get it here:
I write everything in Google Docs. I find it a lot friendlier than Word and it’s great for collaborative group work, which, let’s face it, is always a pain. It has a super handy research tool so you can do your Googling from the document you’re working on and it will even insert citations into your document for you. You can export documents in a .doc format, powerpoints in .ppt format and spreadsheets in .xls format, as well as PDF. Of course, you need a Google account to use it, but it’s worth having.
(Interesting fact: this blog post was written in Google Docs)
I found Small PDF about two years ago and it’s hands down one of my favourite discoveries. It does everything PDF related. PDF to Word? Done. Merge PDF? Done. Compress PDF? Done. Split PDF? Done. It’s definitely worth bookmarking and it’s free!
Use it here:
I’ve been using Trello for a few months and it’s great for project management, but, from a student perspective, it would work great for organising your essays, anything group related and even keeping all your class notes in one place.
For example… You have a group presentation - uh oh! Get each member to create an account and create a board called Presentation. Each person would be assigned a topic to cover so create a card about each topic. Everyone can then add all their information to the cards, you can put deadlines on certain tasks, create checklists, add comments, etc. It saves on endless emails back and forth.
Sign up here:
I’ve written about this in other blog posts because, well, it’s super for study. Basically, you set a timer for 25mins and do a super focused 25 minutes of work, write down what you achieved and then take a 5 minute break. I had zero concentration for study so this was a Godsend! It makes study so much easier and you’re less likely to end up staring at a page for an hour in despair.
Use it here:
How does this help you? I find it much easier to get through work, especially writing, when I have some music on. When I was doing assignments in college, I would always have episodes of Firefly on in the background because I had literally seen each episode about 50 times so I wouldn’t get distracted by it. My top tunes for work are the Harry Potter soundtrack, Hozier or Hugh Laurie, pop punk and emo-y music of my teens or a bit of Kanye / Jay-Z / NWA / Missy Elliot. There are also tons of specific concentration playlists if that’s more up your street.
Sign up here:
I hope these tools will help you over the academic year. If you have any suggestions, please let us know and we’ll add them!