Notes are always a huge topic of interest in the studying community. We go on Pinterest and Tumblr and Instagram and see all these colorful, neat, goddess-like notes that people write, and we try to mimic that. If you are anything like me, and you have tried to write notes like these… You know it doesn’t end well.
And maybe that’s for the best.
Now, I love looking at those ravishing pages as much as anyone else, but over time, I’ve realized that that is just not me. I am a messy thinker. I know I am actually learning when my papers are scattered, when there are arrows pointing every which way, and when there are side-thoughts next to almost every bullet point. I write fast and furious, because that is how my brain works with my hand. I used to think this was terrible, that because my notes weren’t color-coordinated and lined up all perfect, I was without. And I made the mistake of trying to change my habits.
For two months, all of my notes were written in different colors and in pen. Not only did it take forever (I was spending an extra hour on each subject), but I was not seeing any improvement in what really matters: my understanding. Writing my vocab in pink and dates in purple did not help me remember them anymore than it had when I was writing in plain old pencil. I was also getting frustrated with how many little mistakes I was making in pen that I couldn’t erase. Overall, it was just a super stressful experience.
But it wasn’t all a loss. I was paying more attention to what I was writing, being more concise, and making the whole page a lot neater and easier to read for later. When I switched back to my pencil, I carried these habits with me. And so far, it has been beneficial to me. My memory is quicker, I’m retaining more info… It’s pretty great.
Now, let’s get this clear: I am NOT trying to say that those goddess notes are not good notes! Those are the notes we all aspire to, and I commend those who are able to make their thoughts look that beautiful and concise on paper. However, not everyone can do that, and you shouldn’t bash yourself for that! Your notes are for you to learn, not showcase! Write how you want to. Also, don’t do what I did and drown your notes in color. Write key words in color, or highlight them, but don’t write an entire page in neon green gel pen. It really does not help, believe me…
But seriously, guys. Try some new methods, get some new notebooks, and get started. Do what makes sense to you, because these notes are for you. If you are a beautiful note-taker… Hats off to y’all, you’re my daily inspiration. Keep doing you!
And for those of you like me, you rock too. Keep taking notes and learning and enjoying what you are writing down. That’s what really makes a winning notebook!