Hello, it’s #optomstudies here again with another Sunday Study Tip on university life! This will be a multi-part series that hopefully will give a unique insight, since I can go on and on about university, and I love giving advice and helping others :)
PART 2: GETTING TO CLASS
Know how to travel to and get around uni!Join tour groups during orientation week, and visit your classrooms before you start. Figure out what’s cheaper in terms of travel. See if you can live on campus possibly? I personally haven’t lived on campus.
The university campus itself is pretty large as well, but you come to like it because otherwise you don’t get enough exercise between sitting on the train, bus and in lectures ;)
Attendance: It’s optional. I try and attend as many classes as possible except when I’m inundated with homework/studying to do, but as I iterated in the previous part, I think it’s best to leave a whole day devoted to studying when making your timetable.
My advice is to do what you think will be more productive.
The reason is because some (really, a few) people actually get a lot done if they don’t feel drained by travelling 3-4 hours a day, and (most) others just bludge the whole day. Work out your studying habits the first semester in the early weeks.
I personally think skipping is okay and I don’t think of badly of anyone anymore for skipping, but the only thing is that I don’t recommend skipping to do something other than study/catch-up e.g. part-time job or otherwise.
I always end up regretting when I have a timetable that doesn’t have skippable days though, so make at least one day with lectures without attendance-taking only.
Most people are pretty lazy though so listening to yourself usually sucks. Go to class if you aren’t sure.
I do think that attendance has many advantages though, here are some more and less obvious ones:
Obvious ones - you can: ask questions, active participation, answer questions, first hand tips about exams from lecturer, get info on assignment deadlines.
You feel less tired and more alert, imo.
You don’t end up spending more than 50 minutes on the lecture (at home you can get distracted and rewind too much)
Lecturer gets to know you (may be useful in the future for references, or if you’re looking to do research with them, they want to know that you’re a dedicated student)
You get to meet people - the optometry cohort is pretty tight knit due to having to take the same courses, so you can actually get to know everyone in the cohort. Unfortunately I don’t really get to meet the ones that don’t go to class often :(
You avoid bad sound quality recordings and missed recordings :)
The travel time and the drain on energy
The tiny desks that don’t fit anything
Unable to pause and stretch during lecture
The uncomfortable chairs
Fast lecturers are hard to understand nah, it’s the same if you stay at home really.
It’s hard to stay awake during long lectures
Study on the way to uni! Seriously, there is a 1:k ratio for how much I study on the train and what marks I get that semester. Our brain works best in spurts of 50 minutes followed by a break of 20 minutes or so, which is perfect for my travelling. I am super focused the whole train trip, and leave the bus time for relaxing.
Be early to class. My goodness, I actually turned up like 20 minutes late to 9am lectures regularly back in 1st and 2nd year. Once I even turned up at 9:40 and only had 10 minutes worth of lecture left. I know there are some people who say, why even bother turning up if you’re going to do that *with scorn*, but seriously you can learn a lot in the last 10 minutes, so just go anyway and ignore those naysayers.
Now I always turn up to class 20 minutes early :D It’s a small but nice achievement. You feel much more refreshed, you don’t have to rush to unpack your stuff, you don’t have to sneak in quietly, it’s more polite to the lecturers, and you don’t get known for coming late to lectures (I was running for a society executive position once and someone took a shot at me saying that I turned up to class late and hence shouldn’t be voted for, etc. I still got a position though B)
Do your research before you purchase a laptop or any stationery. My friend just takes a paper pad, a pen and a calculator to class. I take my laptop and my lab books as well as usually two large pencil cases full of optometry equipment.
Depending on which faculty you’re with and what you prefer to work with (pen/laptop), there’s a lot of variables involved.
Here’s a few things I had to think about and had to balance: (seriously no one thinks about this or writes this down anywhere)
How fast can I note take? Paper vs. laptop
How fast do I need to note take - i.e. concepts based courses in arts where you can summarise ideas vs. exercises in maths, vs. science type courses in biology where it’s mostly information?
What kind of information do I need to take down - calculations vs. written sentences?
Screen needs to be large enough so that you do not need to sit super close to it, and so that you can see both lecture slides/textbook, and typing pane at the same time.
Screen needs to be small enough to fit your laptop in your bag
Screen needs to be small enough to fit on those tiny writing desks attached to the lecture theatre seats.
My laptop just half sits on some of these :(
You need space in your bag for lunch.
If you’re going to go with paper, I have some general recommendations:
Use paper leaf - bringing larger books to uni is cumbersome, and you may need to bring home additional worksheets.
Bring your basic stationery kit. For me that’s a blue+black pen, pencil, eraser, ruler and highlighter.
If you’re going to go with a laptop, general recommendations are:
Bring a charger for studying at uni.
Don’t consider price, but consider sturdiness and lifetime.
Choose one that has enough processing power. Too much lag is really frustrating when you get late to class and the lecturer is already making important points. Get a SSD if possible/if rich because the short startup time makes you happy :D
Battery size - this is a must consider. My laptop has such a terrible battery life and I cannot stay at uni long without bringing my charger. You need at least 4-5 real hours of typing on a word doc with wifi ON even if you don’t stay back at uni to study.
Get a sturdy backpack, one that has two straps. Yeah sure you can get a fancy leather Michael Kors tote bag but how much is it going to carry and is that enough for the way that you take notes or study? Think about it:
Do I need to carry any lab books/equipment? (The issue of weight)
Do I need to bring lunch/other personals? (you might be able to just get a laptop satchel)
Am I going to be carrying things in my arms (like books/laptop)? I strongly do not recommend it.
Laptop or paper - get a better backpack if using a laptop. I recommend a price around $50 for a good quality backpack. You aren’t going mountaineering so no need for anything too expensive.
How big does it need to be? I recommend something that can fit your laptop and more comfortably.
Here’s my description of an ideal bag.
Enough padding so that your items don’t jut into your back when walking.
A leather bottom to prevent the bag fabric from becoming dirty over time
A separate laptop pouch that’s padded and with a velcro/button at the top.
Two separate compartments for your books/lunch and a front compartment for your pencilcase, phone and other small items
Sturdy straps with good stitching that won’t tear after wearing it on one shoulder to get things out.
It’s pretty and fashionable :’)
You need something functional to carry your phone (and earphones), your student card and your Opal card/train-bus tickets at all times in your hands. Gosh how many times have I wasted money on some new pouch or case to find that it’s extremely inconvenient. You need something to carry these items while you walk around and really quickly. A flip case is super inconvenient. It’s a lot better to have an easy-access pocket of some sort. If you’re a guy no problems here. I recommend a phone case that has space for your travel card/ticket on the back so you can tap on/off easily. If nothing else works you can just hold it in your hands when you get out of the train.
Bring a jacket made of a good material, a sturdy umbrella and a water bottle. Keep them in your locker if you can’t carry them around with you. The weather at uni almost has its own climate! At my uni, there’s a main walkway that’s about 10 metres across and bounded by heaps of tall eucalyptus trees. Every summer it becomes the home of several broken umbrellas and has pools of water that completely soak your shoes and socks :P
MY WEEKLY STUDY TIPS
WHAT I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE UNIVERSITY STUDY TIPS SERIES
A long time ago I saw these Urusei Yatsura batteries on a forum and quickly saved all the pictures… I’m sorry I can’t give credit, but I thought they were AMAZING JESUS LOOK AT THEM OMFG I CAN’T ANYMORE LOOOOOOOOK AT THE SPACE TAXI DRIVER WHO SUCKED UP ALL THEIR OIL IN EPISODE ONE OOOOOOOH MY GOD AAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHH
i. Blues [LISTEN]you don’t own me - lesley gore / hurt like mine - the black keys / fooling yourself - styx / pompeii - bastille / freewill - rush / i lived - onerepublic / call me home - the cat empire / next summer - choir of young believers
ii. Ponchoman [LISTEN]you could have it so much better - franz ferdinand / hounds - savage / lay down in the tall grass - timber timbre / drove through ghosts to get here - 65daysofstatic / spanish sahara - foals / short change hero - the heavy / no light, no light - florence and the machine / electra heart - marina & the diamonds
iii. Trashlord Jerkface Proto [LISTEN]hero on video - freedom call / robbery, assault and battery - genesis / terrible things - april smith and the great picture show / hell - squirrel nut zippers / take me out - franz ferdinand / feeling good - muse / everybody wants to rule the world - lorde / barlights - fun.
As a Senior in high school and an art nerd at heart, I tend to carry around the basics for both school and doodles. My recent studyblr post with these photos took off and one of you asked me for a breakdown of what I haul around with me on a daily basis.
Top photo - The Pencil Case (J)
1. Soft Erasers. Definitely an art nerd thing. Totally unnecessary and useless for most of ya’ll. I use them for detailed portrait rendering because they lift a little bit of the graphite without taking it all off the paper. The Prismacolor ones are $¾ each and can be found at Michael’s or an art supply store.
2. Post it flags. These are the right size for my Moleskine and bullet journal. Get ALLL the colors! xD If you’re gonna carry them around make sure you have a tin or something. Otherwise the stacks fall apart and they lose the adhesive.
3. Burt’s Bees lip balm. This is nearly $5 a tube but it will forever be my go to. The colors are gorgeous and they’re very sparkly :) It also has peppermint oil in it so it feels really nice. CVS is the easiest place to find it. Guava is my favorite color by far, but Grapefruit is nice too.
4. Mechanical pencil leads in various sizes and softnesses. I usually have a lot more than three of these in my bag at a time. Softer/smaller leads can definitely only found at a specialty art store. I keep .7, .5, and .3 mm in HB or B at all times. Again, art nerd thing, and you probably don’t care.
5. Staedler White rubber eraser. Self explanatory.
6. PaperMate Tuff Stuff Eraser Stick. Beautiful tool for detailed portrait work. Can be sharpened with a razor. I would give up a lot of other rendering supplies for this thing.
7. iPod Shuffle 6th gen. I prefer my Nano 4th gen to this because the Shuffle has terrible battery longevity but whatever. It was a gift. Also it has twice the storage as my Nano.
8. Zebra Mildliners. Ya’ll know what these are already :P They’re great but not a must have by any means. I’m a fan but probably won’t buy them again when they run out.
9. Staedler Pigment Liners. Originally a set of 6 but I lost one :( They’re incredible for note taking and I refuse to take math notes with anything else. Highlighters don’t smear them, they dry instantly, and they last 18hrs if you accidentally leave the cap off. They range in size from .05 to .8 mm. They’re like $20 a set and $6 to replace a missing one so that’s kinda rough. But again, I’d almost sacrifice a grade for these things and I legitimately panicked when I lost one.
10. Staedler Triplus Fineliners. Again, pretty significant Studyblr staple. I haven’t used them much and I’m not a huge fan of colored pens tbh but they seem pretty nice. They do smear a little if you use highlighters over them. They feel cheaper than my other Staedler supplies, but whatever. Pretty useful overall but I might actually prefer the Pilot V8 pens (though less color variety).
11. Microns. Again, originally a set of 3 but I carry them around to supplement my missing Staedler Pigment Liner. A little cheaper overall than the Staedlers, but not nearly as nice. They tend to bleed too much, especially if you don’t keep the pen moving (for whatever magical reason, the Staedlers don’t bleed if you accidentally let the pen rest in the middle of a line). Also doesn’t dry as fast and can smear with highlighters.
12. Uniball Vision pens. There are better options out there to be honest. As far as rollerballs go, these are nice, but the ink isn’t as color-saturated as some others. It’s a nicely balanced pen tho, if you care about that sort of thing.
13. Sharpie highlighters. Not much I have to say about these. They’re useful but not pretty. Oh well.
14. Mechanical pencils. .7 mm, .5 mm, and .3 mm. These are expensive to replace so I hang on to them as long as possible. The Pentel .7 can be found anywhere, same for .5 usually, but .3 is only carried at art supply stores.
Bottom Photo - The Backpack
A. Electronics stuff. Phone charger, iPod charger, and emergency battery (only because I spent most of my time on campus outside on the slackline and I hate having to go inside to charge my music). I usually have a portable speaker in there too but I lost the aux cord for it :P
B. MacBook Air. I got the full map sticker on Etsy and the smaller stickers I printed off my own computer and laquered with fixative. Oh, except for the Stay Positive Bro sticker. I got that from the Stay Positive Bro site and you should totally rep their stuff as much as possible because I love everything they make. Also, Air’s are the bomb.com. Buy one. Infinitely better than Windows.
C. The Bottle. Can be found on Amazon. It smells weird 99% of the time and the Tritan isn’t good for you (apparently). I prefer my Smart Water bottle. It is cute though.
D. TI 30Xa calculator. This is actually a really nice all purpose calculator. Obviously it doesn’t graph, but I like it. Probably because it’s familiar and I’m faster on it than anything else.
E. Earbud holder made from a tin of Icebreaker sours. Yup.
F. Embroidered Jansport Backpack. In retrospect, I probably should have chosen a higher quality backpack to spend 8 hours embroidering, but I’ll try to keep it limping along for another semester or two before the straps rip out.
G. Mead notebook w/ sharpie. I like these notebooks because the pages are 8.5x11 when ripped out, so they usually fit into a looseleaf textbook really nicely. Just nice notebooks overall.
H. Urban Ears Limited Ed. Plattan Headphones. Love these. Almost broke them the first week I had them by tripping over the cord (literally fell in the middle of the campus center because the cord was wrapped around my Vans and the headphones were around my neck) but somehow they survived. Pretty awesome sound quality for $50.
I. Molang Diary. Best planner ever <3 Well, besides KiKi planners maybe, but Molang’s are way cheaper, and they come with stickers, and they’re adorable. Definitely recommend. I’m gonna do a separate post on them later.
J. Pencil Case. I got this from IUPUI’s bookstore so idk where else it’s available. I think it may have been designed by our own design students so… good luck finding it if you want one.
K. Kindle Paperwhite. I haven’t found this incredibly useful as far as electronic devices go but I do use it for English classes and pleasure reading. It’s a nice Kindle and very reasonably priced.
L. Nokia Lumia 635. Whoever decided a windows phone and a mac computer was a good idea (me) is an idiot. But it’s a good interim phone if you’re looking for something cheap and relatively indestructible.
Quite the Bluff — The HMS Centurion during World War II
Despite a history of being master of the waves, the British Fleet often found itself stretch dreadfully thin during World War II. Much of the fleet was occupied with defending the British Isles, hunting down u-boats in the Atlantic, and chasing down Germany’s few battleships. The Mediterranean fleet was especially imperiled as it suffered from major shortages of warships. One particular worry was that the Italian Navy would attempt to blockade the Suez Canal, cutting off Britain’s vital supply routes to India.
To solve this problem, the Royal Navy dug the old dreadnought HMS Centurion out of the salvage yards. An aging antique built before World War I, the Centurion had been decommissioned in 1924. In 1941 she was taken out of the scrapyards and refitted. However no amount of fixing up was going to prepare the old warship for modern combat. Instead the Royal Navy had other plans for her.
Repairs were made to the Centurion so that she would be once again seaworthy. Other than that only cosmetic modifications were made so that the Centurion looked like a modern warship. This went so far as to mount the turrets of the Centurion with fake 13.5 inch “guns” made from timber which were painted dull grey to look like the real thing. From 1942 to 1944 the Centurion was stationed near the Suez Canal to deter any enemy ships from attacking. The Italian Navy, believing the Centurion to be a real, heavily armed battleship, never called the Brits bluff.
In 1944 the Centurion was withdrawn from the Suez as the Italians had surrendered and the British Navy had firm control over the Mediterranean. During the D-Day invasion she was purposely sunk off the coast of Normandy to act as a breakwater for the beaches. Reportedly the German 352nd Division claimed they had sunk the Centurion with their shore batteries, infliction terrible casualties as only 70 crewmen were seen escaping the ship. Little did the German know that the Centurion was only manned by a 70 person skeleton crew.
I ACIDENTALY DELETED THE WHOLE BEGINNING OF MY STORY, IT WASN'T MUCH YET, BUT I'M TERRIBLE AT REWRITING THINGS
My laptop has a terrible internal battery and whenever the charger is unplugged, it dies anywhere from five to twenty-five minutes. About a week ago, there was a spider nearby. I hate spiders. I hate bugs in general. This spider was a big white one that I had seen a few times before, but was never able to kill because it was too fast. So I left my laptop and spent half an hour waiting for this spider to show itself again so I could kill it.
While I was waiting with a broom in one hand and a shoe in the other, the charger came unplugged from my computer and it died. And I lost 5k words from my Camp NaNoWriMo novel, which I hadn’t planned out at all since I decided to just wing it.
After getting over my desperation and frustration, I was kind of grateful that had happened because:
I was going to have to rewrite it anyway, and so will you.
First drafts are terrible. No one but me was ever going to see that part anyway.
I started reevaluating my story and where it was going. Now I have a fuller plot with a better idea of what’s going on.
Losing your work is a terrible thing, but it’s kind of an unlucky and unwanted right of passage for writers.
Rewriting from memory is an exercise that tests just how much you know about your story.
You know your characters, settings, and plots better the second time you write them, even if you have a full outline.
If you’re at that point where you don’t want to redo the beginning because you just got past it and it’s tiring to do it all over again, start writing where you left off and go back to the beginning later.
“There’s only one plug in this entire coffee shop and you’re sitting right in front of it and you’re not even using it, and my laptop is about to die in the middle of this online exam I’m taking, so whatever I don’t care how intimidatingly attractive you are I’m sitting down at your table to plug my shit in.” AU (got this from an AU blog but I think it would be perfect)
15 minutes 43 seconds.
That’s how long Clarke has to finish this stupid online exam. She thinks she feels a little bit of sweat roll down her back as she glances over the anatomical drawings demanding labels.
12 minutes 51 seconds.
She has no idea what this question even means. She moves on groans quietly as she realises she has no answer for the next one, either—but that’s the beauty of multiple choice. She gives each of them a wild guess and tells herself she’ll come back later. When she’s done. She snorts because she knows that’s not going to happen.
10 minutes 4 seconds.
Is it hot in here, or is it just her? She fans herself with a booklet lying on the table next to her laptop. Maybe it’s the caffeine she’s been consuming religiously for hours in this coffee shop, trying to stay awake to cram for this exam. Maybe her blood pressure is too high. Maybe she’ll have a heart attack and she will have a valid excuse for failing.
9 minutes 38 seconds.
Your mac will sleep soon unless plugged into a power outlet.