college classes

Take Notes on Taking Notes

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Photo Credit: www.tutoringvermont.org

 

We’ve all heard Dorothy’s famous quote from The Wizard of Oz “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” used in various contexts. Well, Dorothy, unfortunately, you’re not in high school anymore. That means no more notes being passed out in thick packets or being neatly organized to deal with certain topics on certain days. College takes taking notes to a whole new level, and a difficult one at that. Therefore, here is a list of useful tips for the next time you are getting flustered with note-taking:

 

1.) Don’t try and write down every word your professor says! Focus on key points of information. It will save you time when studying and will save your hand from cramping.

2.) Avoid copying PowerPoint/Prezi slides word for word. Figure out the main point and write that, and only that. And if you are not sure what Prezi is, you need to find out!

3.) Use the marginal method. You know that space at the end of college-ruled notebook paper where it has a faint line? Fold that into your page. Now, only take notes in the non-folded section. Any of your questions, potential test questions or special highlighted notes you take away from the lecture should go in the folded tab, keeping your notes clean and organized.

4.) If a word or phrase is repeated, write it down! There is a reason your professor is repeating it, trust me. It will most likely show up on your test later or help you understand test materials.

5.) Ask if you’re allowed to use your laptop to take notes. People tend to type faster than they can write things down. Just make sure you turn off the Internet to avoid being tempted by social media. Unless of course you’re using one of our recommended apps to stay organized!

These tips are sure-fire ways to taking great notes in college. Got any others? Tell them to us in the comments section below!

An Argument Against Gen-Eds

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Recently in an English class, we were assigned to write an argument. I chose to argue General Education requirements. Because I have a lot of passion for this topic, and because I want a lot of you to read what I have to say, I chose to share some of my basic thoughts in this week’s blog. General Education requirements in college not only take up 2 years of your time in school, they also use up a lot of your money. College is an exciting time in most students’ lives. The strenuous schedule of required gen-ed courses can add unnecessary stress to this exciting time.  For the amount of money students pay, they should be able to choose what courses they take, what are universities doing with all of this money?  I will be focusing on a few main points including: The extra cost Gen-Eds create for students, why Gen-Eds aren’t necessary for students who have already decided a major, and the time wasted spending four years in college due to Gen-Ed courses. Allow me to begin with the extra cost Gen-Eds present for students wallets.

Just imagine if two years of school could be subtracted from your bills, we’d be saving so much money in the long run. To me, there is no sense in paying for two years of classes that have absolutely nothing to do with your major. I am currently enrolled in a theatre class and a music class. My major is broadcast journalism. Taking a theatre class when I have no interest in acting doesn’t make since to me, but it fulfills one of my gen-ed requirements. Although I have learned all about acting in this class, I will likely never pursue this field, or need any of this information. I’d rather enroll in broadcasting or journalism courses because they will actually aid me in my future career.

This brings me to my next point; Gen-Eds are unnecessary for students who have chosen a major. Many people argue that Gen-Eds create more well-rounded students. I argue that the fundamental stages in a person’s life are for becoming “well rounded”, college is for getting a degree and going to work. The overall goal of college is to gain a successful career. If a journalism major wanted to spend thousands of dollars taking art and music classes, they would have chosen to be an art or music major. Isn’t it better to be an expert on one skill than to be mediocre in many?   Focusing solely on one’s major as opposed to being distracted by gen-ed courses might help students to enter the workforce more prepared for their jobs.

Many people also believe that taking Gen-Ed courses is smart because students change their majors so often. My justification is that it wouldn’t matter if a student changed their major if they were only going to school for two years because they’d be so young, they’d technically have 2 years to spare. Because a bachelor’s degree would only require two years of school, most students could graduate by the time they were twenty years old. If a twenty year old were to change their major, they could attend two more years of school in their new major and still graduate at twenty-two. The point of a two-year bachelor degree program would be to give students who are sure on their major a head start on their chosen career.

My final reason for why Gen-Eds shouldn’t be required is that they are a waste of time. As I mentioned before, why spend four years in college when your actual major only takes two? If student could finish school in two years, (obviously this excludes doctors, lawyers, etc.) they could get two years of work under their belt.  That’s two years of making money instead of spending thousands on school. In another circumstance, if a student wanted to take a couple years after high school to work and save for college they would be able to without much set back.

I can see that Gen-Eds could be useful to students who don’t already know their major. Gen-Eds are a great source for students to explore different fields of study and to find out what interests them. Gen-Eds can also benefit students in their major later on by creating a foundation that’s easier to build on. While Gen-Eds do have their benefits, I find that the consequences of money and time outweigh those benefits. High school was a great foundation for college; I now want to move past high school and focus on my career. My hope is that enough of you will agree with me and that our numbers could make a difference. I’m assuming that all of you believe in and value higher education. I’m assuming that you all wish that you could save thousands of dollars and still achieve your bachelor’s degree. If my assumptions are correct, we need to stand together and make a change.

-Speedy G.

I’m reading Microsoft Office 2010