Throughout their academic and professional lives, students are regularly advised that preparation is the key to eliminating stress. We record our meetings in calendars, determine bus routes in advance of events, and design elaborate timetables to govern our exam revision. However, even the most meticulous of planners are bound to face situations in which the unanticipated arises. It’s wise to have the a few “emergency” apps and gadgets on hand, to help you prevent the emergency if possible and regain control if not.


A portable charger is essential for any student with a packed schedule of classes and events, because your phone dying is never, ever a good situation. Or take this one step further and get a battery charging backpack, so you can bring your stuff with you and charge your phone, headphones, tablet or keyboard on the go. Maybe a solar panel powered one to do your bit for the planet – and protect against power cuts.

Mind Maps

It’s not uncommon to find your mind whirring with thoughts about looming tasks that keep you awake late into the night. Consider downloading a mind map app to jot down any pressing concerns and settle your inner turmoil. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology reveals that writing about one’s tasks and worries before bed can enhance the ability to fall asleep. MindMeister and SimpleMap are free apps (albeit with paid features and versions) that can be used to write down and organize your thoughts.

Sleeping and Waking

Regardless of your efforts to record and dismiss your nightly concerns, it’s still possible to have difficulty falling asleep – particularly on the night before a major assessment. Try a relaxation app (such as Pfizz) or a background noise app (such as MyNoise) to help you drop off. If you’re prone to tap the “snooze” button on your alarm clock the next morning, download an advanced alarm clock app, such as Alarmy. To turn off the alarm, Alarmy forces its user to complete a task, such as shaking their phone vigorously for several minutes, solving a math problem or photographing their kitchen sink. By the time your phone is no longer beeping, you’ll likely be fully awake and ready to tackle the day ahead. If you prefer a gentler awakening, how about a daylight alarm clock which wakes you gradually with increasing warm light? Some even have birdsong!

Backing Up

With Cyber Security Month in mind, get an external hard drive that is not connected to your computer (except when needed) to back up your important files. It keeps them safe from malware, and can handle bigger files than most sharing services.

Electrical Protection

Get a surge protector to prevent power spikes from damaging your tender electronics. It also provides some extension and extra plugs. What’s not to love?

By Maha Ansari, BJ 2016 (Carleton)

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