An Update and the Bare Necessities

Boy studying, from the album: Miscellaneous. P...
Boy studying, from the album: Miscellaneous. Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine, ca. 1924. From the National Child Labor Committee Collection at the Library of Congress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last few weeks have been jam-packed with reading, classes, studying, evaluating theses, writing papers, a lot of coffee/tea and some great music to keep me going. I am settling back into the groove of student life (i.e., long hours of study, few hours of sleep) and it is all bringing back to mind the reasons I love studying. There is great joy in applying oneself to the pursuit of knowledge.

Over the course of three solid weeks, I have completed 9 credit hours of class (requiring classes that met everyday of the week for 8 hours). Now I am in the process of completing all of the papers for those classes. Through those weeks I learned about the historical and philosophical foundations of education, how to conduct successful educational research and how to write a masters thesis. Though I am three years (or so) from adding a graduate degree to my roster, the expectation of excellence in my course work is preparing me as if my thesis were due next month. (I love it!)

Well, enough about what I have been doing. I still have many hours ahead of paper writing and research. However, I wanted to pass along what I consider my bare necessities for a good study session. The presupposition is of course that you are prepared to dedicate earnest time to study and to put forth the hard work required to adequately comprehend and retain information. Here are some resources which have enhanced and increased my study sessions:

  1. Evernote – this instrument has revolutionized my life since I first starting using it 2 years ago. With its combination of the desktop version, mobile version, and internet version, you can take your notes wherever you go. Evernote has allowed me to collect all of my online research notes into folders pertaining to subject. Further, the tagging feature makes it easy to find subjects you have lost track of. It is my go to source for cataloguing research and ideas.
  2. StudyBlue – an incredible note taking system I have used in many classes. One of the fantastic features of this site is that it allows you to change your notes into flash cards with which you can quiz yourself in a distraction free setting. At the end of your rotation of cards, it calculates the percentage you would most likely get if you were to take the test at that moment (certainly aids in tracking progress). Oh, and the added bonus? It syncs with Evernote!
  3. Songza – My go to music concierge. Find the playlist to match your activity at any time of day. (It is also advertisement free, so forget Pandora.)
  4. French Press Coffee, Arabic Coffee or Tea – These are the three beverages of choice which I consume (probably in copious amounts) during my studies. There is just something about a warm, flavorful beverage that keeps me alert and on task.
  5. A wide range of music – My music library has been dubbed ‘schizophrenic’ since I have such a wide range of music genres. I listen to just about anything worth listening to. This prevents me from getting in a rut and allows me to tailor my environment to the need of my study session. I highly suggest developing a broad taste in music, not only so you can provide music for any event occasion, but also that you may enhance your study time.

These are a few of the things that help me study best. I hope that it helps you whether you are in your bachelors degree, masters degree, or studying for personal enrichment.

It is time for me to return to my research. Have a great Fourth of July!

From the Desk,

Mr. Bluebaugh