Notes are powerful. It might be hard to take notes when the teacher is speaking at a thousand words a minute, but the reality is that these notes can be used forever. Yes, forever — we said it first. Notes are powerful because it’s your thoughts, in your own words, about the subjects that really matter to you. When you take notes, you’re deciphering big information and changing it into smaller chunks. That’s something that will serve you for the rest of your life. If you thought college was hard, you’re in for a real treat. You see, real life is just as hard. There are a lot of things that you’re going to have on your plate. There are going to be challenges that really throw you for a loop. You’re going to have moments where you sit, stunned and unsure. You’re going to have other battles that mean that you’re going to need to figure out exactly what you want to do, how you want to do it, and where you want to go with the information that you have.
Now is the perfect time to look at note taking as something powerful, not just another chore on your plate.
When you start taking notes, it’s very important that you have a good storage and filing system. Take all of your notes for a certain subject in one notebook. Make sure that if you switch to a new class, you get a new notebook. Don’t cry about the price of notebooks, students — they’re cheap and they’re useful. Get the ones with the holes punched in the side so that you can add them to a binder when you fill in all of the pages.
A good pen that writs well is truly worth its weight in gold. As a former student, I look back on all of the times where I used bad pens, not even thinking about how it would look. A great pen costs a little more, but it really does serve you a lot better than you might imagine.
Don’t forget that you want to be able to compare notes with other people. Try to keep your writing as neat as possible. If you are someone with notoriously bad handwriting, consider typing your notes up before you let a friend have them. They’ll appreciate the gesture and make sure that they can actually do something nice for you in return.
Are you looking at more about storing your notes? If you already type them up, you can feed your notes into something like Evernote. It’s a program that keeps track of everything you store in it via tags and notebooks. So you can type in “science” to pull up all of your science notes. Of course, you can get even deeper with the tags, having one for each subject within the science course. Some people will do this, but others will find it a waste of time. Don’t worry if you’re not there yet.
Making the most out of college is very important. It is still a high privilege to be able to attend a place of higher education. Let’s not forget the millions of people that will never attend school. Not because they don’t want to, but they’re not able to do so. You have caretakers that are busy taking care of everyone but themselves. When are they going to be able to attend school? You also have people that are too sick to go to school. What about rights for them?
Let’s count our blessings, and take all the notes. Who’s with me?