The Student's Guide to Everything

The Student's Guide to Everything: university student and graduate life from a New Zealand perspective

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First-years: What to bring to class

Source: flickr
It's easy to go overboard buying school supplies when you're in the stationary section of the local bookshop. (Guilty as charged. All those pretty pens!) But all you really need to bring to class is:

  • Notepaper / refil / IB5s (I find notebooks are easier as you don’t lose papers. Use graph paper for chemistry or math notes. Stock up for the year with about 8 at "Back to School" sales.)
  • Any textbooks/ student notes the lecturer tells you to bring
  • Pens
  • Whatever you need for the rest of your day – wallet, watch, etc.

And that’s it! Easy! Laptops, voice-recorders etc. are a good idea in theory, but don’t seem to work as well in real life. You'll be fiddling with them instead of listening. Laptops are heavy. Do you really want to cart one around in your backpack all day?

Arts and humanities lecturers tend not to give out notes, while science lecturers tend to send around their presentations afterwards. It depends on the individual.

First-years with huge backpacks – you don’t need to take all your books to class. Really. Only take them if the lecturer checks each person has theirs, or skips through random pages in class.

If you’re really daring, and you are absolutely sure the lecturer gives extremely detailed notes online, you can come to class without pen or paper. Generally, though, I recommend you do. No-one has a perfect memory, and you will need those extra scribbles come exam / assignment time when you’re struggling to decipher the lecturer’s cryptic notes and remember what she said about the assignment.

So, all you really need to bring to class is some paper and a pen to take notes. Bonus: you'll save money on school supplies!

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Blogger Brendan said...

For math & computer science papers (at least at my university) the lecturers would hand out printed copies of their slides at the beginning of each lecture.

In these cases, the best thing to do is simply make notes directly onto the relevant slides where appropriate.

Also, don't let the fact that you can download the notes later lull you into a false sense of security. If you don't attend the lecture then very often the notes won't make any sense.

November 26, 2008 at 1:31 PM  

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