Sunday, January 25, 2015

Index Card Note Taking

Hey there! So what's going on? Too much? Just have been busy busy busy. School is now in full swing and more things are going on at work - it's just getting more involved and more exciting. Is that strange to get excited about work???  I'm finally settling into somewhat of a routine and just trying to take things one step at a time without getting too overwhelmed.

Then other night though told a different story - Exhausted of course, I still had homework to do, so I sat on the floor, with all my books open and just became super overwhelmed. I was tired so I didn't want to be sitting there reading material and studying notes. Not even that, I was struggling with finding a way to study & take notes that worked for me because doing things the "traditional" way was not working. Nothing was sticking and I was getting more confused.



I don't like admitting this but I never really knew how to study/learn/motivate myself etc. I was talking with my sister the other day and this was one of our conversation topics. Growing up education/academics weren't made to be important. Our parents never pushed us, like some of our friends parents had, so we kind of just got by doing the minimum. She and I went through different, but similar struggles so it was a relief to know that I wasn't the only sibling that struggled with this. Eventually she found a way that worked for her and advised me to do the same.

I couldn't sleep that night because I was debating internally on how I was going to do it all, how crazy I am for taking on all this stuff at once, what I was thinking. I was thinking about dropping out completely, or changing my major to something that didn't feel so involved. My thinking continued all day,  but the end of the day I came to a rational decision. I decided that it's okay to get overwhelmed and that even though I am overwhelmed I am actually happier and feel more fulfilled than I have ever felt in a long time. I decided that it's going to be rough, but eventually it will end and it will all be worth it. With the "New Vanessa" theme going on, I did not want to repeat the cycle I had gone through previously.

I did decide though, that I needed to come up with a way of studying that worked for me so I didn't feel like I was spending my entire life attached to a textbook. And I got rid of the mindset that I NEEDED to get A's. As long as I try my best and put the effort in, I will be happy with any grade. If I get A's - GREAT! If I don't - that is okay too. As long as I learn something in the end.

I was staring at my notes at work and wondered why I didn't take class the same way I took notes at work.  At work my notes are all over the place. Seriously, no one would be able to understand them but me. It's a total mess - BUT it works.  I don't use the lines, I write all over the place, create bubbles and charts and have lots of arrows connecting one thing to the next. I even doodle.... I also have little sub notebooks/sticky notes for things I need to remember but in there they are written in more detail with arrows, bubbles and asterisk. And I remember. It's a system that works for me. I like disorganized organization if that makes sense. I'm a visual person and learner so I'm assuming that is why this crazy system works.

(This is nothing compared to my work notes)

Now my school work: everything is organized neatly in three ring binders I write neatly within the lines- there is no sign of disorganization, no circles, no scribbles and no arrows connecting one thought to the next. It doesn't work. I don't remember anything I get lost, and end up getting incredibly frustrated. So I decided to take the approach I use at work. And it seems to be working really well. I don't know why I never applied this to school but I'm sure it had to do just "trying to do the normal thing" or "what everyone else was doing"

Rather than using 3 ring binders I just am using a cheap spiral notebook to write vocabulary words and important information when I am skimming the text (I also learned I don't need to read the entire text. Just the chapter recap and  just read the sections or Google the things I need more explanation on). Then rather than sub notebooks I transfer all the "mess" onto index cards so I can study each topic or important subject.

So there it is. That's what I'm gonna do. :-) On to the next thing to learn. 

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