NB: This pic was taken a year ago. I haven’t been to the UP Diliman campus since the Enhanced Community Quarantine was announced in March. So yeah, I miss my university.
While I’m enrolled right now, attending classes on Zoom is a different ballgame. I know this feature picture is totally irrelevant to the current blog topic, but this university has given me a new lease on life, and it has given my confidence back. I do acknowledge that that newly regained confidence is only a small piece of the puzzle, having managed to survive graduate school–and to do well in the first semester–and it is all due to hard work.
But I would like to say it’s because I was also willing to try something new. And this is what this blog post is about.
I have friends who asked me how was I able to survive my first semester of graduate school, it was all down to five things: a goal to work towards, discipline, determination, working smart, and yes, a willingness to try something new. I wanted to make graduate school work. So I invested time in making sure it worked. How? Watching YouTube videos of studytubers. No, I’m not kidding. And I’m still doing it now.
But I know that a lot of readers would say: but you’re a graduate student and you’re in your thirties. Surely, you’ll know better. Uh, I wish!
Being smug and thinking that you know better impedes growth, and growth is what we’re after. Like I said, I wanted to make grad school work, so I am going to do whatever it takes. And to be honest, I’ve learned a lot from those college students more than I do from people who tell me how I should manage my time.
Also, learning is something one does every day. You don’t grow if you don’t allow yourself to learn something new.
What did I learn from these studytubers? How to write notes better. How to study smarter. How to make the most of my time. How to be more focused, and how to manage my time better. I am sometimes surprised to find that what these students are doing–so, I guess I am on the right track! 🙂 That aside, there are a lot of things I still need to learn.
YouTube wasn’t the only venue I used for learning. There are blog posts or websites that I’ve learned new things from. From prioritising tasks to getting things done even if you are suffering from mental health issues to fixing your resume in one hour, the Internet’s got it. What can I say? The Internet is a treasure trove.
- Eve Cornwell’s How to Make First Class Lecture Notes. This was the video that ultimately made my grad school journey a dream. Forget aesthetics, forget pretty notes! Functional notes are way better. I don’t want to be dismissive about pretty note-taking, but having tried that before, I can now say it was a waste of my time. I focused more on making it look pretty and neat, and not how it can help me pass my exams. Eve’s video also helped me with how to study smarter. I learned how to read through my required readings first, and making a more concise outline form of the readings. I didn’t have to go back to the readings when midterm exams rolled around; I just studied my notes.
- Ruby Granger and her video on apps for productivity and studying helped me utilise the Forest app better. If you’re familiar with this app, Forest allows one to be productive and to focus. The gist of the app: you plant a tree, keep it growing whilst you focus. If you exit the Forest app, you can potentially kill your little tree. Plant a tree, and stay productive! 🙂
- Notion is an app that I have recently used (despite discovering it last year), having heard about it from so many YouTubers that I subscribe to, including Ruby Granger, Ali Abdaal, and Thomas Frank. You can do pretty much anything with this app: you can write your lecture notes, make to-do lists–practically anything under the sun. While it’s been only less than a month that I’ve used this app, but I love how flexible it is. I use this app in making class notes and lecture notes, as well as to-do lists for work and school.
- Holly Gabrielle shared her study technique in How I Ranked 1st in Cambridge. All of her techniques requires planning, organising, and a whole lot of work. I’m willing to give the index cards technique another go.
- Working or studying at home? Ashley of Best Dressed gave a fun and witty video on how to work or study at home (obvs). While not a studytuber, Ashley gave very useful advice. Remember: to get into the working mood, dress like you’re actually going to work or school.
- Looking for a new job? Or you’re a fresh grad looking for work? While it’s difficult during the pandemic, it’s still worth investing in an hour to fix your resume. Justine LT Chua provides useful, practical advice in starting…or revamping your resume. While I am not looking for a new job, it’s helped me revamp my resume should I look for a side gig.
- And finally, this Girlboss article by Linnea Johnson. Her practical advice on getting work done helped me through my work. As someone suffering from mental health issues (I’ve written about this more than once, but this is one of the posts where I’ve talked about it–and yes, it’s inspired by the Girlboss article I’ve just shared). I still do #2 to this day. Breaking down a task in smaller, doable chunks makes it feel less overwhelming.
These videos and articles have been such a massive help in my journey as a working student in graduate school. I hope that these videos and articles will help you as much as it did me. 🙂