its called chaotic academia, and im actually ceo of the company
// real talk: i am beginning my prep again and want to get back into my actual studyblr groove. my set up is far from tidy, but it is my own 🦇. also, help me name my skelefish— im taking all suggestions!
(my sweet as hell gender non conforming vampire stickers are from the pagalini on etsy!!)
this morning i propagated my string of hearts plant in a cute little bottle so i’m excited to see if this actually works! i spent more time on my dissertation proposal, so hopefully i can get it all finished tomorrow and sent off! then a lovely bath bomb this evening🌿
I’ve been doing a lot of anatomy and physiology related stuff lately, just out of interest, and I’ve been really enjoying it. Much more than I enjoyed studying a lot of things I did in high school. Proves that loving something can be a huge motivating factor.
Ahoy there! I’m back with another study post °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°
So if you aren’t aware already, me as well as various other study bloggers are notorious for writing aesthetically pleasing handwritten notes. Notes aren’t absolutely necessary if you prefer to do without. A lot of my friends and acquaintances don’t bother with them and prefer to rely entirely on the lecture materials provided. I find that it helps me indefinitely in my studies and as a brief creative outlet which I rarely give myself the time for.
Why take Notes?
Instead of printing the lecture materials given digitally, I’ve taken it to re-write the lecture notes a few days prior to the lecture. Some lecturers insist their students read the material to get a grasp of the topic before the lecture and this is taking it a few steps further. They say writing something down is equivalent to reading it 7 times, meaning getting into memory this way is so much more efficient which is one of the biggest reasons I insisted myself handwrite my notes. Also writing your own notes is totally customisable to your needs, do you prefer mind maps or lists? Infographics or paragraphs? Minimalistic or colourful? It’s all up to you.
Why I personally take notes
Different plants have different needs. Some need to be watered daily, some twice a day and some every other day. Some thrive in nutrient-rich soil and some prefer to sit in dry sand. Just like plants, each individual student has different needs and circumstances to thrive. For me, since I have a relatively low attention span and am a relatively slow learner, I needed the head start of reading topics beforehand to catch on with the rest. To me, with proper preparation for lectures, attending the lecture is like filling in the missing puzzle pieces. At least it should be. Also, I’m more of a visual learner, so if you’re like me, then well structured, colourful and easy to read notes are not only more appealing but really help me in my studies and help me grasp topics a lot faster.
Probably the part where everyone is pumped for but I’ll to simplify as well as be in-depth as possible.
Basically, you need paper and a pen. Need some colours? get some highlighters or coloured pens. Some people usually go one or the other but you can benefit from using both systematically.
What I look for in my preferred paper:
Thicker paper (120gsm) because I use markers and pens that bleed through anything less and I like my paper sturdy because I heavily reference my notes and I don’t want them to get worn out as quickly (i want to actually try to use thinner paper and be gentler but not sure how much I can commit to it o(╥﹏╥)o).
Smoother paper is good if you use felt tips so they don’t get damaged that quickly.
Line spacing. Its a waste of space and paper if you have small handwriting but largely spaced outlines. Not easy to find though.
Line colour. I prefer lighter lines such as light grey if possible, it just looks tidier that my writing contrasts more than with jet black lines.
Recycled or sustainably made paper. Because environment. Trees happy. Duh.
At the moment I’m a fan of loose-leaf paper because I’m not a fan of wasting notebook paper at the back (plus its even harder to get the paper features I want in notebooks unless I’m lucky) but if I were to succumb to using notebooks, I would definitely prefer thread-bound or hand-sewn over spring bound just because I think metal springs are annoying and if they’re plastic, they aren’t recyclable. You know me.
In conclusion, it’s hard to find test pad with all of these features, you can consider printing your own notepaper if you’re as picky as I am but you do you. If you can only afford flimsy see-through paper, that’s alright. But make sure your supplies are appropriate for them as most of the supplies I use will bleed even on regular paper
Don’t bother going all out and using fine liners or drawing pens to write notes. Get practical. Pick your poison. Smooth gel pens or dry ballpoint? Ergonomic or Budget-friendly? Disposable or refillable? My only guideline is to make sure they have waterproof ink because in any case, you need to send in an assignment last minute and have to rush through the rain without a folder you definitely want your writing to be at least legible if anything. (yes I learned this the hard way, yes illegible work will cost you a lot of marks. don’t make my mistake ｡：ﾟ(｡ﾉω＼｡)ﾟ･｡
Also. Black or Blue? Studies show that writing in blue improves memory collection but black is the more neutral aesthetic. What do I do? I use black as my main colour and write keywords and important facts in blue to take advantage of its memory-enhancing properties.
My current preference: Zebra Sarasa Clip (because its made of 75% recycled plastic and is a good quality pen) with Pentel Energel refill (gel ink that dries quickly. that’s all I need)
Budget-Friendly: There are good quality pen sets at the ECO shop (Malaysian dollar store) or buy disposable pens in bulk at any book store. Trust me, it saves a lot more than buying a brand new 80 cent pen every now and again. (Also including the cost of transportation to the store because when you live independently, every cent matters) It’s not exactly environmentally friendly but hey, anything to cut the cost right?
Zero Waste option: Fountain Pen with a converter (not the cartridges) and glass bottles of ink refill. Yes, it sounds daunting but its zero waste if that’s your cup of tea. You don’t have to go all out and buy an expensive luxury fountain pen made of stainless steel, or go fancy and get a flexible nib. If you ask me, I have my eyes set on the pilot kakuno fountain pen, its simple, aesthetic and highly recommended for beginners (although not plastic-free its made out of 85% recycled plastic which is cool since I’m hoping to make a one time purchase, I won’t mind it being made from plastic but that just my taste)
So I haven’t been a fan of using coloured pens for a while but ill tell you I’m currently using a cheap set of coloured gel pens from Kaison just because they have cute patterns but the ink flow isn’t that smooth so I should’ve bought something more practical. The ultimate budget-friendly option which is not only cheap but long-lasting and good quality, and ones that I’d recommend for anyone is the Papermate Kilometrico ballpoint coloured pens. So far I only know they come in five colours but they’ve been my favourite for years. Most people I know that disagree with me usually don’t like the colour range or arent a fan of dry ink but if you aren’t that picky and looking for a reliable option they’re a good option, plus if you’re using cheap paper, they won’t bleed or anything so that’s cool.
I love pastel highlighters. Its soft, cute, aesthetically pleasing to the eyes and some colours are better at actually highlighting words rather than their neon counterparts like green and purple. Although not the cheapest option, I doubt ill ever go back to neon highlighters ever and ill only be recommending pastel highlighters thanks.
My current preference: I’m currently using Monami Pastel Highlighters just because they were on sale with comparable prices to unbranded cheap pastel highlighters. I will never recommend commonly branded highlighters like Stabilo Boss or Zebra Mildliners because the extra pennies just aren’t worth it since the unbranded kind has lived up to my standards. (also I haven’t tried those branded highlighters mind you but I doubt I’m missing out on anything)
Budget-Friendly option: While Zebra Mildliners are being sold at RM5 for one and RM25 for a set, Mr DIY sells knockoff brand “BEIFA” for RM7 for a set of six which is a pretty good deal if you ask me (also there are double-sided ones with a bullet and chisel tips if you thought mildliners were the only option with those features). I’ve also found some rare gems, unbranded pastel highlighters hidden in common bookstores for an even cheaper price, but they’re really hard to find unless the pastel highlighter trend decides to catch on. I digress.
Zero Waste option: I heard about highlighter pencils, just wooden pencils with neon colour pigments, but why get trendy when you can use any old wooden colouring pencils lying around? I don’t think ill give up plastic highlighters for wooden pencils despite being a strong environmentalism advocate but there are a few options for highlighters made from recycled plastic but they either don’t come in pastel colours or too pricey for my taste (yes I’m a cheapskate for crud sake)
These other things aren’t exactly necessary but they add little flourishes and/or aid you in your note-taking. Not exactly an extra investment but its completely up to you
Sticky notes (or coloured memo pads) for extra notes, diagrams or equations which I like for them to stand out a bit. (Pastel over neon of course)
Washi tape to divide subchapters (but a highlighter streak does the job)
Correction tape because never will I ever use correction fluid mind you
Brush pens for headers (completely unnecessary but I don’t have any other outlet to practice brush lettering so.) Recommendations: Artline Stix (chunky but super cheap, marker type not for thin paper), Pentel Fude Touch (great for beginners, small and practical, 83% recycled plastic, but will bleed on regular paper)
Alternatively, a regular black felt tip marker just to make the title stand out is good enough.
NOTE TAKING TECHNIQUES
An underrated note-taking method is the Cornell method which is frankly a systematic way to write notes in which you divide the paper into 4 sections, a place for title and date and stuff, the main body for notes, extended side margin for extra info/lecture comments/questions/subtitles and bottom quarter reserved for a summary of the notes. Some people modify this technique by omitting the summary section, depending on your needs.
Bullet points and indents. This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s pretty much notes that aren’t chunky paragraphs. Easier to read, easier to register information, easier to skim through. You get the gist of it.
Highlighting system. Some people go all out with their highlighting system and designate colours to certain things such as green for vocab, orange for equations, blue for subtopics. etc. You can try this out if you want, but for me, the plethora of colour is quite distracting and not that aesthetically pleasing, but you do you.
BREAKING DOWN MY METHOD OF NOTE TAKING
My priorities to note-taking are: Easy to read, simple, decluttered and visually pleasing. For colours, I mainly use up to 4. Black pen for the main information, blue pen for keywords (or any coloured pen that matches the highlighter), one or two highlighters as a colour theme and matching sticky notes for extra info, diagrams or equations.
I assign a whole chapter to a specific colour theme, first assigning a certain highlighter colour to the first six chapters, if there are more than six chapters, I use 2 accent colours just to shake it up a bit. This makes it easier to differentiate the chapters when flipping through your notes.
So its, hand-lettered title (i do my lettering quite quickly, mind you) or all caps title in black marker. Mini banner doodle for subtitles (a simple box with a drop shadow works just fine), contrasting coloured keywords (or underlined) and highlighters just for accents like dividing subtitles or drawing boxes for extra info (that or sticky notes). I don’t simplify my lecture notes, rather rewriting them in a more orderly manner and leaving a good amount of extra space here and there (or an extended margin if I use Cornell) for extra lecture notes. Also, I highlight whatever notes that my lecturer would point out as important or worth remembering. And that’s pretty much it. After the lecture, I then know which parts of the notes were more vital and can then simplify those key points into flashcards which ill discuss in a different post.
Thanks for reading, I know my posts are pretty long but that’s the way I like them, long but in depth. As usual, if you would like me to cover any specific topics, feel free to message me or give feedback. I hope to be able to write 2 or 3 articles a month if I can but until then, have a nice day. Study smart peeps.
I took a break in reading novels for now. Just few hours or days I’m not really sure, but I started to write a lot. It keeps me busy, it’s healthy for my mental health and I could practice my handwriting.
Now, I’m just torn at this black journal I have. I restored it so it would look kinda fresh to use, but I don’t really know what, where to use it for? I have a different journal for my readings, a commonplace notebook, a diary, and an art journal. I guess I should just shelve it? What do you think?
This week, I shall wait for my copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. A cute edition I saw in an online shop and I’m really excited because it’s second hand, we adore second handed books here.
5.26.20 what’s up everyone! kinda high off the euphoria of receiving so much love from the milestone, it’s just so wonderful to see everyone reply with their support and im so lucky to have everyone here. here’s a bujo spread from last week
Mon - What is your native language?
Tue - Do you speak any other languages? Are you currently learning any?
I was learning Korean, but I’ve been distracted with school and apps and I haven’t found the time recently. the duolingo owl is plotting my untimely death as we speak