We’re in the middle of finals right now. First year finals were rough, but maybe because some of it was still review from undergrad, it still went great for me. I always pictured things would get easier, but alas, I was wrong. A wise upper year student once told me, “It doesn’t get easier, we just get more and more used to things.” I must say, after finishing half of my second year, I couldn’t agree more. Part of it is really getting into a routine that works, and finding ways to be more efficient.
So here are a few tips that help me succeed to the best of my ability–or at least make my student life at ICO a little easier.
Disclaimer: The following things have been helpful for me personally, but effects may vary from person to person.
1. Invest in stationery and writing utensils
You are going to be writing a lot. Believe me, I used to type up notes, but that just isn’t fast enough, and with the paper slides that gets printed out and put in your mailbox, I would say the majority of students here handwrite notes on the slides as the professors give lectures. Good stationary could perhaps make studying notes more fun to read. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Ebay, Amazon, and even certain stationary stores sometimes have things on sale (like stacks of lined paper for just a penny, or 10 white-outs for $10).
Staedtler Fineliner marker-pens for flow charts and simple diagrams
I’ve had my eyes on these for about two years during undergrad before I finally decided to buy them. They were a bit more pricey back then, but I can honestly say I’ll probably keep buying them as they run out. They don’t bleed through the page, they are ultra-fine, colors are bright, and every stroke comes out sharp and crisp for those times when I really need to outline something. I actually prefer these over highlighters sometimes, just because they don’t even dry out if you forget to put the cap back on.
They even have a stand case to make picking colors and taking the pens out a lot easier.
Fineliner diagrams and flow charts
Twistable crayons to replace highlighters
I really wish I tried these out when I was studying for anatomy last year, since I spent so much money on coloring anatomy pictures with highlighters. I would recommend buying these in the brighter color sets and use them as highlighting tools instead. Again, they don’t bleed, they don’t dry out! Better yet, if you need to sketch images for ocular disease class, or any other class that’s heavily visual, they work great. The only down side is that you can’t sharpen these, so it’s hard to do any fine outlines of anything. However, if you’re quickly jotting down notes in class, you’re probably not going to have time to sharpen anything.
Here’s a comparison between what my notes used to look like, and what my notes look like with these awesome crayons:
Before: bland notes with dried-up highlighters
After: many colors to choose from in order to easily color code notes and draw pictures, and no more drying out or bleeding