One of the most important things that you can do as a student in college is keep track of all of your class notes, papers, and research in a place that is accessible and reliable. As a counselor at the TECHniques Center, one of the most oft-repeated woes that I hear is “oh I left that in my other spiral/backpack/pants/apartment/universe.” Too often, students show up to tutoring or class without the notes that they took the day before. This creates a persistent problem, and can stand in the way of learning.
I heard a story of a student a few semesters ago who had the misfortune to drop his laptop the day before a huge paper was due. Of course the paper was on his computer, and of course he didn’t have it backed up anywhere externally. He even had all of his notes and research saved on his laptop, and would have to start all over on a semester-long project to have any hope of finishing.
He ended up failing the class, and having to retake it the next semester.
What is the moral of this collection of unfortunate stories? Have a system for managing your notes, papers, and projects that you can access anywhere. With all of the services available that back up data to the cloud, there is no excuse to not utilize at least one of them. In this post, I will tell you briefly about one of my personal favorites. It’s called Evernote.
Evernote is a free service that promises to help you Remember Everything. You can type up class notes, do research, even keep track of recipes or ideas. The more that you use it, the more powerful that it gets. The mobile app includes a document scanner that uses your camera and Optical Character Recognition to let you search within the documents that you scan. It’s pretty awesome. You can create reminders, to-do lists, and voice notes as well.
Some things that you can do with Evernote as a student
- Take notes on your Tablet, Computer, or even Smartphone while you are in class. These notes will be available anywhere you have a computer screen.
- Take pictures of any assignments or important information your professor writes on the board.
- Add reminders for yourself as soon as you think of something that you need to do. Don’t let it wait and risk that you will forget!
- Save articles using the Evernote Web Clipper for research and later review.
- Annotate pdfs and pictures.
- Collaborate with classmates by using Shared Notes.
- Many other things!
It has been a lifesaver for me in my education and my career, it is at the core of my workflow, and has helped me stay organized when it seems that there are 73,000 things going on at once. Here is a tutorial video to get you started.