A lazy person's Uni tips. (Part III)

Updated: Jun 15

Last one! In previous posts, the tips shared were:

Tip 1: If you're lazy, get organized and get efficient. 
Tip 2: Break work into small pieces and start early. 
Tip 3: Skim read and slow read effectively.
Tip 4: Don't be afraid to ask questions. 
Tip 5: Use resources effectively (Free Uni services). 
Tip 6: Learn how to maximise using the library & online resources
Tip 7: YouTube anything you don't understand in class. 
Tip 8: Don't miss/skip class

This is Part III and the last of a lazy person's Uni tips. As always, I hope you will find something here that will be useful to you. x

Tip 9: Take lecture notes effectively
  • I only had big one notebook with subject dividers that I used for all my courses. I found this to be more economical than buying a separate notebook for each course, and I won't have to carry so many separate notebooks to class.

  • The only issue with keeping all your course notes in one notebook is that if that goes missing...hope you have a backup. I forgot my notebook in the library once and panicked because that was all my notes for the semester, but luckily it was in the same place where I had left it. Of course, people use laptops and electronics to take notes in class now, but I prefer writing. I'm not very fast at typing but I can write quickly.

  • I like to write notes during class, then type everything up after. I always have different coloured pens and highlights to take note of any key points in the lecture. This makes it easier to organise my notes later.

  • I aimed to organise my notes within 2 days after the lecture while the information is still fresh in my head.

  • I would collate all my notes from the lecture, notes from the readings and any other material (notes from YouTube lol) and type everything then save in PDF format.

  • I find PDF format is easier to navigate than a word doc, like the search function/highlight/comments functions are more navigatable in PDF format (this is my personal preference).

  • I had a few friends across all my courses that I'd swap notes with via email, so if there was anything I'd missed out in my notes, I can pick it up from theirs. If I was organising notes just for myself, I'd probably be sloppy and not as thorough about it. But knowing that I'd have to share my notes with others in exchange for their notes made me pay attention to the details and content of my notes. I also made sure to make my notes very easy to read, understand and follow and added in the references for any extra resources I'd used (like YouTube links or other articles/textbooks) because I was too lazy to explain anything verbally.

  • Beware though, of some students who ask for your notes all the time but never share their notes. If you're a charitable Samaritan, then good for you, but I don't have the energy to deal. #petty🥴

Anyway, here's an example of all my notes for one of my courses

MG 5618 notes 2020
.pdf
Download PDF • 5.88MB
Tip 10: Learn to reference correctly as quickly as possible

When I did my undergrad at Auckland Uni, we had to reference APA style. When I came to Brunel Uni, we had to reference Harvard style. The first semester at Brunel Uni, I was still using APA referencing out of habit, until my advisor pointed out my mistake.


I don't think they teach referencing in high school (at least, it wasn't taught when I went to high school), so learn the right referencing style required by your department, and know the difference between in-cite referencing and Bibliography references for your assignments. (They're all different according to the referencing style).


Proper referencing is important to avoid plagiarism, so this is a key point to learn quickly and correctly. There is also so many plagiarism detecting software used by unis to detect academic misconduct, so it's best to learn how to reference correctly.


Tip 11: Google Scholar is your best friend

The university library website has links to thousands of journal articles and online material, but every once in a while, it won't have what you're looking for. So, use Google scholar!


You can install it as a web extension on your computer browser (as below), and you can use it in so many ways.

Not only will Google scholar help find relevant materials for your research, if you click the "cite icon on the Google scholar extension, and as you can see, the many different ways you can reference your article will pop up. See the slight differences between APA and Harvard referencing? lol


←If you're using a referencing software or programs like BibTex, EndNote, RefMan or Refworks (Check with your Uni library if they have any referencing software they can set it up for you for free), you can click on it and it will save to your preferred referencing programme. If you don't have one, no probs, you can organise it in an Excel spreadsheet instead.


Tip 12: Check the credibility of your sources

While Google Scholar is great for researching academic articles, it is recommended to check the credibility of your sources that you find. At Brunel Business school, we were encouraged to use CABS (Chartered Association of Business Schools), which has an extensive list of credible journal articles.

The more credible sources you used for your assignments and dissertation (i.e. Journals with 3-star ranking and higher), the more well-received your work would be. It also shows you invested some effort to look up the latest and most credible work in your field of study.

CABS was specific to the Brunel Business School. Auckland Uni had it's own recommended one, but I can't remember what it was called.


I assume each uni and department would have their own recommended site to check the credibility of the sources used, so it's worth to ask what it is for your department, and you could always ask your tutor or lecturer about it.

Tip 13: You can be lazy, but you cannot be a quitter

Even lazy people have goals. Mine was to graduate with Distinction, which I did. I was able to do so by breaking down that big goal of Distinction into tiny pieces, and creating a system that works best for me to stay organized, and achieve those small goals with minimal ongoing efforts.


At the start of my academic journey, I had to think carefully and strategically about how I was going to set up my reading trackers, my notes, assignment workloads etc. Once the hard thinking bit is over, it's the doing. Planning is always the hard bit, but once it's sorted, usually things become easier.


It was easier for me to stay organized and get things done in small bites with ongoing minimal effort.


Personally, I hate leaving anything to the last minute, as small issues gradually become a big problem which requires too much effort to deal with. By keeping things small and having an efficient system in place that works for you, you can get things done more easily. The hard part after the thinking bit is to get started, and not quitting half-way through. Remember, ongoing minimal efforts, ultimate maximum results.


Laziness isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it can make you be more innovative and creative by thinking outside the box of how can things be done with minimal efforts.

What's worse and more dangerous than laziness is apathy, getting easily discouraged and giving up along the way when you have to give in a little more effort than you like. Feeling discouraged and feeling like you want to quit is normal when things don't go your way. Remember that academia, like anything else we attempt in life, will not always go as we plan, or as easily as we hoped. At those moments, breathe, rethink your strategy and try again or try a different way. You can be lazy, but you can't be a quitter. That's that.

 

A collation of all the lazy person's Uni tips:


Tip 1: If you're lazy, get organized and get efficient.

Tip 2: Break work into small pieces and start early.

Tip 3: Skim read and slow read effectively.

Tip 4: Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Tip 5: Use resources effectively (Free Uni services).

Tip 6: Learn how to maximise using the library & online resources

Tip 7: YouTube anything you don't understand in class.

Tip 8: Don't miss/skip class

Tip 9: Take lecture notes effectively

Tip 10: Learn to reference correctly as quickly as possible

Tip 11: Google Scholar is your best friend

Tip 12: Check the credibility of your sources

Tip 13: You can be lazy, but you cannot be a quitter

 

That's it for my lazy person uni tips. This was based on my own uni experiences (mostly pre-covid) and I am aware the circumstances for studying at Uni has drastically changed and even became more challenging due to the pandemic.


If you're a student during this time, I hope you're getting the right support and help needed to cope. I'm proud of you for hanging on and doing your best in light of the current situation. I thank you for reading this far, and I wish you all the best in your studies. I hope there was something in this 3-part series that would be useful for you.

If there's anything I can help with, or you have your own uni tips, you can leave a comment or DM my insta @moni_dayo. Tu'a 'Ofa atu and good luck!

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