What’s in my bag: University Addition 

If you’ve come from my Instagram (@diaryofaphysicist) you may have seen my post of everything I carry in my bag to university, so I thought I would go into a bit more detail about the items. I also want to share with you my methods of reducing the amount you carry so have you a light and effective load in your bag.

The Bag 

Being a student, saving money is very important. So I got my uni bag second hand from depop for £15, it’s real leather so will last me throughout my time at university and it’s black which is not only practical but goes with most outfits as well. 

The Laptop 

My laptop of choice is the 13″ MacBook Air 2016 addition. I love it. The MacBook itself is extremely light so perfect to carry around all day, fits into my bag well and does not scratch easily. The MacBook functions with fluidity and simplicity, I have everything I need in one place and doubles well as a work and recreational laptop. It is expensive, however I have used mine everyday since I bought it so can definitely say it’s worth the initial price.

The Planner 

If you follow me on instagram, you will know that I love moleskine! My planner is the 17/18 weekly academic planner and I used it everyday. Moleskine is by far my favourite brand for notebooks and planners as the paper quality is amazing and their ability to show little wear and tear is perfect for someone like me who throws them into their bag as they rush out the door.

The Cases

To hold all my stationary I use a felt case from Amazon. It’s the perfect size for me and it’s slots in the gaps due to being rectangular. The thick felt is durable so last a very long time without showing signs of damage and can be easily dried if it gets wet. I purchased a set of 3 of these cases for only £6.99 on Amazon so if you are interested please contact me via my Instagram page! 

How to simplify your bag 

I used to carry all my notebooks, all my textbooks, all my tech and everything else with me everyday. I thought I was doing the right thing, until I started getting back pain because I was carrying so much stuff. As I’ve got older I’ve started to get more and more into minimalism and simplifying my life. So instead of brining my textsbooks, during the day I work off online lecture notes. In lectures I print of the PowerPoints and annotate them which saves me having to carry a large note book with me. I leave all my books at home for studying in the evening. I have a small pencil case with the basic stationary and another case for my laptop and phone chargers (this helps to keep them safe). All my other stationary I keep at home as well as I only use them when making my detailed notes. For my makeup I have a simple, thin makeup bag that only carries the basic items. For food I take a space efficient bento box and use a lightweight rubber bottle for my water. This is much lighter than a glass or metal container and is better for myself and the environment then using a plastic bottle. 

Other ways to reduce the amount you carry. 

Take everything out of your bag and place it all in order of importance. Once you’ve done that put everything near the bottom away and only pack the things you really need. You may need to do this a few times, but it has helped me cut down on the amount of things I carry in my bag! 

I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you have please leave a comment below or message me on my Instagram @diaryofaphysicist. Thank you for reading! 

Lottie x 

Time Management for Students: Part 2

Part 2: Keeping up with your studies 
Before we start the academic year a lot of us have this perfect idea in our heads of all the work we are going to do and 
how we will be on top of everything all the time. Although this is a great aspiration, it rarely ever holds true throughout the whole year because most of the time life just gets in the way and there is nothing wrong with that!

But there are ways to limit the stress of studying, keep on track and cope with what life throws at you along the way. I’ve found the key is to start early. If I could give one bit of advice to other students it would be start making notes and/or revision material as early on in the year as possible. 

The method I use to get all my notes done starts with printing of the lecture notes the weekend before they happen. I have a read, do some extra reading around the subject  and then take the printed notes into class with me. As I already have the printed notes, if the lecturer adds something or says something of worth I then write it down underneath the relevant slide. This saves me time as the lecturers move so quickly! Then for each module I have a specific notebook (most likely a Muji…) which I write-up in neat all the necessary notes. I then go through these notes and pick out key information which I write onto a revision card. I then use the revision cards to refresh my memory of the topic and use the notes as an extra reference. This is quite a long-winded method, but for me it pays off. It’s all about finding something that works for you.

Another way to keep on top of your studies is to create a topic list for each module. Once you have completed a topic and written up the notes you can tick it off, then when it comes to revision you know you already have the correct notes. You can find free, excellent quality topic list printable online which saves you time, or you can make your own to fit your specific requirements.

Integrating your studies into daily life is another way to keep on top of them. What I mean by this is you find ways to mix studying with everyday activities. An example would be meeting course mates for a coffee whilst discussing topics from that days lecture or whilst travelling home get out your notes and read them (if possible). All these little things add up to help you achieve your goals. 

Even though keeping up with your studies is primarily down to you, being organised and being focused, do not do it all in solitude. Ask your lecturers for help, get them to explain things until you understand it! Ask older students, ask fellow classmates, ask anyone you think could help as you have nothing to lose. You can even dm me on instagram @diaryofaphysicist and I’ll see if I can help! If you do not ask, you will never know, so there is no harm in trying. 

More importantly, if there is something going on in your life that means you cannot study as much as you would like, go see the university advice and counselling department, they are there to help you and can give you suggestions in how to cope with an issue. It’s not your fault you cannot study, so don’t carry it on your shoulders like it is! The staff are there to help and will try there best to get you back on track with your studies when you can. 

I hope you have enjoyed part 2 of time management, it’s a bit more anecdotal but that’s because it is something I have battled with myself all through academia! The final part to this series will be on acheiveing a good work life balance, this will be posted in the coming days. 

Lottie x