Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, student life, Uncategorized, Uni work, Written by Lauryn

Useful apps/programs you probably already have!

There’s so many great programs and apps out there for student life. From studying to organization, there’s a computer program or a phone app for just about everything. However, the prices or subscription fees for these apps aren’t always student-friendly, or maybe that ancient Toshiba laptop isn’t up to running 18 different lots of timetabling software. Luckily for you, there are loads of apps that you probably already have access to (for free!) that are super helpful. I’m Lauryn, and I’m here to show you a few of them in today’s Intern Advice.


It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? But for the first year at uni, I bought all my books for my course second-hand. You know what’s cheaper than buying a used copy of A Tale of Two Cities for one week’s worth of classes? Downloading it for free from iBooks. Not only was it super convenient to be able to read on any device I happened to have with me (no more forgetting my books for seminars!) but I could annotate and highlight passages without getting precious about my beautiful hard copies of books. If you do a subject like Literature, Classics, or Philosophy, getting your books on iBooks is a no-brainer. Some of them will cost money, but a lot of the classics are free, and you’ll be surprised by just how many are on there! If you don’t have iBooks, click here for a great list of other places to find free books for your course (and not just for humanities! There’s some great science textbooks on there too!)

a gif of Damon from Vampire Diaries sarcastically saying


Welcome to the program that has got me through three years of university. If you have Microsoft Office, you’ll have access to OneNote and it is so deceptively useful. For my degree, I read a lot of webpages and if I printed them all out to annotate them I’d be paying off my loans for my entire life. With OneNote, I can annotate and highlight webpages, make notes on them, and organise all my different pages into their own notebooks so nothing gets lost. If you don’t have Office, SimpleNote is a great free dupe.

Sticky Notes

This one sounds so silly, but you have no idea how many times it’s saved me. I’m notoriously forgetful and often leave books for seminars at home, or remember in the middle of the night that I have a big deadline coming up. The likelihood is, if you’re a student, you’re always on your laptop (and not always for academic reasons – I see you watching Netflix in your study breaks). For me, attaching a sticky note to my desktop reminding me of deadlines, to-do lists, things I need for classes, keeps me from forgetting them. Plus, the pastel colour scheme is just such a strong aesthetic.


Keep reading because I have such a life hack for this one.

YouTube is so useful. I use it to listen to audiobooks for class, to watch educational videos (shout out to Crash Course for getting me through not only my GCSEs and A-levels but for explaining basics like poetic meter to me), and to watch demonstrations of techniques I haven’t quite mastered.

Life hack:

Make a separate account for everything work-related. ONLY use it for studying, and switch back to your normal account for procrastination and watching Vine compilations for nostalgia. That way, your academic account’s suggested videos remain primarily educational, meaning you’re less likely to get distracted by that ten-minute clickbait vlog. Plus, you don’t have to sift through hours of revision playlists in your Watch Later to find that random Buzzfeed video you were searching for.

Box of Broadcasts

You might have heard about this from your lecturers.

a gif oCaptain Holt from Brooklyn 99 saying

It’s such a good resource, so it’s getting a mention here too. You’re welcome.

Box of Broadcasts is a great site that allows you to (re)watch and record programmes from over 75 free-to-air channels and search an archive of over 2.2 million broadcasts. It’s a subscription service paid for by the university, so it’s totally free for you to use. All you need to do is sign in with your university information and you’re free to browse. I recommend making separate playlists for work and personal use. For example, I have playlists for documentaries, my dissertation, and one for old movies I like. You can even make clips from the things you watch, label them, and get personalised email alerts about new programmes you might be interested in. For me, making clips is really useful for presentations, as I can show my audience specific parts of a film or TV show without having to scrub through the whole episode or movie to find the specific part. It looks really professional and saves precious time.

LinkedIn Learning

Another one you have access to through the university now. When you think of LinkedIn, you probably think of job-hunting, and frankly that’s moved away from LinkedIn quite a bit now. I tend to look for positions on sites like Indeed or TargetJobs. However, LinkedIn has not said its final hurrah yet. If you watch YouTube, you’ve probably seen sponsorships for things like and SkillShare. LinkedIn Learning is a free alternative for students, jam-packed with thousands of accessible videos and tutorials for learning new skills such as statistical analysis, deductive reasoning, or use it for developing personal skills. For example, I did the course called Time-Tested Methods for Making Complex Decisions, because I’m super indecisive. The video on that course by Maria Konnikova about how to think like Sherlock Holmes was super useful to me, and helped me see new ways of assessing situations.

a gif from Sherlock of Mary with words overlayed to simulate Sherlock deducing things about her. Words appear such as 'clever' and 'liar' in white as the camera zooms in on her face.

Access LinkedIn Learning through MUSE. Go to View All Services then scroll down to LinkedIn Learning to get started right away.

And that’s all the tips I have for you today. In a world where we’re advertised to constantly about the newest program or the most high-tech app, sometimes it’s good to remember that simple and effective is just as good. Plus, it’s a good reminder we should never underestimate the power of Sticky Notes.


We are 301 Academic Skills Centre and we give academic skills advice to our students at the University of Sheffield. We offer workshops and 1:1 appointments.

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