Best Resources for University
The university lifestyle tends to challenge your ability to adapt to new environments and alter your strategies on the go. Here are some resources that may help you throughout your journey!
Note-taking is a different process for everyone. Whether you prefer to take notes traditionally with pen and paper or type up notes for easier accessibility, finding a method that works for you is important. If you prefer the organizational capabilities that come with note-taking applications, or just want to try it out, here are some recommendations to get you started:
Evernote is a free note-taking app with many capabilities. You can create notebooks for specific subjects or life tasks, and add in various supporting documents such as PDFs, audio files, images, and scans, allowing for heavy personalization.
The various functions given to you allow seamless integration into your daily life. To-do lists and calendars are easy to make, and help you schedule events and deadlines right inside the application. As long as you have Evernote installed on your devices, you can sync all your documents across all your devices to increase accessibility. In addition, its unique tag and search system allows you to find notes pertaining to specific topics easily.
Notion is a free productivity application that offers virtually limitless options and functionality, allowing you to “customize Notion to work the way you do.” As opposed to Evernote, Notion has a steeper learning curve and requires some experimentation, but is very rewarding. All functions are available in the free version. However, signing up with your university email grants you access to the personal pro version, and you get unlimited file upload size and guest members (more on this later) as long as you’re still a student.
Much like Evernote, Notion also allows you to create custom calendars/schedules and can even send reminders about key events or deadlines. If your friends ever miss a lecture, Notion makes note sharing insanely simple and allows you to share your pages as a web link with the click of a button. Alternatively for group projects, or if you want to take notes together, you can add people into your workspace as guest members and fine-tune which pages they get access to.
The only way to see all that Notion has to offer is to download and try it out for yourself. You’ll find that its capabilities will feed off of your own creativity, and there will be a use for any situation you can throw at it.
If you have an iPad and don’t want to sacrifice that feeling of pen on paper, something like Notability may suit your fancy.
While it doesn’t offer as many capabilities as the two previously mentioned applications, Notability offers the best of both worlds. You can take notes and complete assignments by hand (or doodle ) while still maintaining some organizational functions. If you draw as a hobby, this may also incentivize its use.
An alternative to the infamous Quizlet, Anki is a free flashcard software that has more customizability in terms of how you organize your flashcards as well as how you create them. You can sync your devices so you can practice on the go with your mobile device. The great thing about Anki is the way you answer each flashcard. Instead of answering correct or incorrect, you pick how confident you were answering the flashcard. Based on your answer, the review time (how long before that card reappears) for that card will be increased or decreased.
1. uBlock Origin (or any adblocker)
Why clutter your feed with distracting ads when you could be focused on studying? Adblockers are great chrome extensions to block ads from any website you visit. You can find various versions of them on the chrome extension store. uBlock Origin in particular has worked well for many years and is very easy to install.
2. Webpage Highlighter
If you like highlighting while you read to emphasize key points of interest, the chrome webstore has many highlighter extensions that allow you to do just that. Some of them also allow you to save highlights in folders so you can revisit them later, such as Weava. This is especially useful in research related courses, as it allows you to emphasize the main points of a paper.
3. Pomodoro Timer
Trying out new study methods is a key part of university. If you’ve been searching around for some new techniques, you may have come across the pomodoro method, which is essentially alternating intervals of studying and breaks. The chrome webstore offers many pomodoro timers to help you maintain focus while studying, many of which also have website blocking capabilities to prevent yourself from being distracted.
You’ll no doubt come across research courses in university, where you’ll have to scour many research journals to find relevant information.
Zotero is a free research-oriented software that makes it very easy to save and organize research papers of interest. It also comes with a chrome extension that allows you to save the webpage containing the paper directly into Zotero, whether that be research related or something like a news article. The program saves not only the site, but also a copy of the full text as a PDF if obtainable from the webpage, allowing you to access the full paper if necessary without needing to go through the trouble of tracking down the same webpage again.
Zotero also allows you to create tags for your saved articles. You can then filter the articles based on the tags you’re looking for, making it easy to find important information.
The best part about this program is the automatic citation features it has. You can choose to cite a specific article with a certain format (APA, MLA etc.), or choose multiple pages and generate a bibliography instantly. This saves a TON of time in the long run.
On a separate related note, universities usually have partnerships with many popular research journals that grant you access to the entire directory of research papers. Make sure to take advantage of this! You’ll usually login with your university canvas credentials.
If for some reason, you still can’t access an article you need, a major tip is to email the author(s) directly. More often than not, they will happily send you a copy.
When2Meet and LettuceMeet
When2Meet and LettuceMeet both accomplish the same thing but are very useful whenever you need to plan something with a group. Each individual group member fills out their availability, and the combined availability of all members makes it easy to pick a time and date.
Khan Academy is a great resource if you need additional explanations for topics you find more difficult to understand. They offer a wide variety of subjects, and a lot of their videos can be found on Youtube as well.
Hopefully you have an idea of what programs you might want to try using! There are many choices out there, and what is available to you is not confined to this list, but it’s a good starting point.
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