Cynical Cornellian: A+ Smartphone Apps

January 16, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Love, Tech

As I often state, “College is the time to be an adult!” By that, I don’t mean that college is the time to make long-term decisions or even mature ones. Rather, college is the time to learn how to live like a starving artist in a low-rent apartment, in which your dinners consist of ramen noodles and saltine crackers and your daily routines consist of perusing your Tumblr dashboard and posting ironic Facebook statuses to hide the fact that you truly despise where your life has headed. All cynical college student jokes aside, being an adult in college means being broke and bored (still cynical, but hey, I’m a college kid).  So here’s a list of wonderful, life-improving/life-altering phone apps and websites that might make you just a tad bit less cynical about your slowly degrading adult life.

"Seamless is an online food ordering application through which college students can find dining locations in the vicinity, and place an order for either delivery or pick up."

“Seamless is an online food ordering application through which college students can find dining locations in the vicinity, and place an order for either delivery or pick up.”

Seamless/Grubhub: This is the pinnacle of foodie heaven (I’m a foodie, so you can trust me on this one). Seamless is an online food ordering application through which college students can find dining locations in the vicinity, and place an order for either delivery or pick up. The application has the added function of dividing restaurants into food categories/genres (Pizza, Chinese, Sushi, Indian, etc.). Personally, I love the app because it categorizes restaurants based on distance and customer ratings. Moreover, I love having access to the menus in an organized fashion—I have a legitimate phobia to entering a dining establishment only to be bombarded with a huge menu and an impatient waiter/cashier. Seamless gives me the options with an unlimited supply of time to think about, and research/find pictures of, the food that I’m about to use my limited supply of money to purchase (as a cynical, broke college kid, you have to be economical). Use the app for any meal of the day—or late night, if you’re about that all-nighter life.

Tinder: Dating is tough. Dating in college is tougher. It’s true that college is probably going to be the time of your life in which you have the largest supply of potential life partners. From that perspective, you would assume that finding a date and, eventually, a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner would be as easy as reading a children’s pop up book (sans the people who are illiterate or have a phobia to paper that unfolds and pops out at you when you turn the page). Unfortunately, dating in college is not that simple—for reasons unbeknownst to me. Tinder makes everything so much easier! You make an account by linking your Facebook to the Tinder app, your Facebook profile photos sync to the app and become your main photo stream, you write a witty and provocative description, and you swipe right to all of the cuties! If you get matched, you send an awkward and slightly inappropriate greeting and cross your fingers that you’ll get lucky tonight. I met my boyfriend this way and will never regret sending that inappropriately objectifying message to him the moment we matched. Thank you Tinder!

"I met my boyfriend this way and will never regret sending that inappropriately objectifying message to him the moment we matched. Thank you Tinder!"

“I met my boyfriend this way and will never regret sending that inappropriately objectifying message to him the moment we matched. Thank you Tinder!”

Yik Yak: Imagine seeing Regina George’s burn book but with names kept out of the hateful messages and the pages being short, electronic posts. Once you can conceptualize this, you’ve conceptualized Yik Yak. An anonymous social media app, YY allows users to upload rude, comedic, or somewhere in-between posts that get disseminated to an audience in a 10-mile radius. So if you’re bored and absolutely hate that girl listening to Iggy Azalea on her iPhone at maximum volume in an incredibly silent library, post a status about that girl listening to Iggy Azalea on her iPhone at maximum volume in an incredibly silent library and hope that people in that incredibly silent library give you a thumbs up—also hope that the girl listening to Iggy Azalea on her iPhone at maximum volume in an incredibly silent library reads the post and turns off that garbage that she calls music.

And there you have it: three apps that I consider to be A+ material for college kids struggling to be adults in a world where being an adult is a massively depressing ordeal that requires a trust fund or sugar daddy to truly be happy. Am I cynical? Yes. Are these apps A+? Absolutely.

Top 10 Tech Gadgets for College Students

October 23, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Tech, Top 10 Lists

Cool technology gadgets.

Cool technology gadgets.

1. Laptops- Some student decided to have MacBook’s or PC’s, but one thing is for sure, a laptop is very essential to success in college.  When the library closes (if yours does) your resources including computers are instantly limited.  So, having something portable to do you work on is very important.  You can take your laptop almost everywhere you go and I recommend getting one that you plan on having for a while.

2. IPhone- The iPhone is probably the most popular smartphone seen and used on college campuses.  The iPhone allows you to do group texts, have exclusive applications, and also be stylish.

3. Tablets- Tablets are the new thing.  This is because they are small, lightweight, and more portable than laptops.  They are also bigger than phones, so they still allow work to be done on them.  These are great for club and organization meetings, as well as for taking notes in class.  They also double as a planner to keep you organized.  Not to mention, they are fun to play games on when you are bored.

4. Kindles- Kindles or any type of e-reader, is very popular for college students.  Now, textbooks are available for purchase on these devices (as well as tablets), and it puts  those books all in one place, reduces the cost, and are also more portable when walking around campus.

5. Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones- Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones are the best headphones in the college game right now.  Although they are expensive, these are the best headphones to listen to music while studying, working out, or do projects with.  If you are a college student who is big into music, these are perfect for you.  Yes, they are a little bigger than typical headphones, but the audio quality is well worth the money and the little extra size.

6. Portable Phone Chargers- In college you are always on the go.  Seen all over campus, portable phone chargers have almost become a necessity for most college students.  These are great, because they avoid having to go home or beg to borrow a phone charger from a random person in the library or student center.

7. Bluetooth Speakers- Bluetooth speakers are great for studying outside or hanging out.  These are wireless, so all you have to do is sync your iPod or phone and the music just plays without needing wire hookups or Wi-Fi.  They are also great if you like to throw parties and need something portable.  These speakers can be small or big, depending on your preference and budget.

8. Digital Camera- This is for those students who LOVE to capture those important moments.  Phones can crash, but a digital camera is a great way to take and store college memories.

9. USB/Flash Drives- Flash drives are amazing to have and always come in handy. They are perfect to have on you at all times in order to be able to save projects, get notes from other students, and work in groups with. They are also great for pictures and for portfolios.

10.Cordless Computer Mouse- A cordless mouse is a great way to bring a desktop feel to your laptop. A computer mouse like this is small and relatively cheap. They make it easier to navigate on your computer and get projects and homework done.

Everyone has that inner geek in them, time to tech out!

September 19, 2014 in Campus Life, Reviews, Tech




College students need tech gear to make their lives a little bit easier. Whether it a phone, tablet, laptop, or game system all college students need a little geek in their lives.

Here is a list of some products that every college student should have.

1)      The iPhone – I was the biggest critic of the iPhone for the longest time because I didn’t have one. I used to have an android phone. It has made a tremendous difference, being organized and staying up to date with the latest news or emails. Being a journalism major I constantly have to update twitter accounts for class and check emails for assignments, the iPhone’s operating system iOS 8 and features makes it a breeze to use.

2)      Tablet – the ease of using a tablet and the ability to take a big screen anywhere with ease is a really nice feature. If you don’t want to bring your laptop around your tablet will fill the void. It gives you a bigger screen than your phone. The apps that have been developed for tablets have really come a long way in functionality.

3)      Gaming system – Every student needs some time to relax and chill when they have some time off from classes. Your choice should be the PS4. The ultimate gaming machine, this system out performs the xbox one by allowing interchangeable hard drives, PS4 games run at 1080p in 30/60 frames per second compared to the xbox one’s 720p or 900p…also with the added feature of PlayStation Now you are able to stream video games to play. An added feature that the xbox one does not have. When you’re looking to kick back, relax and forget about classes for a couple of hours the Sony PS4 is the right choice.

4)      Noise cancelling head phones – it may sound ridiculous, but they amount of times these headphones have come in handy. If you’re living in the dorms and your roommate is being a little loud while you’re trying to study for an important test, these headphones will help tremendously. I would suggest Sol Republics, have a better sound than Beats and they are half the cost.

5)      Bluetooth head set – Many students will be driving back and forth from school to home and need a safe way to stay in contact with friends and family. Hands free devices make driving much easier, as you are not distracted from holding onto the phone. Many newer cars now have Bluetooth technology built into your cars, but for many that don’t have that option a Bluetooth headset is the way to go.

6)      Google Chromecast – You know those times when you have a great video to show your friends but everyone can’t find room to crowd around your phone? Well Google has developed a streaming chip that goes straight to your TV allowing you to display NetFlix or YouTube, it makes your TV a smart TV and really makes your life easier. You don’t have to connect your laptop via HDMI cord to your TV anymore, its wire free.

Those are some gadgets that will come in handy for the incoming college student that I suggest you purchase!

App Roundup: The Best Apps for College Students

May 29, 2014 in Alive Campus, Tech

It feels like just yesterday that I rolled my eyes at the hoards of iPhone users around me and silently swore to myself that I would never feel the need to buy into the smartphone phenomenon. 

Just a few months later, I had bought into it.

It seems like the market for smart phones grew–and continues to grow–faster than any product in our current technological revolution. Before I joined the crowd and bought my iPhone last April, I was baffled by the concept of an app. What is the point? What makes these apps so special? It seemed to me like the internet could do everything an app could do.

Then I downloaded a bunch of apps–and I haven’t looked back since.

Apps for your smartphone–whether you’re team Android or team Apple–can be extremely useful and convenient, in ways that I never would have realized had I not taken the plunge and got an iPhone.

For all of you out there who own a smartphone, I’ve created this list of some of the best apps for college students:



LinkedIn is a unique type of social media website–it is a resource for professionals seeking networking opportunities among employers, companies, and coworkers. With a super-sleek, intuitive layout and design, LinkedIn offers the user job, company, and connection suggestions. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date with particular companies and employers that interest you, to get information about current job openings, or–especially for early undergrads who are searching for their passion–to learn about new and different positions out there that you may never have known about or considered. It’s also a way to maintain professional relationships with colleagues, classmates, and even professors–I have “connections” with past professors on LinkedIn, which may come in handy later on down the line! Be sure to create a thorough LinkedIn profile (which is basically like a resume) to make the most of this app.

iStudiez Lite:


The only way to survive college academically is to be super organized, so that you can stay on top of your classes, assignments, and events. The simpler and free–but, in my opinion, just as useful–version of iStudiez Pro, the iStudiez Lite app is the one-stop place to keep track of your academic life. It allows you to enter your classes into a schedule, jot down all of your assignments and their respective due dates, and view all of these reminders in a calendar. It has a really great setup that is simple to navigate, and will easily become your go-to planner!



It’s the hot new state-of-the-art concept: ridesharing services via your smartphone. There are other ridesharing apps out there, but Uber is my favorite. I have never had a bad experience with any Uber driver, plus Uber offers a lot of promotional deals. I got $20 to spend on rides just for joining! Uber is extremely successful, but is still growing and developing, so it may not be available where you live–but if it is, be sure to take advantage of this awesome service. Your phone’s internal GPS will tell an Uber driver where to pick you up, and you pay through the app, where you enter your credit card information. You don’t even have to worry about tipping, as the company takes care of that for you! Uber feels safer and more comfortable than your standard cab–what’s not to love?



When you’re stuck in your kitchen-less dorm room studying for a big exam, the last thing you want to do is interrupt your focus by going out to pick up lunch, dinner, or a crucial midnight snack. That’s where GrubHub comes in: GrubHub offers delivery service from your favorite restaurants that don’t usually offer delivery. The service is pretty cheap, and you can get food from great places, including sit-down restaurants, delivered right to your door. There’s nothing better than that!



AroundMe is a great app that tells you what sort of landmarks and businesses are nearby. Anything and everything you would ever need to locate–from banks to gas stations to concerts to hotels to supermarkets (just to name a few)–is at your fingertips. The app tells you what is around you and how far away each place is from your current location. It’s so useful when you’re visiting a new place, or are in a part of your town/city that you aren’t completely familiar with.

Your school’s app:

BU Mobile

Finally, look into downloading your college/university’s official app! At this point, most schools will offer an app, though each school’s app will vary from others’. The app for my school, Boston University, includes school-related news updates, a map of the campus, a university calendar, a list of all courses at BU, a student and staff directory, AND a schedule for the BU Bus. Use your school’s app to stay in the loop!

Tech at UMB

May 18, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Tech

Over my years at UMB I’ve seen kids with some really fruitless tech toys. There’s been anything from light up scooters ripping through the catwalk to under-lights on their cars. However, some of the technology seen on campus is vital to a student’s accomplishing school work, their social life, and their entertainment.

So first, here’s a few devices I’ve seen around campus, starting with a very popular one- the Iphone 5c

Iphone 5c

Iphone 5c

The Iphone 5c is all over UMass Boston right now, and I’d guess it’s just as popular at many other schools. Everywhere you look your peripherals will catch one of these aggressively colored devices being used. The slightly lower cost (compared to the 5s) works with the pastel color scheme to gain heavy popularity with the college crowd.

Next is a device that is actually mandatory for some large lecture classes- the iclicker.



These little guys are used by may teachers at UMB. The professors ask a question to their class (which has usually 100+ members) and the students answer A-E. It’s mainly used to make a lecture more interactive, but you can also use it to take in-class tests and quizzes.

Next, the Macbook.

(slight exaggeration)

(slight exaggeration, but not really)

The professors have Macbooks, I have a Macbook, seemingly everyone has a macbook. The towering majority of my friends have laptops, and out of around ten of them who do have laptops, I can’t think of one who chose anything but a Macbook pro. Okay, Sal has a Macbook Air because he’s edgy like that, but that’s honestly it.

These staple technologies of UMB are found everywhere on campus. But, there are some devices that I haven’t seen frequently at school that could improve life at school for whoever owns them.

First, there’s the surprisingly unpopular kindle.



You’d think that in the hyper-technological world that we college students live in to today that paper books would take a back seat to Kindles and other E readers, but that just isn’t the case. In a class of thirty, there would be an absolute max of 5 Kindle users. Maybe students prefer having the book for note-taking purposes, or maybe they’d just rather wait in line at the book store, but e-readers are not given much of a chance by the majority of students.

Next is something that is admittedly less technologically advanced, but makes all the difference in the morning- the Keurig.



If you’re anything like me, then any time you may have had in the morning to either brew coffee or stop at Dunkin’ inevitably gets used on other morning activities, like not wanting to get out of the shower or hitting snooze 6 times. If you’ve got one of these pups, you can have a 30 second coffee and be on your way. It’s under appreciated and truly magical.

Finally, the one thing every college student needs, but only few are lucky enough to have, is the kitty-copter.



Nothing worse than having an absolutely useless dead kitty lying around the apartment, just totally in the way. So stuff that thing with cotton, tie it to a frame, buy some of those hand-held fans and you’ll be a legend on campus.