Back to college – senior tips on how to prepare for the semester

I know I am probably the only student who’s looking forward to fall at the beginning of August, but I am already pretty excited about school starting again – mostly not even because of the classes, but the stationary shopping haul before and all the preparation. “Sadly” I have most of the things I need for the next semester already, so won’t have to do much shopping, but I hope that as I senior, I can give a few useful tips and advice for all the freshmen out there ready to start college this fall!

Back-to-collegeWhen I started my first year at university, I expected it to be like high school with all the different subjects, so I bought many notebooks – that I ended not even using. Soon I also found out that university professors can talk much faster and can stuff so much information in one lecture that it becomes impossible to take notes by hand if you don’t want to miss important details. So I started taking my laptop with me, but that made my bag pretty heavy (since I don’t have one of those feather light computers), so later I decided to take my tablet with a bluetooth keyboard instead. Luckily nowadays we have so many gadgets to chose from!

P1070043aThat helped a lot with note taking, I finally felt I can keep up with the lectures! Though there were still classes where I took handwritten notes – it’s easier to memorize the content for sure. Anyways, my main point is, that you have to figure at at the first few classes, what note taking method is the best for each class and try to keep up accordingly. Everybody has their favourite way, but I like chose depending on the class. (In case it’s your first semester, try talking to sophomores and seniors and ask them about the professors and classes – Markmyprofessor can also help a lot to get an idea about the course and teacher you signed up for! It will be easier to guess which method might be the best already before your first class.)

By the end of the year my binder gets super thick and heavy with all the handouts and readings, so at the last month I usually just use a separate smaller binder when going to class and I only take what I will actually need that day
By the end of the year my binder gets super thick and heavy with all the handouts and readings, so at the last month I usually just use a separate smaller binder when going to class and I only take what I will actually need that day

Last year when it came to handwritten notes, I just took sheets of paper and then later put the in a binder. Thus I could keep all the subjects together, separated by dividers I made and printed for myself in photoshop and which I marked with (also home made) tabs. First of all, it’s much cheaper to create your own. Secondly, I couldn’t find any that I liked, so I figured I should just make mine, so it will be exactly the way I want.

If anybody is intereted in the editable .psd file of the divider, just tell me and I'll send it to you in an e-mail :)
If anybody is intereted in the editable .psd file of the divider, just tell me and I’ll send it to you in an e-mail 🙂

I will have a new binder for the semester, to collect all the handouts and readings, but since I will only have about six classes (not 11-12 like before) and at some I don’t really have to take notes, I decided to buy one notebook for all the subjects. It’s A4 format, divided into four different coloured parts and it’s the kind that has pages you can put in a binder later. This just seemed to be the best option for now.

But actually what I am the most excited about are all the other stationary supplies every student needs for studying. Most importantly:

  • Planner – no idea how I could keep my life organized without one. However, I could talk about planners for so long that I think I’ll just write a separate blog post about it!
  • My favourite pen – everybody has one. For me it’s my Waterman and Parker fountain pens -my handwriting just seems so neat when I use those pens- and the Ultra-fine (0.38) uni-ball Signo pen!
  • Colourful pens for color-coding notes and planner entries!
  • A cute pencil case of course – I have a Korean ‘Omnibus’ case, champagne colour with dark chocolate brown polka dots on it (^ – ^)
  • HighlightersStabilo Neon is my absolute favourite!
  • Study cards – I got most of mine from Taiwan, but when I need a bigger size I just make my own using different coloured papers and independent rings I got at the creative store. They are incredibly useful when you have to memorize words or definitions and you are already learning the material when you’re writing them! Some people like to use apps, but I’m oldschool and like to stick with pen and paper 🙂
  • Cute paper clips – I have ones with different patterns, my favourite is probably the blue birdy one you can see on the picture above. Small details that make studying more fun!
  • Sticky notes and tabs – I use them almost as much as highlighters when studying for the exams, so having lots of different ones is a must! I like the smaller flags that I can use when I just wanna make a paragraph or page, but also need the bigger memos to write down thoughts and questions while reading a book or paper. I get the most excited about these and currently I’m lucky to have many cute ones – my cousin and friends brought them for me from Taiwan, my absolute statinary heaven.
Also found a pretty box to keep them organized - I had lots of trouble with them lying all over my desk last semester, so that's finally solved too!
Also found a pretty box to keep them organized – I had lots of trouble with them lying all over my desk last semester, so that’s finally solved too!

I think these are the most essential things that you have to think of before starting the semester at university, related to studying itself.

What are your study supply essentials?

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One thought on “Back to college – senior tips on how to prepare for the semester

  1. I’m going to be a senior in high school, so I’ll definitely use some of these tips! I normally take my notes on a laptop since I type much more quickly, but I love notebooks and sticky notes too! 😀

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