Skool Sucks! Period. I did full-time work/ full-time school with a family for the last three years of my B.S. and because I don’t learn from past mistakes I am doing it again with my Masters. While it can be difficult to find a balance, school does NOT have to dominate your life. I am going to post some helpful tools that will help to save you time, energy and most importantly, your mental stability.
1) Do Not Skip Class: The more that you hear, see and write down in your notes, translates into less time you have to pour over textbooks.
2) Take Notes: But don’t get stuck on writing every nit picky thing down. Get the ideas and the concepts, not the word for word. If you try to transcribe the class you will get behind and miss out.
3) Don’t Cram: Prioritize time to study. The more time that you study with repetition will allow the materials to stick and more easily recalled. Find time between classes, on your lunch break, or even on podcasts or related audio that you can listen too on your commute.
4) Cram: I know, I know… However if you find yourself with an 8 page paper due and you’re at the hospital with your wife in labor, sometimes it’s not about the perfect score, it’s about damage control and getting as many stupid points as possible. Learn to speed learn. Read the Four Hour Work Week and Mind Hacker.
5) Books: They are a racket! DO NOT get books from your school library unless you want to pay 200% more than you need too. Get them used off the internet or rent them. It’s usually cheaper to rent or even get a digital version. The books required for your general studies are useless and boring. There is no reason to keep those, sell them back. Or burn them. In fact, just burn them. Preferably in front of your professor after you get the final grade.
Formating papers in APA:
- Microsoft Word has a template that can be accessed by opening a new document and searching “APA.”
- The Purdue Owl is a great resource for all things APA.
- While Pages on a Mac does not have a preset template, you can use a 3rd party program called Perrla. I have used this and it has worked great for me.
- Configuring in text citations and bibliographies, or “works cited” can be a time-consuming pain in the butt!! However CiteFast will save you a ton of time. Use it! It handles all of the heavy lifting and takes out all of the guess-work.
- Chances are if you are writing a paper for a college or university, you will have access to their online library. These will have access to critical search engines such as ProQuest, EBSCO and LexisNexis. These resources would cost you thousands of dollars if you were to pay for them on your own.
- Google Scholar is a great free resource to find peer-reviewed articles as well.
- Remember that if the URL ends in “.gov or .edu” it is almost guaranteed to be an acceptable resource. Even .org websites are a pretty safe bet. Once you enter the realm of the .com’s all bets are off. This stands for “commercial” meaning in one way or another they are making money off of it and it may be biased or completely untrue. They can still provide value, however they should be cross-referenced and double checked before cited.
- Most universities use a program called TurnitIn to verify the authenticity of the paper by checking it against a vast database. The purpose of this is to catch and eliminate those who favor plagiarism. More often than not, professors will give you the ability to check your work through this database before you submit it. It can help you verify that you cited all of your resources correctly.
Books and Supplies:
- Amazon has a program called Amazon Student that is an amazing deal. You get a six month free trial to Prime and after that it is 50% off ($50). Amazon has great deals on school supplies, used books and ebooks. The Prime membership alone has so many upsides that if you don’t take advantage of it, you’d be an idiot. Please pause for a moment to head over there and sign up!!!
- Chegg and many other websites have some great deals on rented books. I always check Amazon first, however there have been a few times I have used Chegg, and they were great.
Study and Tutoring Websites:
- KhanAcademy is a great resource for a plethora of different topics. It gamifies the learning process through earning badges and completing challenges. It can make even the most horrific read: math… subjects addictive.
- WolframAlpha has an app and a website for any subject you can imagine. I used this for algebra, which I hate more than flat beer and motorcycles that won’t start, to pass the class *
spit*. The day I take another math class, will be my last on this earth… Anywho, when you punch in the problem it spits out the answer, WITH the steps I might add! WOOHOO!!!! Screw you, algebra.
- Wikipedia….NEVER use Wikipedia as a cited source. Its full of all source of lies and evil. That being said, it can be a great starting point to get the overall idea and flavor of your topic and even provide you with the resources that were used for that particular article. START there, never END there.
That’s all for now folks. If there are other resources that you have found to be essential please let me know and I will update this. I will also add to it as I find/ remember stuff. I guess I will go study now…
*None of these are affiliate links. I have used all of these myself and find great value in them. You should use them too.