by Ruth (Student Blogger: BA Hons History)
‘Essentials’- it’s a tricky place to start, as everyone has different tools, tricks and tips that they use for studying. But if you’re reading this hopelessly, scrambling for some sort of list to follow, in order to know at least a little of what to get, I hope this helps.
Paper and Notebooks (specifically A4 spiral bound ones)
Now, this may seem obvious but bring paper to uni. Many students underestimate the amount of notes you will make at university. While, you may be dead set on making your notes solidly only using your laptop, don’t underestimate the power of the pen and paper. I find it easier to make notes and follow lectures by physically writing it down. The words flow better and it is quicker to correct. This is why, the first essential has to be a serious amount of paper. Either in notebooks or folders, whatever you prefer. And of course, a bucket of pens to go alongside.
These are a lifesaver. Having something colourful to write on or write with is so helpful and brightens up revision and lecture notes. I personally suffer from dyslexia and this can result in a degree of sensitivity to a black and white page. Hence coloured paper, especially muted colours such as pastel blue, green or purple are a brilliant backdrop for planning essays, mind maps and writing key notes. Coloured paper is so helpful that, during revision last year, I bought coloured whiteboards. These muted coloured boards were so useful to study off as they not only lessen the glare that white paper and boards often have, but small whiteboards are endlessly helpful for revision. They are now something that I, and now after using mine, my friends, recommend massively. Although at the start of the year revision might not be something to focus on particularly, it is still important to have it at the back of your mind. Especially as some courses do regular tests, which can be intimidating without the right tools. Having a whiteboard enables you to go over key pieces of information again and again in different ways. And it also helps limit the destruction of the rainforest by not using endless amounts of paper.
Laptop- with all the software
Use this blogpost as your reminder. Take advantage of all the software you are offered by the University. One of the main software options they offer is global autocorrect, which spell checks any word you type on any application used on your laptop. This is so useful for emails and anything typed on the internet. There is also Read & Write Gold, which reads word documents and chunks of text out loud to you. I like to use this specifically for essays as getting the programme to read it out load is a way of checking sentence length, punctuation and grammar. There are so many different types of software that are on offer. Check what is out there and what caters to your particular needs.
These are the things, I only managed to get together a few months after university had started, that I wished I’d got organised before. As a result, I hope this list helps you be more organised, ready for the start of university….