Graduate students are often swamped trying to juggle school, research, family, and some semblance of a social life.  Needless to say, life can get a little hectic–and a little boring.  For me, I find that I’m out of the loop when it comes to the new and hip things going on around the city and I curse my busy school schedule for keeping me in the dark.  To remedy this (and to give me an excuse to go out and interact with real humans!), I started using check-in apps on my phone as, almost, a game to spice up my life.

Whether you use Foursquare, Gowalla, MyTown, Yelp, or Facebook Places, using location based social media tools can help motivate you to explore new places and get out of your lab/library/office once in a while.  For me, Yelp’s check-in tool has been my favorite since I get to peruse the reviews of local businesses before I choose my spot.  Plus, there’s nothing more pointless (and yet exhilarating) than ousting someone out of their prized spot as top check-in.

My goal is usually to find a new coffee shop (or other study area to your liking) that I have never been to, check-in, and study away.  I make that my local haunt for a while (at least until I become The Duchess of the spot!), make friends with the baristas, and enjoy the new scenery.  When I’m ready to find another study spot, I find another random spot and do the same thing until I have my little Dukedoms all around town.

Sounds cheesy, right?  Well, you’re probably right, but it works as a tool to get me off campus, out of my house and interacting with real humans.  Plus, on the off-chance I have a conversation with someone about something not school/work/family related, I can name drop my current locals spot and pretend that I have a social life. . .like a real human.

[Image by Flicker user coowen and used under Creative Commons License]


3 Responses to Just Checking In. . .

  1. Katy Meyers says:

    Checking in is also a great way to get discounts. Some places have coupons or free drinks/treats if you check in a certain number of times.

    I also like checking in to places when I go back to my hometown. It’s one of the ways of keeping in touch with being home.

  2. Cory Owen says:

    Great point! I have a slew of coupons accumulated (free edamame!) from all my check-ins which is a pretty nice incentive to get out more often.

  3. Fayana Richards says:

    Interesting article! I always wondered what the point of check in websites. I am still unfamiliar with much of the area surrounding my university. I might try this before the snow hits.

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