The Summer has passed – more or less quickly – and September is here, which means falling leaves, hot beverages, pumpkin everything and fur coats… But most of all: it’s time to go back to school (or work).
I haven’t attended a class in quite some time as I’m currently working on my thesis and planning to graduate from university in March 2020, after 5 long, exhausting, interesting, educative in more ways than imagined, unexpected years.
I study Innovation and Marketing, and before that my Bachelor’s Degree is in Foreign Trade.
During these 5 years, and the many before them, I’ve “learned” how to best exploit my potential, take notes, study for a test; and I’ve come to some realizations.
But to be honest, it has been a trial-and-error process, with tons of errors; but luckily, you might be able to learn from my mistakes and find some useful insights in this post.
- Buy second hand books – school and university can be very expensive depending on your Country policies, so buy books from former students and save some money;
- Color-coding is essential: I use different colors for different paragraphs, titles and subjects to help and speed my memorization process;
- Study and review your notes everyday to stay on top of things – although a little procrastination is normal and sometimes welcome;
- Don’t worry and stress too much – capabilities are ever-evolving and nobody’s perfect; a perfect grade doesn’t determine one’s intelligence and you can’t be great at everything, is perfectly normal;
- You’ll probably feel exhausted and want to give up – don’t.
- Find your own studying process. What works for someone might not work for you, so try different techniques and tools.
I use different tools to study and work, I always love getting new stationery, planners and basically anything cute, colorful and
I use Monocromo notebooks to take notes, pastel Stabilo highlighters when studying to highlight the most important things, post-its, colored sticky bookmarks to be placed on the most difficult paragraphs, A4 blank pages to draw diagrams and frameworks, Bic pens, Stabilo markers and tons of pencils.
So, lots and lots of cute and mostly unnecessary stationary.
I have basically become a pro at creating mind-maps: key information and relations between subjects are basically all you need to create one. In my case, they help me memorize information and structure a paper or essay – they help both for tests and for my Master’s thesis.
I also love having A5 notebooks to doodle, draw or take notes of podcasts, workshops, seminars.
I was kindly sent some by Bastet & Bee and I have to say that they are very handy, of excellent quality, and multi-purpose.
Lately I have been working on multiple things: my thesis, my portfolio, my resume. These notebooks have detachable pages so they made it easy for me to work on everything I needed to.
I have designed two different pieces for my portfolio: a poster and an illustration, other than the entire layout of the different pages of the portfolio.
Drawing and planning everything on paper first helps me visualize the project better and makes the work much easier and faster later on.
The playful and minimalist structure of the notebooks fosters creativity and helps keeping everything in order.
I’m using the Play Starter Pack, but all the pieces from Bastet & Bee and their design fit together and you can combine them however you like.
I also have a big sketchbook that I use while I’m at home and allows me to work on bigger pieces.
Drawing and painting are my happy places. They calm me, bring me peace and allow me to let go of stress and forget about daily problems, even if just for a while.
I highly recommend finding something that helps you focus on yourself and let go of everything else, it might improve your focus on work or study and lift your mood.
To stay focused while studying or working, I’ve sometimes used the Forest: Stay Focused app, which doesn’t let you use any app.
Every time you effectively stay focused and don’t use your phone a new tree will grow in your virtual forest.
The A5 notebook is currently my favorite one because it fits perfectly in my purse so I can take it anywhere and easily get to work when inspiration strikes.
Although this year I haven’t purchased a planner, I highly recommend doing so – whether it’s a planner, a bullet journal or a diary – because it helps staying organized and remember everything that needs to be done.
One of my all-time favorites is the Ban.Do planner, which is complete with stickers, inspiring and motivational quotes, monthly view and artistic pieces.
I love decorating my planners with watercolors, lettering and doodles.
My essentials for school/work are many: I always love having watercolors close to me, they are my favorite medium but not the easiest to carry around.
Coffee is a must. I love my take-away mug made from recycled materials, it allows me to carry my hot beverage wherever I go while remaining stylish and earth-friendly.
Red lipstick and red nail polish might not seem as necessary as my Daniel Wellington wrist watch, but trust me, they make all the difference.
Whether you study or work – my tips and must-haves are always the same: a notebook, a pen, lots of coffee and patience – in my case a load of sarcasm as well.
In May I have finished my internship and being proactive, attentive, curious and willing to learn, have help me discover new sides of myself, push my limits, learn new things and get into contact with different realities – although I was emotionally and physically exhausted and looked like a walking zombie for 82% of the time.
Going back to school or work after some lovely, warm and relaxing vacations can be difficult, so what are your tips and tricks for getting back into the school/work mindset and be efficient in what you do?
What are your essentials for the school/work season?