Is anyone else out there a complete stationery addict? I get so excited at the thought of a new jotter, notebook or diary. Scott actually got me a diary as a anniversary present because he knows I love all things organisation!
I started off last year with a seperate A4 jotter for each of my three subjects plus a small jotter for tutorials plus a spare notebook, a diary and occasionally my laptop. As you can imagine, things got pretty heavy. Obviously note taking is going to depend on where you study and the style of teaching you have. For me, you attend a lecture, 99% of the time with a slideshow, and take down all the important notes you can while still listening to the lecturer. Not always easy! At Glasgow, most lecture slides or summaries are put online so if you feel you’ve missed something, that’s really handy. I tried a few different ways of taking notes. Here’s my feelings on each of them:
–Annotating slideshows on laptop: confusing and time consuming if you like everything clear, neat and tidy like I do. Also, I found I ended up annotating with things that weren’t even important. Afterall, that’s what the slideshow is for.
–Typing fresh notes: I tried this once or twice and it was just irritating and confusing me. Plus, I like having paper copies of everything, especially because when it comes to essay time, it’s handy to lay everything out while you type up your essay, it can get a bit tricky when flicking between Word and slideshows and the internet all at one.
–Writing notes in seperate books: not only is this a really heavy option but it’s easy to confuse the books your using and then notes end up all over the place. I also found I’d have some time to spare in between my timetable while I was on campus but couldn’t work on the essays or deadlines I needed to because I’d left the necessary notebooks at home.
–Writing on paper and filing: paper gets crumbled, ripped, lost… for me anyway, and I’m a pretty tidy person!
-Writing notes in one book: this is the option I liked best and will be using again this term. Having one A4 notebook with dividers means you always have your most important notes from every subject with you! Having small pads for writing deadline and project information or taking notes in group tutorials was also really handy.
Everyone finds a method that works for them so just try out a few different things and see. Although I didn’t like taking notes on my laptop in lectures, I found it handy having it with me for when the library was busy and there were no free computers or for when I fancied studying in a cafe rather than the main university study hubs (which can get busy and noisy and actually, not a great environment. Again, that depends on how you like to study, for me, I prefer something a bit more cafe cool and relaxed.)
You can obviously get pads and paper anywhere and it depends on what you’ve accumulated over school and summer what you’ll need to top up on. I love Paperchase! I love their designs and the fact they have such a variety of ranges and patterns. The picture at the top of this post are all Paperchase products that I have gathered up over the last little while. The A4 book containers 4 sections split up by dividers which makes it really easy to take notes on each subject. All of the smaller books are great for everyday because they are so lightweight. As the covers are thin card, they protect the pages but don’t weight a tonne to carry around. The paper quality at Paperchase is also always really good so I don’t need to worry about pages tearing out, ink going through pages and so on.
Although they are slightly pricier than supermarkets or more budget stationery stores, I think you do pay for better quality. They also do 10-15% student discount online and in store which goes a long way. Other stores I like are WHSmith but as they stock such a variety of products, it’s good to go in store to really know what quality and so on your getting. Supermarkets can be good for bargains too especially at this time of year when it’s back to school/college/uni they are focusing on.
Hope these tips have been helpful. It’s all trial and error and you’ve just got to find a system that works for you, keeping things organised and yourself prepared.