Academia, Graduate School
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Life update number 2: A month into grad school, and a few important takeaways


Hi! Here I am, writing this post whilst sick. No worries, I’m feeling slightly better, but not yet in perfect working condition. So, I have taken the time to write this little update.

And tonight, whilst writing this entry, I realised that it’s been a month since I started graduate school. To use a cliche–time really does fly. And with that realisation, there are other things I have learned, too.

  1. Getting a good night’s sleep is good, but so is taking Vitamin C and not exposing one’s self to the elements. I was too lazy to use my umbrella on a drizzly afternoon; a few days later, I am down with a flu, so I had to take medications. This made me quite muddled and I messed up on my weekly reading reports. Oops.
  2. Getting your shit organised is a good habit to have. Not only your readings would be easy to find, it will come in handy when you have exams (midterm, final, or comprehensive). I keep my readings in binders. There are also tabs/markers which indicate their categories. For one of my subjects, I used this colour code system: yellow for required readings, blue for report preparation materials, violet for class lecture notes, and red for self-prepared notes.
  3. Never skip a meal. Enough said. Okay, just kidding. Think of food as fuel. I keep biscuits in a jar on my desk. Sometimes, it’s not just biscuits, sometimes, it’s walnuts, or candy-coated sunflower seeds. But I also make sure I eat a full meal. I also make my own dinners as well as lunches. It’s a bit of hassle, but that way, I am sure that I don’t get hungry in class.
  4. Don’t rely on the Power Point slides. I make my own notes based on the Power Point presentations of my classmates. For some reason, I tend to process some information differently, hence I make and organise my notes into outlines. Here is a sample of the outlines I made from the slide presentations given by my classmates.
  5.  Prettifying your notes is a huge time-waster. I am anticipating the huge amount of hate I will be getting from the study blogging/studyblr community–but, been there, done that. I’ve tried the whole point of aesthetics of [pretty-] note taking. While I succeeded in making my notes functional as well, making it pretty takes up a lot of time, and it didn’t serve me as well as I had hoped. Making illustrations and whatnot is well and good, but unless you’re in high school and your teacher checks your notes, you’re better off making your notes simple and functional. These days, I’m following Eve Cornwell’s system of making lecture notes. The same goes for notes that I made myself. Not only does it cut out most of the unimportant information, it’s concise, and organised–exactly how I want it. I don’t need the fancy bells and whistles.
  6. Don’t highlight aimlessly. Choose the information you think are key. In law school, I made a colour code system for highlighting: blue for definitions, yellow for headings, green and pink for key points, and secondary key points, respectively. For information that is being  enumerated, I use peach. For examples, I use purple/lavender. I use the pastel hues of Stabilo’s highlighters so the colours don’t hurt my eyes unnecessarily. I still use this colour coding system.

And this is my little update! Hope you will find something that can help you study–whether you are in high school, or college, law school, or grad school.

Till the next update! 🙂

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