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#TWenty: The 2016 TomasinoWeb Year-ender

Remember when we said that 2016 would be our year? It’s just a memory now.



A letter from the editor

Remember when we said that 2016 would be our year?

It’s just a memory now.

Harambe has been shot dead by authorities at the Cincinnati Zoo and he has put a curse on us all. Misfortune piled upon misfortune. The Growling Tigers tanked terribly in UAAP Season 79. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is dead. Donald Trump is US President.

Can it get even worse?

There was a shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 dead. The war on drugs has killed 6,000 people so far (we say “so far,” because President Rodrigo Duterte had asked for an extension of his six-month battle). Oh, and can we even forget – former dictator Ferdinand Marcos has been buried at the heroes’ cemetery.

But has it really been that bad?

We did get Pokémon Go, even if it easily fizzled away. The Metro Manila Film Festival finally showed quality films. UST has achieved a perfect passing rate in the Nursing boards. The Philippines has its third Miss Universe.

This year has seen a lot of good and bad, and we can either thank or curse this unit of time which we incessantly personify in order to project our inner fears, failures and anxieties onto it without taking into account all the logical steps that put us where we are now.

We took a lot of steps this 2016 and yes, some of those steps were on landmines. But our legs have not been fully broken and our will to live has not been completely shattered.

Maybe if we can survive past four or six more years, we can even get to see another supermoon in 2034.

But enough of my babbling: Here is a list of the top 20 people, things and events which left a mark on us this 2016.

Thomasians, Filipino people and citizens of the world, here is #TWenty.

Still alive despite all this,
Xave Gregorio

20. Pulse Nightclub shooting

Around 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded as Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He then swore allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call.

The incident is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting by one shooter and the deadliest violence against the LGBT community. Mateen was later killed in a shootout with police.

The attack sent waves around the globe and raised safety concerns in the queer community. –Marc Dela Paz

19. Pokémon GO

Huge advancements in gaming defined 2016. Among these is Niantic’s location based augmented reality game that rocked the foundations of those dreaming to be a Pokémon Master the world over.

Pokémon Go was made available to 15 countries in Asia, including the Philippines, in August this year. It took little time for the Thomasian community to flock the 21-hectare campus searching for Pokémon and controlling the two gyms and making good use of the 32 Pokéstops within it.

Although it fizzled out the following months, Pokémon Go served as a stepping-stone for more games which will incorporate the physical, real-world environment.

One can only imagine what 2017 might have in stored for gamers. Augmented reality “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, anyone? – Jordan Thomas Pimentel

18. UST ranks second in employability survey

This year, UST was recognized by Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) as the second best Philippine university which produces employable graduates.

With a graduate employment rate of 81 points and 90.2 points in employer-student connections, UST entered a spot in the 201+ bracket together with Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and University of the Philippines (UP).

The University, however, fell to the 33rd place in the QS Employers Presence on Campus ranking with 90.2 points compared to last year’s ranking where UST ranked 17th with 90.3 points. UST also remained in the 701+ bracket in the recent World University Rankings and ranked 157th in Asian University Rankings. – Raye Danielle Peralta

17. First UAAP ballroom dance competition

Many were excited when the UAAP announced before the start of the season that they will be adding ballroom dancing to the list of events this season. Starting off as a demonstration sport, the competition was held at the Quadricentennial Pavillion last Sept. 2.

Students from different universities swarmed the Quadricenntenial Pavillion to show support to their respective schools. Out of the eight UAAP schools, only Far Eastern University did not participate in the event.

Despite rehearsing for only three months, the UST Sinag Ballroom Dance Company was able to capture two podium finishes in the Latin America and standard ballroom category that suited them for the silver medal while the University of the Philippines swept the competition after finishing strong by snagging gold medals in both categories.

Sinag was pleased with how the competition went despite not winning the coveted ballroom dancing crown. Head coach Danilo Gagani was happy with the performance, stating that it was a good start for the relatively young squad to finish with flying colors. Julian Elona and Patricia Isabella Romarate

16. Supermoon

Stargazers took their cameras and themselves out and marveled at the awe of the moon on November 14th this year.

A “supermoon” happens when the moon becomes full on the same day as the perigee, or the time that it is closest to the earth, says NASA.

But what made this supermoon special is the fact that the moon has not been that close to the earth since January 26, 1948. The next time it comes that close will be in November 2034 says PAGASA. – Jordan Thomas Pimentel

15. Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach

After 47 years, the Miss Universe crown finally comes back home.

Pia Wurtzbach is the third Filipino to win the coveted crown after Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margarita Moran in 1973. Her win might be one of the most controversial in Miss Universe history because host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner only to take it back minutes later saying he “made a terrible mistake.”

The half-German beauty is a devout Catholic, but she is very vocal with her advocacy of gender equality. In an Instagram post, she said that although she was raised in a conservative Catholic country she is not afraid to fight for LGBT rights because there is no room for hate anymore.

Many took notice of her grace and beauty, in fact, she was named Google’s most-searched female personality in the Philippines this year. Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo also said last Dec. 20 that Wurtzbach agreed to become the Philippine’s tourism ambassador after her reign.

It might have started out as a mistake but Pia Wurtzbach’s colorful reign would definitely not be forgotten easily. She will pass her crown to the next Miss Universe on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Maria Limjoco

14. Glitchy CSC elections

Evident with its voter’s education seminars and other election related programs, the UST Central Commission on Elections (UST Comelec) was determined to have a successful university-wide elections – successful, until the proclamation of the new set of Central Student Council (CSC) officers was postponed due to a “technical failure.”

On April 22, hours before the proclamation, one of the computers used for canvassing votes crashed, halting the downloading of the file which contained the results of the CSC elections from Blackboard, UST’s online learning portal. The glitch was so bad that Educational Technology Center staff had to ask assistance from Blackboard Australia and Singapore.

It was the first time a technical problem happened since the CSC election was automated in 2009. As expected, the incident drew flak from the Central Board as well as from the candidates.

On April 27, the UST Comelec finally proclaimed the new set of CSC officers with Lakas Tomasino Coalition dominating the elections after winning five out of six posts, including the presidency. – Vince Angelo Ferreras

13. First batch of SHS students

This year was witness to the first batch of senior high school students, following the implementation of the K-12 program initiated by the Aquino administration. The new school year has recorded 1.3 million Grade 11 students in 10 000 schools nationwide.

Among the 1.3 million students are the 5000 who passed through the Arch of the Centuries in the ceremonial Welcome Walk. These students now occupy the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building, which formerly housed the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management and the Faculty of Arts and Letters. – Beatriz Decena

12. Perfect passing rate in Nursing board exams

Hospitals may expect a handful of Thomasian nurses at their doorsteps after this year’s exam results.

As if to end the year with a bang, all the University’s 324 examinees passed the November 2016 nursing board examinations, with UST once again sporting a 100-percent passing rate, earning its second top performance in the boards in a row.

This year, eighteen Thomasian graduates stood in the Top 10 list. UST’s Faith Calzado Rutagines topped the exams with an 86.60-percent rating, sharing the spot with Eric Jacinto from Saint Louis University. – Carisse Niclo Dumaua

11. Vice President Leni Robredo

Before she became vice president, Leni Robredo could be seen riding a bus from Manila to Naga City along with her daughters. Indeed, her simplicity and motherly image has gained admiration from many.

Known for being the wife of the late Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo, the former Camarines Sur representative had no plans of taking higher posts in the government. Not until the Liberal Party convinced her to run along its standard bearer Mar Roxas.

Robredo surged in pre-election surveys, battling almost neck and neck with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.

This same battle was waged during the elections, where she emerged victorious by a few hundred thousand votes. She finished with 14,418,817 votes while Marcos had 14,155,344.

Despite controversies and her “irreconcilable differences” with the President, she keeps calm and continues to slay every magazine cover. – Vince Angelo Ferrera

10. US President-elect Donald Trump

“I will be the greatest jobs (sic) president that God has ever created,” Donald Trump said on July 16, 2015 – announcing his intention to run for president of the United States.

His scathing remarks on Mexicans, sexist comments and vilification of Muslims made him a controversial icon across the world, and despite all that he was still able to gather a “yuge” number of supporters – but not “yuge” enough to beat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.

Trump, the standard-bearer of the Republican Party snagged 306 electoral votes, while Democrat Hillary Clinton won a mere 232. –Marc Dela Paz

9. Harambe

A cocktail of negligent parenting, an unusually acrobatic child, a confused silverback gorilla, a gun and the ever present mobile camera spawned what will later go down in history as one of the key moments of the year 2016.

On May 28, a three-year old boy, who apparently took Tarzan and The Jungle Book way too seriously, decided that he will enjoy his trip to the zoo by going inside a gorilla enclosure. Low and behold, the child found himself trapped inside a cage with a 440-pound raw muscle and a bad decision. The Cincinnati Zoo, fearing for the safety of the kid and probably more fearing of a hefty lawsuit, decided that the best course of action is to shoot the gorilla.

READ  #TWenty: TomasinoWeb's 2019 year-end special

And shoot the gorilla they did.

News about cases like this usually sputters out after a few days. However, to everyone’s surprise, the whole fiasco was blown way out of proportion and became an international scandal. Most people cried foul and blamed the parent for being negligent while some supported the decision of the zoo administration. There’s also a few who blame Harambe himself for being there in the enclosure causing all this scandal in the first place. “Aye, that monkey’s crakin up. With ‘ol the business ‘bout dragging that lad across the cage. I spilled me coffee ‘cos of that chimpanzee,” said Bert, one of the visitors of the zoo that fateful day.

Harambe unwittingly became the personification of our society’s repressed love for dark humor and also our ability as a species to be a complete and total jackass by turning harrowing events like this into memes. Vox even declared Harambe as the undeniable “meme of the year”.

It is without the question that Harambe reached a status no man, or animal for that matter, ever achieved before. No creature in the past, present, and possibly the future that will have his own phallic salute. – Jayson Cruz

8. UST hosts UAAP Season 79

he responsibility of hosting the 79th season of the UAAP fell on the shoulders of the University of Santo Tomas and of course, it did not fail to showcase spectacular things.

The season opened last Sept. 3 at the University’s Plaza Mayor, breaking the norm of the annual opening of UAAP season in major arenas in the country.

Institute of Physical Education Administration director Fr. Ermito De Sagon said that the opening ceremony aimed to show Thomasian culture to the athletes in all eight universities who entered through the Arch of the Centuries in their very own Welcome Walk. – Gabriel John Pe and Cyreel Gian Zarate

7. War on Drugs

The Philippines is in a state of war.

More accurately, the Duterte administration had declared an all out war against illegal drugs. This had been one of the most prominent changes promised by President Duterte on the campaign trail, which endeared millions of Filipinos.

He had promised to eradicate drugs within six months. In those six months, more than 6,000 lives of suspected drug pushers and users nationwide. Some of them were killed in anti-narcotics operations, after they allegedly fought police, while some were killed in apparent vigilante killings.

About a third of police operations are being investigated for alleged human rights violations. However, Duterte assured that he will defend all policemen from such charges.

The President had been in headlines both locally and internationally for his hardline measures against drugs which drew criticism from the US and the UN. With every blow of negative feedback, he simply responded with a “F*** you.”

Despite different criticisms, the latest Social Weather Stations survey revealed that he still holds good reputation at home.

In addition, Duterte pushed back the deadline of the war on drugs stating that he will continue “until the last pusher drops dead.”  – Ricmae Dorothy Arellano

6. Mocha Uson

“Anong po ang masasabi niyo, mga ka-DDS?”

Well, Filipinos have a lot to say to Mocha Uson – one of President Duterte’s ever gallant knights online. She made noise through her Facebook page, Mocha Uson Blog, by frequently lambasting established and credible news outlets—from Ateneo de Manila’s Matanglawin, to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, to the New York Times—for allegedly “destabilizing the Philippines.”

The dancer-turned-political analyst also preys on “dilawans,” or people affiliated with the Liberal Party or simply anyone who dares to be critical toward the Duterte administration, and blames them for stratifying the nation by staining the President’s image.

Unbeknownst to some, Uson is actually a Thomasian. She graduated with a degree in Medical Technology at the University, then studied at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery for two years. She dropped out to pursue a career as a singer and later on, the leader of girl group Mocha Girls.

Her online following greatly outnumbers some media organizations – a feat that she is very proud of. Her relentless support for the President, characterized by an apologist rhetoric and misinformation, had triggered online petitions to shut down her page.

However, as she said in her first column on the Philippine Star, she is still free to speak. – Cielo Erikah Mae Cinco

5. Growling Tigers’ worst season

Season 79 has been rough for the UST Growling Tigers. After an unexpected bridesmaid finish last season, the Tigers fell to the bottom of the standing with a dismal 3-11 win-loss record. The Tigers experienced their worst loss in a decade against eventual champions De La Salle Green Archers with a 38-point deficit. When things could not get any worse, it did – the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons beat UST for the first time since Season 69.

The Tigers lost their key players in Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag and Karim Abdul and Embons Bonleon was declared out for the season due to a wrist injury. Even before the season started, the Tigers had to adjust to a new system only three months before the opening of the UAAP Season 79 under Boy Sablan, who replaced Bong dela Cruz after allegations of maltreatment of players and game fixing.

Veterans Louie Vigil and Jamil Sheriff almost did not make it in the lineup after a sudden decision by the league’s board to lower the age limit from 25 to 24. However, after UST contested the decision, Vigil and Sheriff were cleared to play. King Tiger Vigil led the España-based cagers with an average of 13.57 points and 3.14 assists per game. – Chelseia Jeanne Jose

4. The Metro Manila Film Festival lineup

The unveiling of this year’s lineup for the Metro Manila Film Festival is a sight to behold and a hopeful testament to the future of Philippine cinema, serving up an array of entries boasting with timely relevance – something that has been painfully missing in the festival since the start of the last decade.

It’s a much needed palette cleanser after the overextended reign of franchise tent poles and less-than-stimulating blockbusters that have now left a sour taste in some moviegoers’ mouth.

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough, Die Beautiful, Kabisera, Oro, Saving Sally, Seklusyon, Sunday Beauty Queen, and Vince & Kath & James; these specially crafted films mark the point in history where the Metro Manila Film Festival tried to take back its rightful glory.

Time will tell if these titles will live up to their potential but if there’s one thing we can all take to the bank, most of these are poised to be better than what we’ve been getting since the start of the recent millennia.
Now, for the sake of Philippine cinema, you should go and watch them. – Isaiah John Mangunay

3. President Rodrigo Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte made headlines even before taking his oath and assuming the country’s highest position. He made bold promises during his presidential campaign, including eradicating illegal drugs in three to six months. His firm stance against criminality and corruption among millions of Filipinos, allowing him to win by a landslide.

His mouth was often crass and undiplomatic as he had cursed Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, the UN and its Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the European Union, among a long list of other personalities. He had made jokes about raping a nun and being infatuated with Vice President Leni Robredo’s knees and other chauvinistic remarks. These were easily dismissed by his avid supporters as harmless, while critics had put him on blast.

The President was at the center of controversy when Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman, claimed that the long-time mayor of Davao City was the mastermind behind the vigilante group, “Davao Death Squad.” He was again placed under scrutiny after allowing the burial of the late Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Duterte emphasized improved government service during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). He has issued an executive order for the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI). The pending peace negotiations between the government and New People’s Army have resumed. The President has also announced a tax reform plan and a proposed federal government.

Despite dropping four points from the third quarter, he has registered “excellent” in the last Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, with a satisfaction rating of +72. The President recently placed 70th on the “World’s Most Powerful People” list released by Forbes magazine. – Tyra Danielle Aquino

2. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

The year 2016 marked the end of former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s colorful journey through politics and life.

It was in 2014 when she announced that she was diagnosed with lung cancer and July last year when she said that she was cured. Last year in October, she filed her candidacy for president for the third and last time.

She banked on the power of social media and millennials to catapult her to the presidency.

She had a strong following among students as she topped in election surveys in several universities. However, other sectors of Philippine society were less receptive of her due to her illness, so she tanked in national polls conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

During the three month campaign period she had been barely able to campaign due to fatigue and cancer treatment. She ranked fifth with only 1,455,532 votes. Despite losing in her last attempt to become the president of the Philippines, she remained positive and asked her supporters to do the same.

Four months after the elections, the so-called Iron Lady of Asia died, leaving Filipinos mourning for “the best president we never had.” – Elinor Bola

1. Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

It was a move by President Duterte which sought to unite the nation – but it proved to be one which fractured it even more.

The Supreme Court’s 9-5-1 ruling in favor of burying former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig sent people to the streets in protest. When Marcos was clandestinely buried 10 days after the ruling at the heroes’ cemetery, even more went out – outside university campuses, at the People Power Monument and at Luneta Park.

The burial ignited a militant spark in millennials as they led the protests in thousands, carrying witty picket signs with references to popular culture.

While others were indignant, loyalists like the Duterte Youth and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos was happy with the burial and was grateful for President Duterte’s fulfillment of one of his campaign promises of burying the late dictator whose regime committed thousands of human rights violations.



The regress of political discourse

Such statements coming from politicians are bothersome because it is as if they are not willing to listen to other people’s ideas, and given how they are handling the health crisis sloppily, they are not eligible for that kind of attitude.



Engaging in political discourses on social media can be heated and toxic most of the time, but what is worse is when the elected officials tell the people they swore to serve, “kayo na lang tumakbo” as a response to constructive criticisms. This kind of ignorance is not new, but it seems that in the last five years, this has become the go-to reply not just for supposed “public servants,” but also for the supporters of an administration that shuts down criticsno matter how substantial their views, or even suggestions, are.

In this pandemic, the advice and suggestions of medical experts are crucial, such as increasing testing capacity to more than 100,000 per day—DOH’s April 9 figures showed that the Philippines was only able to have less than 40,000 tests in a day), improving the country’s contact tracing strategy—and boosting hospital capacity by at least 50 percent.

Last April 10, an elected official said on Twitter that these should have been continued, given the recent surge in coronavirus cases. “We just have to admit that gov’t (including myself) relaxed when cases plateaued at 2k/day,” the official tweeted.

One of the netizens, who is a friend of that official, responded to his tweet. “It took you 1 year to figure this out. Better late than never I suppose,” the netizen said, but the official clapped back by saying that if the former had figured this out a year ago, “you should replace Madame Auring. Better yet, become our president.”

The exchange did not end there. The elected official interpreted his friend’s constructive opinions as insults and insisted, ironically, that they can discuss issues “squarely and as friends.”

Such statements coming from politicians are bothersome because it is as if they are not willing to listen to other people’s ideas, and given how they are handling the health crisis sloppily, they are not eligible for that kind of attitude.

Section 4 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (or Republic Act No. 6713) states that every public official and employee must observe certain standards of personal conduct in performing their duties, but reality tells us that this provision is often reduced to mere sentences written on a paper, and this example is just one of many.

Worse yet, this behavior emboldens supporters and propagandists to act the same way as their idols do. Criticizing the errors of state policies usually leads to their fanatics responding with statements like “sumunod ka na lang” or “huwag nang magreklamo—the typical mentality of those who bathe in so much privilege and leave no space for intellectual discourses. No wonder why many find social media as a place bad enough to be in. Others have even quit the internet altogether as a result.

The bottom line: many no longer know the proper exchange of intellectual discourses on pressing issues. Factual-based arguments are a must, and fallacious or baseless accusations that go as far as endangering people’s lives are superfluous, because hostility to constructive criticisms, especially in cases like this, does not make you look cool. It only makes you look stupid.

We must stop acting like we are members of a cult, because at the end of the day, the public plays a huge role, too, in shaping the society, and that includes challenging officials to use their power in correcting the system, and along with it the policies, that is dysfunctional.


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Pharma remembers ‘longest-serving’ prof, Jacinta Cruz

Assoc. Prof. Jacinta Cruz, MHPEd served as a mentor to generations of medical technologists from Faculty of Pharmacy. She was recognized as an “Outstanding Professional in Medical Technology” by the Professional Regulation Committee in 2009. 



Late Assoc. Prof. Jacinta Cruz. Photo from UST official Facebook page.

The University mourned the loss of one of its longest-serving professors from the Faculty of Pharmacy (FoP) yesterday, March 26. 

Before her retirement, Assoc. Prof. Jacinta Cruz, MHPEd served as a mentor to generations of medical technologists from FoP. She was recognized as an “Outstanding Professional in Medical Technology” by the Professional Regulation Committee in 2009. 

The FoP also expressed their sympathy and gratitude to their departed colleague online. 

Mark Angelo Ngu, one of her former students, recalled how Cruz changed his life and how he discovered that he was diabetic through her laboratory experiment. 

He also said that she was a “strict” professor but for accountable reasons. 

“[S]he was strict, and she scolds students, but there is a reason for this one, in order for us to ready ourselves in the real world, [..] her philosophy was to hone our emotional stability as early in order to prepare us for the real world,” Ngu told TomasinoWeb.

Cruz, however, also never failed to show her “kwela” side to her students as well, which makes her unforgettable for Ngu. 

“[D]espite her strictness, she also has her “kwela” side. Once you get to know her “kwela” side, you will surely be happy with her around. Kaya hindi namin makalimutan si Ma’am Jannie,” he said.


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8 apps and web extensions to boost your productivity

We’ve listed 8 apps that are perfect procrastination blockers and productivity boosters for this semester. 



Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

The beginning of a new semester can be very daunting especially when you think about how much stress you’d have to manage for another four to five months. Along with the dreadful 7 am classes, perhaps the biggest enemy we have to deal with is procrastination. Motivation is great, but when you lack willpower and discipline, nothing will really come out of it.

Fear not for we’ve listed 8 apps that are perfect procrastination blockers and productivity boosters for this semester. 

1. Google Calendar

Photo from GCF Global

Juggling deadlines with other important dates in your life is quite the task. When we’re too committed and focused on finishing tasks, we tend to forget a friend’s birthday or important meetings because we lose track of time. Well, Google Calendar is here to help keep your student and personal life organized. This productivity tool works pretty much like a digital planner which you can easily access on your phone, laptop, and other gadgets. It boasts powerful features such as multiple calendars, shared schedules, and push notification reminders. 

Pros: Simple design and interface, easy to navigate, customizable, cross-platform integration

Cons: Only accessible with an internet connection

Available for free on IOS, Android, and PC (App & Site)

2. Forest

Photo from Mashable

Focusing on tasks can be difficult because of the temptation to check our phones every five to ten minutes. During study breaks, we also tend to get distracted and find ourselves scrolling through Twitter or Tiktok for hours instead of minutes. 

With the theme, “Stay focused, be present,” the Forest app helps improve your focus and self-control while doing important tasks by keeping you away from distractions caused by social media and gaming apps. Using Forest, you can set a timer for a specific task you want to accomplish. If you successfully accomplish it without exiting the app, a tree is planted in your digital forest. However, if you exit the app while the timer is still running, your tree will die and be included in your forest as a reminder. Once the timer is up, you can set another timer for a short study break. For this reason, Forest has been widely used for the Pomodoro studying technique

Pros: Easy to navigate, simple and creative design, stats and progress can be monitored, powerful affirmation method, can be used offline

Cons: Includes in-app purchases

Available for free on Android and PC (Google Chrome Extension) | IOS (₱99.00)

3. Notion

Photo from Notion

Staying organized is never easy, especially when you are suddenly bombarded with deadlines and personal matters left and right. With too much chaos going around you, everything gets overwhelming that you end up staring at your screen for hours. 

Notion helps keep your workplace organized in one place. Think of it as a journal and a notebook in one. With Notion, you can boost your personal productivity by managing your tasks into organized pages, databases, to-do lists, and kanban boards. It also serves as an efficient note taking app with powerful features such as toggle lists, callouts, code, and inline equations. Notion is also lauded for its feature that allows you to embed sub pages, files, videos, links, and many more into your notes. The emojis and icons it comes with give more appeal to your workspace. Its cloud storage system makes it easier to access your workflow from different devices as well as share it with others in your class or organization. 

Pros: Easy to navigate, simple and minimalist design, comes in light and dark mode, unlimited pages & blocks, lock page feature to prevent edits, pages can be exported as PDF, HTML or Markdown format

Cons: Can’t do annotations unless exported as PDF

Available for free on IOS, Android, and PC (App & Site)

4. Anki

Photo from Elite Medical Prep

At this point, we can all agree that online classes are very overwhelming. The amount of workload we need to get done combined with the truckload of information we have to take in within a short period of time causes nothing but stress. So, rather than actively retaining information, we only passively learn them. The answer: spaced repetition and active recall.

Anki is an open-source flashcard program that specializes in these techniques. There’s no doubt that encoding and highlighting your notes are aesthetically pleasing. However, research has shown that traditional studying techniques like rereading and highlighting aren’t really effective in retaining information. With Anki, you can earn, retain, and even memorize huge loads of information in the long term using customizable digital flashcards. It boasts powerful features like cloze deletion, image occlusion, and multiple choice that, when combined with spaced repetition and active recall, serve as the secret sauce in getting that uno in class. Like the previous apps, its cloud-based storage allows you to access your cards from different devices, share your decks, and even download other users’ decks when you’re too lazy to make one. 

Pros: Spaced repetition and active recall feature, can be used offline, easily customizable 

Cons: Difficult to navigate for beginners, complex interface

Available for free on Android and PC (Software) | IOS (₱1,250.00)

5. Quizlet

Photo from TechCrunch

If Anki’s interface is too complex for you, then you may try your luck with Quizlet. This app needs no introduction because I’m pretty sure everyone has stumbled upon it when they were desperate. 

Quizlet is like Anki’s distant cousin. Like the previous app, it also specializes in active recall as a studying technique through customizable digital flashcards. This online learning tool includes features that allow you to learn and memorize terms, definition, vocabulary, and even equations. You can either make your own study sets or use pre-made ones by other Quizlet users. It has seven study modes (Flashcards, Learn, Write, Spell, Test, Match, Gravity) that not only allow you to retain information better, but also help you test yourself by simulating what exams look and feel like. 

Pros: Easy to navigate, shared decks, simple and flexible design

Cons: Includes in-app purchases, spaced repetition feature requires paid upgrade 

Available for free on IOS, Android, and PC (Site)

6. Weava

Photo from Prototypr

A lot of the work we do as students requires a lot of research and reading. In doing so, we almost always end up with multiple tabs on our browser, making it difficult to remember which site or journal we got certain information from. 

Weava is a Chrome extension that allows you to highlight important information from sites, online PDFs, and research journals. Once highlighted, the extension saves the information along with the source in your personal dashboard, which makes it easier to revisit in the future. You can also add annotations on your highlights as well as organize them into categories using different colors. These simple features of Weava come in very handy for students and professors dealing with research and/or theses that require a lot of reading and collating information. 

Pros: Easy to navigate, simple design 

Cons: Some PDFs cannot be highlighted 

Available for free on Google Chrome

7. Cluster

Photo from Cluster

This next one on the list is also the holy grail to your multiple tabs problem. Cluster is a window and tab manager Chrome extension that basically, as the name suggests, clusters all your tabs into one window. Let’s say you’re dealing with three different research works and having multiple tabs open irks you, but you can’t really exit on some tabs since it contains important information. With Cluster, you can save and organize these tabs into one window, which you can later access on your dashboard when you need it. It also comes with tools that help you manage, sort, and navigate your saved tabs in your dashboard. Restored windows will appear in a suspended state to reduce the time when loading multiple tabs at once. 

Pros: User-friendly, simple design, easy to navigate, suspend functionality

Cons: None

Available for free on Google Chrome

8. Cold Turkey

Photo from Cold Turkey

Distractions are no stranger when dealing with online classes. Maintaining discipline when finishing school tasks can also be tough because of the temptation to explore other apps and websites. Five hours later, you find yourself checking out items from your cart rather than turning in your work before 11:59 pm. 

Cold Turkey, as it claims, is the toughest website blocker on the internet. This web extension allows you to block websites, apps, and even your entire computer. You can lock these blocks using a password within a specified time window, schedule, or after typing a customizable amount of random text. Like Forest, Cold Turkey also features pomodoro-style breaks that help reduce distractions. As the creators suggest, Cold Turkey will be there for you when your willpower won’t. 

Pros: Simple design, easy to navigate 

Cons: Pro features require paid upgrade

Available for free on Google Chrome

Being productive isn’t just about downloading all these apps and extensions then posting about it how aesthetic it is on your Instagram stories. Give each one a fair try and select the ones that will work to your advantage. Integrate them to your daily life and learn how each one can maximize your time and increase your output. In doing so, you’d hopefully be able to create and commit to an effective routine that will turn your student life for the better and help you get through this semester stress-free. 


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