After four years filled with studies (and a fair amount of non-academic activities) in the small town of Oxford, Ohio, I truly had no idea where I’d end up after graduation from Miami University. But following a series of events (see above link), I became the App Association’s communications assistant, and am loving life in DC.
Now, there’s no way I could adjust to my new home without a phone full of apps – which is of course appropriate seeing as where I work. You may have seen Whitley and Melissa’s editions to My Life in Apps, and now it’s my turn to give a little insight into how apps can help any recent grad (or app-loving person) adjust to a new city.
As I started to write this post, I had flashes back to AP Psychology in high school. I began to realize how the apps I outline below fulfill Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And really, this totally makes sense seeing as how these apps helped me adjust and be truly happy in my new city. (Of course if you find this part of the post terribly uninteresting, ignore my asides in parentheses.)
First up, finding a place to live. (Or as Maslow would put it, fulfillment of the need for safety.)
After a short stint subleasing an apartment, I was able to find a place of my own using Trulia. The app allows you to refine the ever-daunting apartment search by narrowing location, space specs, and price. It also sends alerts when something new pops up on the market. My roommate and I were able to find the perfect spot (a two-bedroom apartment with hardwood floors, a gym and a furnished rooftop in our price range) in under two weeks thanks to the help of Trulia.
After shelter comes ever-necessary transportation. (Again, in Maslow’s theory, the need for safety.)
Now, I’m both carless and live roughly two miles from the closest metro, so I employ a few apps to help me get from point A to point B on a regular basis. A ridiculously simple but extremely helpful one is the DC Metro and Bus app, which provides real-time bus and rail predictions directly from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
I’m also a huge fan of Citymapper, which gives real-time departure data on all modes of transit where available, and includes weather, alerts, disruptions, and cab booking through Hailo. And whether I’m running late for an event or just want a quick and easy form of transportation, Uber is my go-to on-demand car service.
And next…a sound body leads to a sound mind, right? (This checks off the most basic requirement for physiological needs, according to Maslow.)
As I was transitioning, moving about and was without a set routine, I used the Sworkit app to stay in shape and fit in a work out whenever I found time. The app takes you through 5-60 minute circuit training workouts that require no equipment – meaning users can get in shape virtually anywhere. And while I’m a little more settled now, I still use the app on a regular basis for strength training and yoga.
Of course, I’m doing none of this on an empty stomach. (And the physiological needs call again.)
I would argue that the best way to get to know a city is through culinary confection. Working on K St. means I’m surrounded by food truck options for lunch. And, Food truck fiesta is the only app I need to track and locate my favorite DC food trucks in real-time (which, in case you’re wondering, include Tasty Kabob, SundeVich, Pepe, Phonation, and Lemon Grass).
In addition to the food truck scene, I rely on Yelp to find places to try in different neighborhoods. I can walk into an area I haven’t previously been, open up the app, and read reviews and access menus to tons of places. It’s helped me discover quite a few delicious destinations including Daikaya, Barcelona, Red Light, Sprig and Sprout, Golden Brown Delicious, and Iron Gate.
And while the Yelp app helps me navigate places I’ve never been, I wouldn’t be able to plan many weekends or nights out with friends without the OpenTable app. Using my iPhone, I can make a reservation from just about anywhere, and it’s helped me get into crave-worthy places like Oyamel, Irish Wiskey Public House, Boqueria, NoPa Kitchen + Bar, and Farmers Fishers Bakers.
Although I’m almost always up for a venture in the city, there are some nights that I just want to stay in and veg. For those, my roommate and I rely on the Seamless app, from which we can order food delivery from local restaurants in just a few taps – even if it’s Angelico’s pizza right down the street.
I could go on about everything edible, but I’ll transition to something a little more serious. (Maslow would argue that this fills the requirement for esteem needs – the ability to be confident and gain the respect of others.)
On my commutes to and from work, I rely on a slew of apps to keep me in-the-know. One of my favorites is Flipboard, which aggregates stories from around the world and allows users to create a personal magazine based on their preferred content areas. (Excuse me while I revert to total tech nerd but…) I am continually impressed by their design and user interface – extremely intuitive!
And how do I stay in touch with friends around the globe? (According to Maslow, my need for love and belonging.)
Apps, of course. With my best friends scattered from Perrysburg, Ohio to New York City to Barcelona, Spain, we rely on GroupMe to stay connected. With the app we can send pictures and vidoes, and all communicate in one place – despite being on different platforms and using different types of mobile devices. We’re also constant users of Snapchat, sharing our worlds with one another for 1-10 seconds at a time.
That pretty much covers it…
But first, let me take a super sophisticated time-lapse video. (Which of course falls into the need for self-actualization, playing on my more creative side.)
While it’s not necessarily an app that’s helped me adjust to DC in a physical sense, I love messing around with Hyperlapse from Instagram. It packs the power of a steadicam and lets you take beautiful time-lapse videos with ease – I’ve tried my hand at quite a few DC-flavored vids since downloading.
And with that, I’ve nearly covered how apps can fulfill Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (even if I had to stretch a bit..), and help any recent grad transition to a new city.