Struggling to manage university? We offer 5 top tips on how to make the most of technology and the internet to make learning easier.
I finished up my time at university last year. Watching new students enter and old students ready to tackle the working world is an oddly transient experience. One of the key takeaways I left with – beyond what I learned within my studies – is that the expectation to manage university life is a demanding one.
Thankfully, we live in an era unlike any other, where not only the means to learn or acquire knowledge is easier than ever before, but the tools to manage our time and effectiveness while doing so are greater than any generation of students has ever had.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 5 quick tips on how to effectively manage university using everyday technology; whether it be using the cloud or digital note taking to empower your university experience.
Listen up, take notes
Taking notes is the bane of the university experience. If you‘re anything like me, you probably struggle to read your own handwriting, which makes learning from lectures abundantly more difficult.
If that’s so, I found an effective way to quickly take notes – and store them without worry – is to type up them up. Not everyone has immediate access to a laptop or tablet, but thankfully there are a series of apps available for even the most basic smartphones to help you jot down what you’re learning. My particular favourite is Evernote.
Evernote is note-taking in it‘s simplest form, and it was a core part of managing both my private life and study notes. A desktop, Android, iOS, and even Blackberry app, Evernote allows users to create simple, minimally formatted notes which are easy to manage. Evernote allows users to manage notebooks – I used one digital notebook per year. Within those notebooks, I can create notes, tag them according to my classes ““ such as “œMedia Studies“ – manage at what time and where they were taken, as well as set reminders about any tasks I‘ve been given. On occasion, I even used Evernote to record entire lectures when I wanted to study them in further detail later.
The best feature Evernote brings is it‘s ability to sync between devices. I would use my iPad to take note in lectures, and upon arriving home, all I’d need to do is open Evernote on my desktop to find all my recent lecture notes sitting pretty on my desktop, without having to have pressed a button. From here, I can review them, print, or listen to a lecture recording I‘ve taken.
Much better than sifting through paperwork and exam pads, right?
Another problem university students hit sooner or later is the quandary of how exactly to organise the multitude of documents we‘re about to create or receive. While using Evernote can largely solve this problem, managing essays, tutorials or resources can be a labour of love. During my time at university, I’ve seen some of my peers resort to either general files, or a colloquial mess of notes on the floor.
During my time at university, I made use of Doo, a document app that is iTunes for your paperwork. Using Doo allows Windows, Mac, iOS and Android users to organise and sync their documents between their devices. Doo presents a beautiful view of all your recent work, and enables you to organise your content with an easy-to-work-with display.
Set a reminder and stick to it
If I didn’t set any reminders, I wouldn’t get any work done. One low-tech way of doing this is to jot down reminders on your hand, but that hardly impresses the guy or girl you want to take out to dinner later.
Instead, why not make use of Wunderlist? The reminders app – now officially acquired by Microsoft – is available on nearly every major platform and works a charm for scheduling reminders and syncing them across your devices.
When receiving a task or an assignment, I would set a reminder at least 24 hours before I feel I need to start writing it. That way, I can leave it uncleared and let it bother me until the point I can actually conquer the procrastination twilight zone.
Mark the date
Real-life calendars can all too easily get lost or end up with a beautiful coffee stain adorned atop them. Thankfully, we live in an age where Google, Apple, Microsoft and many more services provide some wonderful calendaring options.
During my studies, I used Google Calendar to display my lecture times and other appointments, and would always set reminders to display about an hour before hand. This way, I knew what was happening in my schedule without the explicit need to look at a calendar and plot and plan.
Using Google or Microsoft as your client has its perks, as nearly all devices now support either calendar service. Manage university directly from your fingertips!
Get your head in the cloud
As a victim of triple hard drive failure, there’s nothing as terrifying as loosing all your data. Seeing as we live on the 21st century, what’s the point in modern times of relying on a disk drive to keep your files save? Get an American megacorp to do it for you.
While Apple users can make use of a 5GB iCloud storage facility and Google offers up to 10GB on Google Drive, I’ve always made use of OneDrive. If you happen to have an Office 365 account (and, since you’re at university, you probably have an enterprise account) you’re entitled to 1TB of free online storage.
I use OneDrive to not only manage university, but life in general: I sync all my media, documents and effects across all my accounts on an almost hourly basis; there simply isn’t a better means of making sure your work is safe than by putting it in the Cloud.
Do you have any top tips to manage university, electronically? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
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