The five free apps every OU freshman needs to get a 4.0.

So, you’re starting at Ohio University next year and you’re worried you won’t be able to get that GPA high enough. Look no further — with some hard work, determination and these five apps, you’ll be on the way to a 4.0 first semester.

Google Drive

Google Drive for iOS.
Google Drive for iOS.

You can’t get a 4.0 if you’ve lost all of your documents!

At the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t saving my work on Google Drive, and for a while I had no problems. But when disaster struck and my computer broke when my phone slid off of my lap into the screen, I was unable to access any of the work I was working on. It was toward the end of the semester, and I had to start several projects and papers over again. It wasn’t fun. At that point, I vowed to save everything I did on my Drive. And just a few weeks when my replacement computer also broke (it actually broke in half, see picture below), I was able to access my files from my phone and the computers at Alden Library. So, even though I was incredibly inconvenienced by my lack of computer, I was able to pick up right where I left off. I learned from my mistakes, and so should you.

Broken computer.
A sad boy and his broken computer.

I use Google Drive all of the time, because as a college student I need to be able to access my files all the time,” said Gaby Godinez, a sophomore studying Integrated Media. “ I like it because it’s easy to understand and it keeps me organized. It’s also so easy to share files and work together on projects when you aren’t together.”

Having all of your documents at your fingertips can be a lifesaver. Are the printers in Alden broken and is your paper due in mere minutes? No problem. Email the document from the Drive app to your professor, and let them know you will print it out as soon as the printers come back online.

While there are other cloud alternatives, Google Drive is great for collaboration, user-friendly and the first 15 GB of stored data is free (and you probably won’t need any more).


Download Google Drive here for iOS

Download Google Drive here for Android  



Amazon app
Amazon for iOS.

Need something in a jiffy? The student six month free trial of Amazon Prime is your best bet. How will this help you get a 4.0? Textbooks, of course! Nearly all textbooks you will need your freshman year are available on Amazon, and with the Prime membership, you’ll get them with two days with free shipping.

“You can wait until after your first few classes and receive the textbooks in a matter of two days. So, it’s very convenient, it save you money, everything is discounted and the products are good quality and easily returnable,” said Libby Chidlow, a junior studying journalism and political science.

Chidlow hasn’t just ordered textbooks with her Prime membership. She orders her daily essentials, like soap, shampoo and face wash because she finds the prices tend to be cheaper on Amazon than at brick-and-mortar stores.

She says she ordered all of her Christmas presents for friends and family members using the app this past December, and when the weather turned warm last week, she ordered a hammock and had it in two days.

“I order from Amazon an unhealthy amount,” Chidlow admitted. “My mom told me I should be an Amazon ambassador.” That’s a thing, by the way.


Sign up here for your free Prime account.

Download Amazon here for iOS.

Download Amazon here for Android.  


Microsoft OneNote

OneNote for iOS.
OneNote for iOS.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Microsoft (to each his own), the OneNote application is an excellent app for taking notes and keeping organized in all classes your freshman year. It makes keeping the notes organized easier than with Microsoft Word or other standard text editing software. The mobile apps allow for easy syncing between devices and if you forget your laptop — no problem! Just pull out your phone or tablet and pick up where you left off.

“OneNote syncs all of my notes between all of my devices. It is very easy to set up outlines and bulleted lists,” said Nate Doughty, a freshman studying journalism. “I’m able to draw and highlight and on both phone and with with my laptop which doubles as a tablet. In the past I used Google Docs to take notes, and that was fine, but this is lightyears better for organizational purposes.”

The best part? The full-featured version of OneNote comes with a subscription to Office 365, which is free for all OU students through the Bobcat Depot. You can find a download link from your Catmail when you get your account next year.

Most professors permit computer use for note taking, although some forbid the use of computers, tablets and phones, so make sure you bring a notepad and pen!


Download OneNote here for iOS.

Download OneNote here for Android.


BB Student

BB Student for iOS.
BB Student for iOS.

If you’re unfamiliar with Blackboard, it’s time to change that. Most professors at Ohio University use Blackboard to post lectures, assignments, discussion questions and even grades. There’s no mobile website, and the full-featured site loses some functionality when viewing on a phone. Have no fear, though, BB Student here!

While it won’t let you do everything you can on the computer, it’s a great way to quickly view upcoming assignments, course syllabi or grades. It’s biggest flaw? It makes you login with your OUID and password every time you launch the app, but otherwise, it’s a great way login to the site when your computer is not in reach.

“I’ll admit, it’s not the best app, but it has definitely made my life a lot easier this year,” said Marianne Dodson, a freshman studying journalism and political science in the Honors Tutorial College.  “I hate that I have to login everytime I open it, but it’s still way more efficient than visiting the site through Safari, because Blackboard doesn’t usually work on there. I can quickly see the contents of my courses and really easily check my grades, which is usually why I open the app.”


Download BB Student here for iOS.

Download BB Student here for Android.



2048 for iOS.
2048 for iOS.


You probably once enjoyed 2048, but have since deleted it to make room for some extra photos or a software update. Well, it’s time to bring it back.

While it’s certainly not the most important app to obtaining a 4.0, everyone needs a study break to clear their mind. And yes, 2048 is a game, but it’s math based and will definitely keep your mind sharp unlike a Netflix break (although those are nice sometimes,too).

Just be careful — it’s addictive!


Download 2048 here for iOS.

Download 2048 here for Android.

And here, for a bonus, play online on your computer.

Vagina Monologues open dialogue on the female experience

Ticket sales from the the sold-out opening night of The Vagina Monologues will benefit My Sister’s Place, an organization helping victims of domestic violence locally. In addition to ticket sales, profits made from the sale of t-shirts and buttons also went to Athens-based charity. According to the Facebook page for the Vagina Monologues, the opening-night show raised over $1,100.

The monologues, showing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Ohio University’s student center, are sponsored by the Ohio University’s Women Center and the Senate Appropriations Commission.

The first act of the show is a collection of monologues written by Eve Ensler in 1996 about female empowerment and ending certain stigmas associated with the female anatomy.

While the women performing stuck to the script of the Vagina Monologues in the first act, the second act was less traditional, although the entire show could hardly be called that. In the last half, members read various poems, some written by the cast members themselves, relevant to the struggles of women in society.

Marianne Dodson, a freshman with several appearances in the show said that while the concept of speaking freely about such an intimate concept initially terrified her, she came to realize that it was something that she desired to do.

“I heard about the show tryouts when the director posted about them on Facebook,” Dodson said. “At first, I was apprehensive because it’s just not something that I normally talk about. But as a feminist, I realized that there was no reason to keep the reality of the female body a secret. The show has helped me change the way I feel about talking about myself, and I hope it does the same thing for the women in the audience.”

Vag mons cast and crew loving themselves! Baker 3rd floor!

A photo posted by Ohio University Women's Center (@ouwomenscenter) on

Cast members from the Vagina Monologues pose for a picture before their opening performance.

Before audience members even purchased their tickets, they were warned that show contained graphic language and at some points nudity. The show also contained stories of rape and sexual violence. During the second act, one of the monologues involved one of the cast members stripping down to nothing but her underwear.

A message placed at the box office, warning viewers of the show's content.
A message placed at the box office, warning viewers of the show’s content.

Many audience members enjoyed the show and the message that came along with it. Kyra Cobb, a freshman who went to the performance said the show offered a message that far exceeded the $5 price of admission.

“The show was very empowering,” Cobb said. “I feel like there are so many things that we are not allowed to talk about in our everyday environments, and it’s great that they are trying to cultivate a safe community where women can express their day-to-day concerns openly.”

The Women’s Center puts on the monologues each year at Ohio University with new cast members and new poems and stories about the female experience. According to show director Ellenore Holbrook, the money that the monologues raises is the largest donation My Sister’s Place receives each year.

9000 miles: how distance gave two international students a new outlook on their homeland



My home in Schoonover

After a long day of classes, it is likely that you will find me sitting in the lobby at the Steven L. Schoonover Center for Communication.

After only 22 weeks in Athens at Ohio University, I have found Schoonover to be somewhat of a haven to destress, drink a cup of coffee from Front Room and to mentally prepare for the days ahead.

My favorite place in the building is the lobby, which is just large enough to fit a substantial amount of Scripps students who, like me, go there to relax, but still small enough to feel like a home. There’s even a fireplace — albeit fake — that I like to sit by when I come in from E Union St. on a cold winter’s day. If there are no seats available near the fireplace, or if I just need some time alone, I find myself gravitating toward the large green chairs that I can disappear into and get some work done.

And, while I love sitting in my little oasis on my laptop and working on assignments, there is another element of Schoonover Center that intrigues me all the same. Although to the unobservant eye Schoonover Center appears to be a building of new construction, the fact of the matter is that the building got its start as Baker Center in 1953.

The exterior of the Steven L. Schoonover Center for Communication.
The exterior of the Steven L. Schoonover Center for Communication.

I am in awe with the amount of history in the building in combination with the technological advances in the newest building at Ohio University. There’s such a contrast between the worn brick facade and the new state-of-the-art interior. Every day I learn something new about the building, whether it be a fact about the building’s history or some feature of the renovated building.

And to some, it might seem like I am always in Schoonover. In fact, two long nights first semester my friends and I even slept there. I became even more familiar those nights because in fits of desperation and pure exhaustion, me and other 18 and 19-year-old college freshmen played several rounds of hide-and-seek throughout the six-floor building at 5 a.m.

I may not know exactly how to properly pronounce it, but I am always at home in Schoonover Center.