Last time, I was in a very distressed state. Today, I begin a new quarter, the second quarter of optometry school. A new quarter, with new deadlines and new courses, so for now I will remain starry-eyed and hopeful. :p I am going to do my best to stay ahead of the game this time since it’s supposed to kick up a few notches and yet I already struggled insanely last quarter.

Evernote is working really well in helping me stay organized! It helps me stay synced with any of my devices – my Windows desktop, my Macbook laptop, even my Android phone, and any random computer in the library. If I forget something at home…it doesn’t really matter, I can still look at it on Evernote. Now there’s less stress about whether or not I’ve manually downloaded everything onto each device. There’s no excuse not to study during downtime such as waiting for class to start or while waiting in line.

It’s been a lot of trial and error finding methods that help me tackle grad school better. For my own reference, here are some things that seem to be working better for me:

  • Going to bed early and waking up early. I can’t stay up late like I used to in HS & college because the day (8am until evenings at school) is just too long for me to feel energized at night anymore. Go to bed, and when I wake up feeling fresh, instantly dive into studying.
  • Using downtime between classes for easier subjects.  Tackling difficult classes in a short period of time seems like time is wasted and my attention is more spread out in loud environments
  • I had a few study sessions with a classmate – we split the time up between homework/concepts/creating an equation sheet so that we spread our time out efficiently. This is something that I need to do at least weekly to keep myself on top of things. If a classmate has a schedule conflict and is skipping our meeting for the week, I need to force myself to find someone else. There’s always someone willing to study in my class, as I’ve discovered over the last few weeks. I just need to put in the effort to locate them and fight the temptation to just go home.
  • Studying in the library after class is over for a few hours until traffic dies down. Less time is wasted in traffic, and I get some good productive hours in there. Usually when I go home, I don’t get into studying right away – it’s more like instant unwinding time & dinner whether I plan to or not.
  • Taking breaks when I felt less sharp and productive. These breaks are like taking a nap or cleaning, doing laundry, etc. A few short breaks are like with YouTube and a snack (when snack is done – so is YouTube break!).
  • Doing an “out loud” study session with a friend where we worked through tough material together pushed my brain much harder, but made it much less tiring than doing it on my own.
  • Writing things out on a whiteboard – even if it’s to just have a nicer layout in color (and then taking a picture of it to study more later!) – made it a lot easier to remember.
  • Speeding up lecture recordings by 2x saves a lot of time when re-listening to them and also pushed me to keep my focus level high rather than getting bored and dozing off.
  • Create a Google document and be responsible for creating a portion of the study guide. Even if you’re not going to look at it later (you probably will though), it forces you to become an expert at one section at least.
  • Create mini-deadlines, and major deadlines – all due before the actual deadline. Mini-deadlines to make things more manageable. Major deadline to force myself to cram if I failed to complete the mini-deadlines (which is more than likely to happen). And yet, the major deadline will still be before the actual deadline so that I will have extra time available for review.

Like I said, I’ve been using the free version of Evernote, which gives you 60MB of space per month – plenty if you’re only dealing with text and images. Premium gives you 1GB a month. Once you start putting in large files (like the huge pdfs I have from my professor for lecture), it starts to eat up space really quickly, so it depends on what you need to do. Additionally, Premium has other really useful perks such as being able to annotate onto pdfs directly and being able to search within image files and pdfs.

I like Evernote a lot and I’m considering purchasing the Premium edition but I’m not quite sure yet. I figure I’d try it out first before purchasing, but unfortunately I already tried Premium apparently when I first joined in 2008…..6 years ago when I didn’t even really use Evernote much, lol. If you’d like to help me out and would also like to try Evernote, you can use my referral link! If you join using my link, download Evernote onto your device of choice, and then log in, I’ll earn some points that can be used for a temporary month of Premium! Also, by using my link, you will get a month of Premium as well.

Here is my referral link! Thank you to anyone who might decide to use my link ^_^

I’ll make a post later detailing some of the tips I have on how to use Evernote! For example, I’ve got a to-do list on there, notebooks for each class, textbooks, a record of all my coupons, restaurant menus, and even a table of contents linking together related notes. Stay tuned!