YOUTH VOICE: Take note of distractions

Columnist and student, Japreet Lehal, writes on the importance of taking proper notes

Transitioning from high school to post-secondary education involves learning new skills and modifying study habits.

One of the most vital skills in university includes note-taking. While much has been written about effective styles for note-taking, often, students are not aware on how to approach the matter as a whole.

Many times, lectures may seem boring or tiring for students.

From personal experience, I have found two effective strategies that will help you ward off unnecessary distractions and keep you connected with the material that you are writing down.

Look at any university or college lecture hall, and you are bound to see more than half the students typing away at their laptops or tablets. While these devices can be extremely helpful for recording lectures or keeping up with the professor, they are not substitutes for concentration and focus.

At first sight, students might seem as if all are diligently typing away their notes. In reality, many use the devices for other purposes.

They are certainly great devices for note-taking, but at the same time, they are also great distraction devices.

As a first-year student, I have often seen students spend the whole lecture period checking their Facebook or Twitter updates. Needless to say, behaviour like this does not result in academic success.

Attending lecture is the most vital part of university or college. While doing so alone will not guarantee you academic achievement, it will contribute greatly to this goal.

Students who use laptops for social media or gaming purposes in-class, might simply be giving themselves psychological satisfaction that they are attending lecture. Yet they’re not really absorbing anything. For students entering university, I would recommend they use a simple pen and paper for their first semester note-taking purposes.

While one can daydream and become distracted even without using a laptop in class, from personal observation, I have seen that these devices make students more prone to distraction.

The second effective strategy to keep you actively involved in writing notes, instead of just copying down what the professor is saying, involves sitting in the first row.

You might be the only one in the row, but this strategy will help you hear the professor better and become more engaged with the material.

It will also lead to more participation and responses to questions that the professor poses. This will help the material become more relevant and make the note-taking process a breeze.

Oftentimes, it is a student’s tendency to sit in the back rows that makes the material more disconnected.

To keep yourself awake and active during the lectures, sitting in the first row is the best strategy.

These strategies are just some of the many approaches that students employ in order to keep themselves connected with the material.

As you enter university, you might find other strategies that help you take better notes. The important thing to keep note of is that first year is a time of many new experiences.

Often, students’ difficulty to cope with the material may just translate into becoming distracted.

Being aware of this will help you approach the note-taking process accordingly.

Japreet Lehal writes monthly for Peace Arch News on youth issues.