New to Android - App recommendations? Mac synching?

I'll admit it. For a long time, I've been an Apple fanboy. I loved the minimalism and smoothness of iOS while laughing at pervious iterations of Android (Froyo and Gb), mainly for their sluggishness and lack of apps. Then ICS happened. Suddenly, my beloved iPhone and iPad combo seemed almost childish and lacked functionality. But nevertheless, I stayed loyal to Apple and hoped for a redesign in iOS 6.

After watching WWDC, I was startled to find out that Apple didn't really listen to their most hardcore fans who cried for a more customizable experience and other features that were not unveiled that day. I started to look more into ICS which seemed beautiful at the time, and after watching the Google IO, I fell in love with Jelly Bean, Google Now, and the down-right jaw dropping minimalism and overall feel for the OS. My previous reason for disparaging Android was that iOS "just works", but that can no longer be used against Android- ICS and JB "work" as well, and in many places, work better than iOS.

Long story short, after using an iPad and iPhone for many years, I simply got bored and grew tired of the infamous grid of icons. I want to delve into Android because I now realize its beauty. I ordered myself a Nexus 7 tablet and will most likely get the next Nexus phone in the Fall.

Since The Verge has a wonderful audience and Android community, I was wondering if I could get your help on two questions I have:

1. Which apps would you recommend to a previous iOS user? Besides the obvious like Dropbox, Facebook, instagram etc. I'm going to college next year if that helps. I will be double majoring in English and Political Science, so any apps to facilitate my undergrad years would be greatly appreciated.

2. I have a MacBook Air, and Mountain Lion has seamless synching with iOS, such as notification center, notes, calendar etc., and I love it. Is there a parallel with Android where I can get the same type of synergy?

Thanks to all who wish to help me! :-)