I won’t openly admit to being smart-phone obsessed, but if you observed me for an extended period of time you would realize my phone is more than a phone to me. It’s my reading material, my alarm clock, my entertainment, my camera, my bank, my weather guy, my personal trainer, my to-do list, and my music player. My yellow iPhone 5c even has a nickname. One time my boyfriend called it, “Banana Phone,” and it has been named so ever since. So if you see a short blonde girl around campus muttering under her breath, “Where on earth is my banana phone?!” know she’s not *that* crazy.
I’m sure many of you can say the same thing about you and your phone (minus the nickname?). Since starting college banana phone and I have found some great apps that make your phone even more useful while you are out and about on campus. This is my list of six apps every student at UW-Madison should have, and they’re all free!
Hooked is an app where you can find deals for the restaurants around you. The deals only last for a couple of hours, and they change throughout the day. You’ll see deals for cafes and coffee shops in the morning, lunch/dessert places in the afternoon, and bars, grills, and pubs in the evening. You go into the restaurant to claim the deal, show the cashier your phone, click “GET HOOKED,” and boom, savings.
I LOVE Hooked. I only downloaded it because there was a stand on campus last summer and the guy running it said he’d give me a cookie if I did. Best decision I’ve ever made (besides choosing UW-Madison, duh). The deals Hooked has have been used as a major factor when deciding where I’ll eat lunch.
Plus, it’s only on three campuses: the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin! Download it. Feel special. Eat food. Save money.
Watch the Hooked Facebook page for new business and special deals too!
The UW-Madison campus is a little over 900 acres. You might end up a little lost from time to time, but that’s okay. With the Google Maps app you can find your way around. I probably use this app the second most out of all of my apps. Why? Because I am lazy and refuse to memorize the bus schedule.
All UW-Madison students have already paid for a bus pass through their segregated fees, so you simply have to grab your WisCard and go get one! To see where to pick up your bus pass check out this bus pass FAQ. With Google Maps it’s so easy to figure out which bus I should take and when I should be at the bus stop to catch it. This app is my life.
Open the app, type where you want to go in the search box, click the little blue bus icon the lower right hand corner (don’t worry if it’s not a bus, you can change it on the next screen), and you can see all the buses going to that location. You can set it up to depart or arrive at a specific time too. So feel free to plan out your trips in advance if you want. Easiest way to find a bus route. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s very accurate.
My Fitness Pal allows you to track the calories you’ve eaten and the calories you’ve burned. If you have a FitBit or similar device you can sync it to the app and it will count the calories you’ve burned while wearing it. Based on what you’ve eaten, it will show you the percentages of the macro nutrients you’ve consumed like protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Add other people who know who use the app. Friends can create a little healthy (hahah.. ahh) competition! You can also get access blogs, recipes, and partake in discussions with the rest of the My Fitness Pal community.
Mobile UW is the official UW-Madison app. It was recently updated (can I get a hallelujah?!) and now has a more interactive, user friendly interface. It offers features that are nice to have at the touch of a button while you don’t necessarily have access to a laptop or desktop computer.
It has a feature where you can track the buses, but, honestly, it doesn’t work as well as using Google Maps. You can also access a campus map, which is handy when you know the name of the building but not the address (this actually happens somewhat often on a campus this size). Search through a list of campus events, log into your MyUW or Learn@UW, quickly access emergency numbers, read UW news, and more.
The Moocho app lets you pay for food on your phone. Every time you use Moocho you get points that earn you deals and rewards. The more you use Mooch the more you save!
I just use Moocho whenever I would already make a purchase. Spend the money you normally would, but get free stuff along the way. You can use it at fast food places, grocery stores, gas stations, tanning salons, and other shops around campus.
Do you have a favorite app? What’s your phone’s cool nickname? Comment!
I guess you have all figured out that this weekend is Valentine’s Day. Whether you love it, ignore it, or protest its existence by watching Netflix all night, there is at least one relationship you should be working on this month – loving the good ol’ Wisconsin winter. You might not fall in love right away, and that’s okay. It’s probably not going anywhere for awhile.
I wish someone would’ve told me as a young freshman Badger that there are a lot of things to do in the winter! You don’t have to hibernate inside and wait for finals week to disturb your slumber. Don’t let winter bully you around, fall in love with it or, you know, make it fall in love with you.
First off, don’t jump right into it, make sure you have the essentials. Get a good winter jacket and ACTUAL winter boots. None of this, “Oh, I’ll just wear rain boots. They’re warm enough.” Sorry, but this is Wisconsin. Invest in some boots and really commit to this relationship. You’ll also need a hat, some gloves, and a cozy scarf ’cause they’re the best.
How do you fall in love with Wisconsin winters? Let me count the ways…
1. Take a horse drawn carriage ride.
What’s more romantic? Hoofers with the Wisconsin Union holds a free horse drawn carriage ride every year during Winter Carnival that tours you through the central part of the UW Madison campus. The week of Winter Carnival also hosts a ton of other fun winter events like bonfires on Lake Mendota, broomball, and a snowboarding competition.
Unfortunately, the 2015 Winter Carnival has already passed us by, but be on the look out for 2016!
2. Ice skate under the stars at The Edgewater.
Every Tuesday night is Badger Night which means you skate free with your WisCard, and since the rink is typically open until 10pm you can skate after dark under the stars. Wisconsin winter might be being too good to you now.
Plus, The Edgewater is close to campus off of Wisconsin Avenue.
3. Battle for Bascom Hill.
In a less romantic, more adrenaline inducing event, join the annual campus wide snowball fight where the Lakeshore and Southeast side of campus pummel each other with snow for the glory of being the last standing on Bascom Hill. Pack snow balls, build forts, or generally roll around in the snowy goodness. Lakeshore has remained undefeated since 2011.
Take a look pictures and video from the 2015 Battle for Bascom on Twitter and begin to plan your snow ball strategy for 2016.
4. Go Sledding!
Grab a sled or the nearest dining tray and head for Observatory Hill. It’s practically tradition. Nothing will make you fall in love with Wisconsin’s winter faster than a face full of snow and smiles.
5. Learn how to snow kite.
It’s okay if you don’t know what snow kiting is, I didn’t really know what is was until earlier this week while I was studying at College library. Well, I wasn’t really studying, I was staring out the window at this guy on a snowboard attached to a colorful parachute thing. He was more entertaining than any philosophy homework could ever hope to be.
So that’s what it is. You snowboard or ski on a frozen lake attached to a large kite, and guess what? You can learn how. Apparently, Hoofer’s sailing instructors need something to do in the winter too.
Check it out on Hoofer’s website.
Now that your disinterest in Wisconsin winter is a budding crush…
I will leave it up to you to further develop the relationship. Falling in love is inevitable as long as you remember to get some real winter boots and get out there.