Raising Your Note-Taking Comfort Score

Raising Your Note-Taking Comfort Score

Save your hands without killing your budget; unless you want to kill your budget, in which case you could get something really cool!
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Have you ever been tearing through notes during a lecture only to be stifled by the muscles in your hand turning to stone? If you write with a pencil in standard script and grip as hard as I do, you probably have. Many times.

The usual alternative for writing in graphite and clay is to use a pen. These can range from standard blue or black ballpoints all the way to purple Pilots. Pens glide across paper much more easily than pencils do, so there’s less stress on your hands. If you’re using this method for taking notes, you’re already one comfort point ahead of everyone else.

I don’t know the statistics, but I’m willing to bet that most college students of today don’t write in cursive. Some may have even forgotten their squiggly characters, or perhaps they were never taught well to begin with. Printed handwriting is second-nature to the average student. Even if it’s lacking in elegance, usually, it’s easy to employ and it’s easy to read, at least for you. Unless your handwriting is so bad that you have trouble reading it yourself, in which case, cursive may or may not be a great improvement for your future comfort.

Writing in cursive with ink combines these two ideals, and it’s a great choice, but if you’d really like to save your hand some pain, look no further than the humble fountain pen. If you’re willing to drop the dough, and possibly the time, you can certainly look toward a fantastic fountain pen instead. The price can get pretty high depending upon what you’re looking for. If you’re enthralled by the idea of a silver-plated pen, for instance, more power to you. That would probably be awesome. For most college students, the choice of fountain pens will be more selective. Durability and cost are prime factors. I’m no expert of fountain pens by any means, but I like the pen I use quite a lot, even if I only use it during the school year when I’m writing large amounts by hand. My pen is a Lamy Safari with a B nib. You can get one in a variety of colors, but mine is black. I also have a fountain pen converter that allows my pen to use ink from a bottle rather than ink from cartridges. You can find these products here and here.

If you’re going to use a fountain pen, you’re going to need ink as well. This is where the big fun comes in, even if you’re on a budget. If you don’t want to mess around with bottled ink, you can use ink cartridges and skip the converter, but the cost is much greater than that to be found from buying your ink in bulk. “Bulk” is deceptive here, as the actual amount of space taken up by your bottle of ink will be quite small. I bought a three-ounce bottle of ink two years ago, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. You may write a good deal more than I have, but you’ll still take a long time to get through one bottle. Just don’t spill it. Please. I have this ink. The price has actually gone down a bit since I bought my bottle in August of 2015, though the newer bottles might be plastic rather than glass. Supposedly, the company’s bottle producers moved their factory out of the U.S., so they cut ties with them and switched to plastic. That might’ve changed since then, or it might’ve been false information to begin with. In any case, Noodler’s Ink seems to be pretty cool, and I love my General of the Armies color. If you look around, you can find fountain pen ink in a vast array of colors. You can also find it with different properties such as extra durability to cold or to bleaching agents. No matter what you choose, the only large downside is the fact that you’ll be stuck with your ink for a long time. You could always buy another bottle for $12.50 and pass your old one on to a friend.

For maximum note-taking comfort, I would suggest investing the time and money into writing in cursive with a fountain pen. It’ll take a day or two to get used to writing with a nib, even with the modern, easy-to-use nibs, but once you have it down, you’ll be flying. Cramped hand muscles are still a possibility, but it’ll take a lot more use and grip force to get there. The first time you run out of ink in the middle of a lecture, you’ll be disappointed in your writing utensil of choice for a few moments. When you feel the burn of a pencil or standard pen again, you’ll second-guess that disappointment, I think. Even if you have to learn cursive from scratch to use this method, I heartily recommend it. Your notes will look fantastic in no time. Your grades could look even better. Because more notes. And heck, writing with a super cool fountain pen could even marginally improve your self-esteem. Just don't smudge the ink you leave in the margins of your paper. It does take a second or two to dry.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Ultimate College School Supply List

They gave us one of these things for elementary school every year, so why not have one for college?
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Shopping for college may seem like a huge chore, and since you're moving away from home, you may not even know where to start. Fortunately for you and me, Linda Durbin, senior Mizzou student Sara Durbin's mother, has created this master list of everything you could possibly have to purchase. This list you are about to read has been used by college freshmen for the past three years and has everything you need, and maybe even more, to prepare yourself to be on your own for the first time or maybe even a second, third, or fourth time if you're starting another year at college.

Let's start with Bathroom products and toiletries:

-Toothbrush

-Toothpaste

-Dental floss

-Mouthwash

-Retainer and retainer case (Make sure you keep this in a safe place so you don't lose it for 3 months like I did!)

-Bandaids

-Medications (Daily meds, Aspirin/Tylenol, Vitamins, Mucinex, etc.)

-Kleenex

-Q-Tips / Cotton balls

-Any hair products you use (Gel, Mousse, Hair Spray, Heat Protectant, Moroccan Oil, etc.)

-Hair accessories (ponytail holders, clips, bobby pins, headbands, etc.)

-Hairbrush/Comb/Hair Pick...If your hair is hard to detangle, think about investing in a Wet Brush. It makes it 10 times easier to brush out your hair after showering in the weird Mizzou water.

-Nail polish and nail polish remover

-Nail clippers

-Body wash and face wash

-Antibacterial hand sanitizer to keep in your room

-Bath and Body Works has some really awesome scents to choose from!

-Shampoo and conditioner

-Lotion

-Razors

-Shaving cream

-Glasses and case, sunglasses and case, contact lenses, solution, and case

-Shower caddy

-Deodorant (or as I like to say, "Deo fo da BO")

-Towel wrap or robe: Make sure it's a cute one in case you have a tornado drill while you're in the shower like I did.

-Chapstick

-Around 2-3 sets of towels...I never really needed more than 2 but if you wanna play it safe, bring more! Make sure you have a couple hand towels and washcloths too. As long as you do your laundry regularly, you won't need any more than that.

-Hairdryer

-Curling iron / straightener

-Neosporin

-Makeup

-Makeup removing wipes: The best ones I have ever used are made by Garnier.

Garnier Refreshing Makeup Remover


Next up, we have Cleaning Items:

-Paper towels (lots of them)

-Clorox wipes

-Vacuum: You'll want one that works good enough on tile floors and carpet, but is small enough to fit in your closet.

-Small bottle of liquid dish detergent

Moving on to Laundry Supplies:

-Detergent: If you've never done laundry before and are worried about how to use detergent, the little detergent pods may work perfectly for you. You just throw one in and it's already pre-portioned out.

Tide Pods

-Dryer sheets

-Stain remover

-Laundry bag or basket

-LOTS OF HANGERS: The velvet covered ones are the best because they take up less room and stuff doesn't fall off of them.

Generic Items:

-Desk lamp

-Don't forget the bulbs or batteries if it doesn't already come with them!

-Umbrella, rain boots, and a raincoat: Yes, I promise you will get use out of all three!

-

-Snow boots for the Winter: Don't bring these to school with you until November... you'll want to leave everything that you don't absolutely need at home and you won't need them until it snows!

-Ziploc plastic bags (large and small)

-Plastic cups, utensils, plates, and bowls: Disposable ones will be much easier to deal with.

-Tervis cup or water bottle

-

-Refrigerator

-Microwave

-Microwave safe bowl and plate for if you ever run out of paper plates

-Ottoman with storage inside: It makes it so much easier for you to get into your bed when it's raised and it makes for extra storage space!

-Cube with a lid: These are great to store stuff in and stack in your closet or under your bed.

-Lots and lots of extension cords

-Surge protector

-A really long cord for your computer to plug into the wall for internet (Ethernet Cable)

-Laptop: Apple is the best because they don't get hacked and all the professors use them.

-Flash drive

-Lap caddy/desk for resting your laptop on you when you're in bed

-It keeps your laptop from overheating and is great to use when you're in your bed doing homework... or binge watching Friends on Netflix...

-TV, DVD Player, DVD's, Xbox, etc.

-Snack food and a bin to keep your food in

-Chip clips

-Checkbook, debit card, credit card

-Small wallet to keep on you at all times: Since you need your ID to get into the dorms and dining halls, it is nice to keep it in a safe place so you don't lose it when you're out and about.

-Alarm clock if your phone isn't loud enough to wake you up

-Phone Charger

-A portable charger is great to have for those long days of sorority recruitment and football tailgating so your phone never dies.

-Laptop Charger

-Bookbag: Keep a small hand sanitizer in there, it will come in handy.

-Kleenex

-Permanent markers

-2 sets of bed sheets

-Mattress cover: Invest in one that zips and keeps bed bugs out...you never know.

-Mattress pad

-Pillows

-Back study pillow

-Extra blanket for when people spend the night or to bring to football games

-Comforter/Duvet and cover

-Chair cushion for desk chair

-Posters/pictures/canvas paintings/decorations for your walls

-A lot of girls buy 20 12x12 pieces of scrapbook paper or fabric to put on the bulletin board.

-At least 4 packs of Command strips to put stuff on your wall

-Baseball hats

-Storage crates/bins/drawers for under the bed

-First Aid Kit

-Stamps and address labels

-Swimsuit

-Area rug

-Fan

-Bin for shoes

-Belts

-Health insurance info, car insurance, driver's license

Desk Supplies (Most of this stuff you can wait to buy until you know what you need for classes):

-Loose leaf paper

-Desk drawer organizer

-3 hole punch

-Stapler and staples

-Scissors

-Notebooks

-Highlighters

-Binders

-Paper Clips

-Stationary

-A container to hold pens and pencils on desk

-Index cards

-Tape and dispenser

-Envelopes

-Calculator

-Page tabs

Miscellaneous:

-Shower shoes

-Trash can liners

-Can opener

-Lights look great in dorm rooms but you'll need a lot of Command strips to hang them.

-Lockable safe

-Lockable trunk

-Thumbtacks

Quick Tips for Dorm Life:

-Make a habit of washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and using Clorox wipes often. Pink Eye goes around a couple times a year and it spreads from surface contact to hands and it's very common for a majority of a floor to get it at the same time. Be diligent and have good hygiene!

-Talk to your roommate and come to an agreement about keeping your door locked when you are not in there. Theft is an issue in the residence halls.

-Do not leave money, jewelry, iPod, phones, or computers in plain sight when you leave your room.

-Always bring your laptop home with you when you go home for the weekend.

-Don't keep any sentimental expensive valuables in your dorm room.

-Freshmen: When you fill out your dorm checklist on move-in day, WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. A scratch on the desk, a stain on the bulletin board, a crack on the mirror, a dent in the blinds, a mark on the walls, tape marks on the door, etc., are all things you can be charged for at the end of the year so take precautions.

-If you don't bunk the beds, raise them up to the top level of rungs. Do this first before you bring anything up or make the beds so you have room to move. For this you will probably need a hammer. Then, you can fit the fridge under one of the beds. You may also use bed risers if using the rungs does not bring your bed up high enough to your liking.

-Take your computer with you to Summer Welcome and if you are purchasing it at Summer Welcome, make sure you take the time to have Tiger Tech set it up for you. They will set up your email account among many other resources.

-Fill out the form for Earlybird Textbook orders. If you do, all you have to do in August is tell them your name and student ID number and they will already have all of your books for the semester boxed up and ready to take to your room.

-Remember, you will only have 2 1/2 drawers to use and one closet. Pack only what you absolutely need because you can always bring down more clothes later. Don't bring any winter stuff down until around Halloween.

Happy Shopping and good luck this school year!

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Krekovich

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If You Really Want To Lessen The Divide Between Arts And Athletics, Funding Will Be Equalized

It's right in front of us and has been going unnoticed.

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No matter how old you are, you probably identify at least a little with either the arts or athletics. Growing up, most of us were either the 'cool' kids who typically played some type of sport or the not-so-cool kids that were interested in the arts. A simple question would be, why can't someone be both? Well, it's possible, but do the in-betweeners ever feel completely at home in one setting? This is an issue that tends to extend to college, and a point was brought up to me not long ago regarding the social gap between athletes and other students. In order to eradicate this issue, we must first understand where it stems from.

All in all, it seems to me that the divide begins in schools. Schools are the first places where children are beginning to be socialized, so the most impact tends to be made there. If schools are teaching children to look up to older high school athletes, as most do, it is almost certain that most children will aspire to be a part of that culture when they get to high school. Sure, some students will want to join the arts because they notice an affinity towards them, but some might still look the other way because of what they have been taught to admire.

Once in high school, perhaps even more impact is made. Students are discovering who they are and what their place in the world around them is. The way that their high school treats them means everything because that's typically their world for four long years.

From what I gather, the majority of high schools put athletes on a pedestal, letting them get away with more than others, as well as rewarding them more than others.

There are several problems with this, the first being that other students are placed in the background. Students who take part in the arts in school are often held to a typical standard, where they must follow all of the rules with little leniency and are not as recognized for their achievements as the athletes. However this does not only negatively affect students in the arts, but athletes as well. It might seem a little odd to claim that they are negatively affected while given all the privileges, but it is true to a certain extent.

For example, these athletes will not be adequately prepared for life after high school. After years of being told how wonderful they are and being exempt from average rules of behavior, these students are likely to graduate high school and be shocked at how they are expected to act and how people no longer hand them special privileges.

Both students involved in the arts and athletics are hurt here as well because they are all missing out on the crucial socialization of one group with another that may have different interests.

It is so important that these groups meet so that they are able to network with others who maybe aren't exactly like them. There is also always the possibility that students will find new interests that they did not even know they had by speaking to others outside of their groups.

This divide is also perpetuated by the tendency of school districts of all types to overfund athletics and underfund the arts. While the funding of the school may seem like a thing that wouldn't really affect the social lives of students, it creates a socioeconomic divide of sorts between groups. The arts tend to feel smaller and recognize the divide easily in funding since they face the hardships of it.

If funding was appropriately allocated between programs, this monetary divide could be quickly solved. Perhaps in the absence of the socioeconomic divide, tackling the more social aspect might be easier.

It is so important to address the situation early in elementary, middle, and high schools because it may carry on to university. At the university level, it may be easier to eradicate the divide since most students seem to be on the same page. However, it can still seem intimidating to approach someone of a social group that you have been conditioned to feel uncomfortable around. The divide is unfair for both parties, and the most a student can really do is to step out of their comfort zone and start a conversation with someone they don't know. It starts with the individual, so be kind to others and remember that there is growth in discomfort.

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