I wake up before my alarm goes off and lie in bed as the warm air blows gently across me. I stand up and trot over to the blinds to see if the weather corresponds to its forecast. Yes, another sunny day at 65 degrees. Great mornings like these help me start my day off right, even if the day ahead will be full of stress.
Some people say life is hard. That is true. I mean, people die from it. As a law student, the academic rigors only add to that stress. But to counteract the added stress which may shorten my life, I purchased an iPhone. My iPhone is fully stocked with productivity applications to help me organize my student life and enough music for weeks of endless play, so I can strike a balance between school and recreation.
I have a folder dedicated to law school applications. This folder includes Study Blue, Blackboard, LexisAdvance, WestlawNext, the Q&A; Series, and the most notable: Evernote.
Evernote is an amazing application on my phone that syncs wirelessly with my computer. When Professor McKenzie posts assignments for Local Government Law on The West Education Network (TWEN), I use my computer to copy text from cases and insert them into Evernote. I can also import PDF files and the application’s servers will make the text readable, meaning that I can search the imported document for specific terms. This means that when a professor asks a simple “level one” question, I can easily find a quick answer.
If I am unable to read from my phone because the cold winds are blowing, or because I am running to the bus to arrive on time for Professor Kautsch’s Copyright and Digital works class, I can use Evernote to catch my reading on the go. Yes, there is an app for that: the iPhone is Jose compatible! I highlight the text I normally would read, and the iPhone gives me three options: copy, define, or speak.
“Copy” will allow me to place the text in Evernote without the computer. “Define” will solve puzzling terms like “lis pendens” when I see them for the first time. And the speak functionality allows the iPhone to read whatever I select. Sirita, the previously unnamed voice of the iPhone 4, “speaks” them to me. I once taught my dog how to speak; however, I suppose Sirita demanded more than just a hot dog.
Other applications I use daily are the Weather Channel’s hour-by-hour climate predictions, Outlook’s email and calendar (with alerts synced to the iPhone), Maps to determine what time the bus runs by my house, and Flashlight so that Green Hall can win their “Lights Out!” contest.
However, there are times when I “wanna get away,” and indulge in one of my hobbies, music. Airplane mode allows me to preserve my battery while I immerse myself in “Kush and Orange Juice” by Wiz Khalifa, or “Section 80” by Kendrick Lamar, two great albums by artists who recently broke into the mainstream.
I have gigabytes of music ranging from Aesop Rock to Zion-I – there’s no way to fit everything I have on my iPhone. But Google recently came out with Music, an application that mirrors all the songs in your iTunes, and it has saved my music library. Now I can take along Ab-Soul, Atmosphere, A$ap Rocky, Blackalicious, B.O.N.E. Thugs n’ Harmony, Cee Lo, Common, Cyhi da Prince, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, and many more without compromising crucial hard drive space.
I always have a song playing in my head, and I grew up surrounded by rap music. One of my favorite pastimes is to immerse myself in an album, whether it’s from a hip-hop grandfather, like Rakim or a new, unestablished artist. I evaluate the lyrics, analyze the flow, and I can even join the rap community in critiquing new albums within moments of their release on sites like Rapgenius.com. I like to think that my job as a listener is important, not only to reduce my stress levels, but also to help the hip hop industry progress as a whole. My iPhone helps me achieve that goal.
On the other hand, when I’m in airplane mode, I risk missing that important call from “the firm,” a.k.a. my grandma and my mother. Although I enjoy my down time, my duties to my family and my school are more important. Like the legendary rap artist Slug said, “I’m just trying to find a balance,” and the iPhone helps make this possible.