Call it what you like… University, college, or school. They all involve trudging around campus from one class to the next. Staying organised is essential, and if you were to ask most students they’d probably say their phone is the best friend - a multipurpose device used for everything from communicating with friends to conducting research for an upcoming essay.
I’ve been known to say the Apple Watch isn’t a fantastic watch, and that a Pebble (which costs less than half the price) is better in many respects. This still holds true today, however much to my surprise the Apple Watch has become the most useful tool I have for coordinating myself around university. My laptop is by far and away the most important device to me, however it is a necessity. Apple Watch is a luxury, but one I’m very glad to have. Granted, a lot of what will be discussed below can be accomplished on an iPhone, however there are some things that are more convenient to do on a watch. This doesn’t make up for the countless third party apps that are horribly slow, nor the OLED display that isn’t lit up constantly, however it does make these tradeoffs slightly more excusable for the benefits the watch does provide.
For any student, it’s essential to be on time to class. Apple Watch ‘Night Stand’ mode was a brilliant addition to watchOS 2.0, and has meant my Apple Watch has replaced my old alarm clock. The alarm is plenty loud and annoying, meaning you’re sure to wake up on time… even for those early starts on Monday morning!
Here in Australia, few students live on campus and most travel for a fair amount of time by public transport to reach their chosen University. My journey consists of a bus and train ride, and for that the TripView app is an invaluable tool. TripView is one of the few watchOS applications that loads in a timely fashion, and is always quick and accurate with its data updates. The glance is incredibly convenient also. The colour coordinated interface makes it easy to view at a glance how long there is until the next bus or train, as well as whether that bus or train is running early, on time or late. No matter how far and wide I searched this type of app, with times for Australian public transport systems, was something I just couldn’t get on my Pebble.
Fortunately my University has made it easy to import student timetables directly into the calendar app on the iPhone, which automatically syncs across to the watch. Using the ‘Modular’ Apple Watch face, I have a large portion of the screen dedicated to either my current or upcoming calendar event, and when walking hurriedly between classes a simple glance at the watch face tells me exactly what building and room the class is in. The only question remains… how to keep track of all this walking around the University? Well of course the absolute best way is with Daily Steps (shameless self-plug here!) The glance is the most convenient way for me to keep up with my step count throughout the day. As I sit here typing this after having spent over 7 hours at Uni so far today, my daily step count is 10998.
Just like the Night Stand mode, Time Travel was a new watchOS 2.0 feature. With a simple scroll of the digital crown, I am able to scroll through my class schedule for the day. This brings the information to me, instead of making me search for it as I would have to by pulling out my iPhone.
Surviving the travel
Seeing as though my commute is reasonably lengthy, I listen to a tonne of Podcasts to pass the time. While media playback controls aren’t exclusive to the Apple Watch (and I’d argue the Pebble does it better by way of physical buttons), being able to skip sections of a show, listen to the next episode or adjust the volume of a podcast without having to take my phone out of my pocket or bag is hugely convenient.
Finally, not everyone remembers things all the time, and sometimes we forget the most important things. This is where I love to use Siri on the Apple Watch. If I’m likely to forget something, I quickly speak into my watch asking me to remind me about said task at a given time when I know I’ll be able to tackle it.
All of these points to say that, while Apple Watch isn’t perfect, it sure is a useful tool for students to stay organised throughout the year. If you’re a student and need a little more organisation in your life, I would suggest considering the Apple Watch. It isn’t like your iPhone - you can’t get distracted and quickly flick across to Twitter. (Well you can, but the Twitter app is so damn slow you’ll likely have graduated before it’s loaded anything.)