Since the mid-semester break happened so early in the semester, I can feel myself really losing track of all my notes and weekly readings. Of course, my main priority has been to get my assignments done but this has meant my other uni work has taken a backseat.
Uni work, be gone!
In the past, I have left my notes and readings until the end of week 12 when all assignments are finished. My rationale was that it will act as revision but this was a mistake. Instead of actually learning the content, all I did was make my notes look pretty.
Compiling your notes and doing your readings is something you should really being throughout the semester. However, this is easier said than done because doing it takes time, which is something a lot of us don’t have. So, here are a few tips on how to get your weekly tasks up to date:
DON’T REWRITE YOUR NOTES
Organising your notes is not the same as rewriting them. It has been scientifically proven that rewriting is useless. When I say ‘get your notes in order’, I don’t mean make sure you have beautiful highlighting colour co-ordination and perfectly spaced sub-headings. (highlighted notes meme)
When you highlight only the important parts
What you really need is the relevant information in one place with no overlaps. If you can understand what you’ve written, that’s all that counts!
BECOME FOLDER CRAZY
If you haven’t already done so, make sure all your lecture slides, tute notes and personal readings are in one big folder for each subject. Alternatively, you could use Microsoft OneNote that does all the organising for you! Using either of these methods will stop you having to search for your week 3 chemistry notes in between your summer holiday photos (which is not only frustrating but also upsetting!) You could also think about annotating the lecture slides themselves so you have less documents all over the place.
Think about writing your notes next to the lecture slides
SET A TIME TO GET UP TO DATE
Although note taking and article reading can be tiresome, it is not usually that challenging. You need time more than brainpower to make you’re notes go from a jumbled and repeated mess to an easily understood document. You should set a time where you know you will need a break in between those assignments to get your notes in order. You’re not going to catch up on everything in one go so it’s best to allocate a couple of small time slots for this. It takes some discipline but it will be better for you in the long run!
ACTUALLY GO TO YOUR CLASSES
You can say to yourself that you will watch that lecture online and focus on your assignment. However, you can reach a crisis point when you end up weeks behind and are clueless about the content you will need for the next assignment. Showing up to uni can be a drainer when you have three assignments looming over your head but you will feel more at ease come exam time.
AND ACTUALLY LISTEN IN THOSE CLASSES
Its one thing to go to your lecture/tut/workshop and other to listen in them. It can be tempting to just shop ASOS or scroll your newsfeed and only tune in when you hear the people around you typing because something important has been said. I have tried this and it doesn’t work. All you are doing is wasting your time because you inevitably have to learn the concepts from scratch again later.
If you are prone to getting distracted when taking notes on your laptop, try the SelfControl app, which blocks your access to your favourite websites for a set period of time.
Look at last weeks post ‘How to get the most out of studying’ where I talk about how to get your weekly readings done faster! SHE students have to read a lot of pretty dry journal articles, so getting those readings done and actually retaining that information can be a struggle without the proper methods!
REALISE THAT COFFEE IS YOUR FRIEND
Whether it’s a coffee, an energy drink or even a packet of your favourite lollies (sour straps are my weakness), these IN MODERATION may help you to get through an hour of readings.