note taking

Hacks to Help You Survive College

Ahhh college. The best four years of your life. You make new friends, educate your future, live on your own, struggle with classes, and feel like ripping your hair out every once in a while. Okay…maybe it isn’t the best four years of life for everyone, BUT there’s certainly ways to make life a little easier! Check out our 20 college hacks and watch your life be forever changed!

 

1. Smelly dorms

Stick a dryer sheet on the back of a fan while it’s on. This gets rid of bad smells in your dorm!

 

2.  Get wrinkles out of shirts

For those who don’t have time to iron their clothes, hang a shirt somewhere in your bathroom while you shower. The steam from the shower gets the wrinkles out.

 

3. Binder Clips

Sticking binder clips to you desk helps keep your cords organized and prevents them from tangling up.

 

4. Cleaning your keyboard

Use a Post-It note to clean your keyboard. The sticky side of the note collects all the gunk that was stuck underneath!

 

5. Class schedule

During your first few weeks of class, screenshotting your schedule and making it your lock screen helps you memorize it. You’ll never forget your schedule again!

 

6. Note organization

Leave a few pages in the front of your notebook blank for a table of contents. This way you’ll know where everything is when it comes time for the big test!

 

7.  Late night homework

If you’re up late doing homework, listen to movie scores. There’s no distracting lyrics and it keeps you motivated!

 

8.  Syllabus week

At the beginning of each semester, highlight important dates and put them into your calendar for the best class preparation.

 

9. Writing Papers

After writing a paper, copy and paste it into Google Translate. This allows you to check for any misspells or grammatical errors!

 

10. Color code your notes

Color coding notes with pens is a great way to stay organized. The correlation between the colors and theme makes it easier to remember. Just make sure you don’t use too many colors on a subject. This could lead to you being overwhelmed!

 

11. Textbook reading motivation

We’ve all been through the struggle of reading the textbook and attempting to retain its information. A good incentive to stay on track is to put pieces of candy on each paragraph of the assigned reading. Every time you reach a paragraph, you get to eat the candy. How’s that for motivation?

 

12. Gum Hack

Studies have shown that chewing a piece of gum while studying for exams and then chewing the same flavor during the test helps you recall the material better.

 

13. Makeshift utensils

Have you ever forgotten to bring a fork with your packed lunch? No problem! Just bend some paper clips, tape them together to a writing utensil, and you’ll be good to go!

 

14.  Cooking in a coffee pot

You can save time cooking simple foods such as pasta, hot dogs, and oatmeal in a coffee pot. Just add water and you’re good to go!

 

15. Use a Keurig for your instant ramen

Keurigs can have more than one use. Try using it to get a hot cup of instant ramen noodles!

 

16. Instant Iced Coffee

For those of you who are in a rush to get to class but need your coffee fix, there’s a way to get it in just two minutes! All you need is instant coffee, water, ice, and creamer! View how to do it here.

 

17. Fruit juice ice cubes

Fill up an ice tray with your favorite fruit juices and freeze them for 3-4 hours. Add the cubes and a slice of fruit to some seltzer water and you’ll have a nice refreshing drink!

 

18. Scrambled eggs in a mug

You don’t need a stove to get your morning eggs! If  you have a microwave, you’re all set! View how to make them here.

 

19. Get a bottled drink cold in 15 minutes

Wrap your bottled drink in a damp paper towel and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Your drink will be nice and cold!

 

20. Bottle opening tricks

There are many tricks to opening a bottle when no bottle opener is around. Try out these 9 tricks!

 

What’s Your Strategy Towards Note Taking in a College Classroom?

There are multiple ways in which college students pay attention in class, there are also different ways in which college students take notes. Some students simply have a photographic memory (which is unfair) and do not even have to take notes. Then there are students like myself who need to write everything they hear down so that they can go back and study. What kind of note taker are you?

–        Read and Revise Given Notes

Some professors give out printed notes to students. They may even attach notes in emails, or through websites given through the school. I was given this opportunity during the fall semester, and I first thought it was great. I didn’t have to write a single thing down, and I figured I can just go back to the dorm, revise the information, and I’ll be fine. That wasn’t the case. I feel that it is much harder to retain the information when the notes are done for you. Many other students love this strategy though. It’s a lot more organized and all that’s needed is a little review.

–        Notes Through Electronic Device i.e. iPad, Laptop

Taking notes through your laptop is a great idea. Or is it? Many of my professors actually do not allow any electronic devices in class, which to me, does not make sense but you have to abide by the rules. But does taking notes on your electronic device help you more, or less? I feel there are pros and cons of this tactic. The pros are that your notes will be absolutely organized. For me, my note taking tends to be very messy so taking notes on my computer is a great thing. You are also less prone to missing notes considering typing is a lot faster than most people’s handwriting. The cons are things such as Facebook and Twitter, which students tend to lean on more when an electronic device is around, rather than taking notes.

–        Notebook and Pen

Then there is the traditional note taking strategy in which you listen to your professor and write it down. This, I believe is the best way to go about taking notes. I feel as if you can customize however you want these notes to be. You can write whatever you like to get it through your head, and on top of that I believe that it is known fact when you write things down they stick in your head more. Of course when you are using an electronic device you are technically writing it down as well, but I don’t think it has the same impact as when you put pen to paper.

A Note Taking Upgrade for Macs

Having a powerful note-taking device at your fingertips can save a lot of time and angst.  Microsoft’s OneNote is a great option for Windows users, but most Mac users on my campus were using some variation of Microsoft Word, a solution I found unsatisfying.  In case you are unfamiliar with it, I’m talking about the “Notes” format in Word, which looks like this:

note-taking-one-note

As the semester wore on, the doc got clunky, taking a long time to load and save and I found myself still juggling multiple docs between classes.  A much better alternative is Growly Notes, a powerful application that gives an incredible amount of freedom when taking notes.  Unlike Word, which confines the user to strict formatting, Growly is the equivalent of a white board.  Notes can be as structured or as scattered as you want, which is really convenient if you’re writing an essay and get inspiration for a different part than you’re writing.  Just jot it down in a text block to the side instead of having a hanging thread at the bottom of a doc, or worse, in a separate “notes” doc altogether.

Every class can have its own color, and different stages of drafts can each have their own “page” under a single heading.  My favorite feature of Growly (aside from the fact that its free) is that it has a “floating window” feature that snaps to the front of whatever application you’re currently using (for me, usually a web browser).  Say you’re studying for a final and find helpful notes on–line, you can copy and paste notes onto the floating window rather than going from browser to doc, doc to browser.  It saves a ton of time and frustration.  The floating notes are automatically saved under a separate tab.  If you are still using Word, this app is a huge upgrade and well worth the time to learn to navigate, though you will mostly find its use intuitive.

note-taking-growly

 Happy note taking! Any comments? Leave them below.