How I stay organised in college

One of the most frequent questions I’ve gotten in the past few weeks is how I organise my notes for college. This is just my own little way of organising things, it’s what has worked for me personally. It might be totally different for you. Trying a few different things will help you figure out what works for you. This system might even change for me in second year, change again in third year..it’s all about adapting to what you need.

 

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So first thing I look at is my main folder. For now, I use one giant ring binder for each semester. Within that folder I have a few dividers to keep my notes for each module separate.

 

 

In each module section I have the module descriptor, so I can keep track of what exactly I should have done and what’s coming next. It’s especially useful for figuring out which topics I need to revise at the end of the semester. I print off almost all of my notes (I swear I do love the planet but I just can’t read off a screen), pop them in each section, and try to make one page summaries of each piece as we finish covering them in class to make revision easier.

 

As well as all these sections for each module, I keep a calendar at the very front. I buy a pack of week-to-week sheets from Flying Tiger (see the picture on the right below). Because our timetable is constantly changing it’s a much easier way for me to keep track of where I need to be. I write in the topics we cover in each class at the end of the day. I keep track of my placement hours, extracurricular activities, and study plans in these weekly charts too. I also have the full year plan at the very front, so I can look ahead to placements, exam weeks, breaks, anything.

I put together all of my assessments in one document which I keep near the front of the ring binder. It reminds me of the assignments every time I open the folder, and lets me keep track of deadlines and learning objectives.

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For my every day notes, I try to keep things as small and light as I can. It saves my back and leaves more room for snacks in my bag too. I bring one plastic envelope folder, which I aim to sort out the night before so that I can enjoy those extra few minutes in bed instead of pulling apart my ring binder looking for the right notes. In writing this post I’ve had the idea that maybe I should keep my weekly planner pages in that folder too – I’ll try it out and see if it makes any difference.

 

We only have one or two written assignments per semester, so I keep those in separate folders. I always end up printing heaps of research for assignments so I prefer to keep them out of my regular class notes. If I need to refer back to them for something it’s a little easier to pull out the right part.

 

And then I have my giant placement folder. I keep copies of my placement evaluations and learning objectives in here, as well as copies of my clinical skills book. I have a record of every day that I attended placement, the hours I worked, and the names of my preceptors, as well as the guidelines for my scope of practice for every placement. If I get any handouts or take any notes I keep them in here as well. The folder is pretty full already after just one year so I might need to take a few bits out and store them somewhere else. Remember, it’s all about adapting to changes during your course!

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So, why Work the World?

As part of my blog series about my Cambodian elective, I want to talk a little bit about why I chose to go with Work the World.

 

No age requirement: some of the companies I had considered had certain age limits – you had to be under the age of around twenty five, which wasn’t great from my perspective as students come at every age, especially in midwifery. So straight away anywhere with age limits was ruled out, meaning that Work the World was ruled in!

 

The WtW team: I love questions. I love answers even more. And the enquiries team were brilliant at getting back to me quickly and helping me to figure out as many details as I could before I booked. (L, if you’re reading this, thank you!) After I booked, WtW had a student coordinator give me a call to go through all the details of my booking and answer all of my questions.

 

Location, location, location: right back when I started dreaming this whole adventure up, I knew I wanted to go east. I thought about India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, places like that. But for some reason I kept being drawn back to the idea of going to Cambodia. So while I did do a bit of dithering on the website, flicking between different beautiful pictures of all of these WtW locations, I went with my heart and chose Cambodia.

 

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Price: I’d be lying if I said price didn’t play a big part in my choice. Cambodia was one of the lower priced options on the WtW list. Being a student, a realistic price was probably as important as how much I actually wanted to go to a location.

 

Ethics: this was a pretty major factor. I’m very aware of the “white saviour” complex, and “volun-tourism”. I did not want this trip to just be about my learning and my life experience and my dream. I wanted to make sure that my experience wouldn’t be at the expense of other people. The people are the most important. So, I was really relieved to read that Work the World has a strong ethos when working with their partner hospitals. They pay the hospital for every student they take. They donate equipment regularly, liaising with hospitals every few months to see what they need most. They also buy from and employ locals as much as possible so that money flows back into the communities.

 

These reasons all pointed me towards Work the World as the right team to help me on this journey to my dream. Keep an eye on the blog for my next post about this adventure, or go to our facebook page!

 

The current fundraiser is Laura’s SAVE OR SHAVE  

https://www.gofundme.com/shave-or-save-for-work-the-world&rcid=r01-153027137226-3d88d7ed65584217&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

I’m going on an adventure!

If you follow my facebook page or my instagram you’ll know that after years and years of dreaming, I have booked to go on an elective midwifery placement in Cambodia for six weeks in the summer of 2019.

 

I’ve been dreaming about this for as long as I’ve been dreaming about midwifery. I’ve looked at multiple companies and locations. Ultimately I decided to go with Work the World. They have no age limits, a good ethical history, and were so helpful with all my questions (of which there were many) before I actually dived in and booked.

So in March, just before my second placement block, I went ahead and booked my dream. I don’t think the reality of booking it really hit me until a few days later, then I started crying and literally hopping around the place with excitement! I think my parents still don’t really believe that I’m going but there is absolutely no stopping me now! Especially as one of my loveliest classmates has booked to come along with me on this amazing journey.

 

I feel incredibly lucky to be in a position to start this adventure off. Booking alone cost €350 and with extra costs like vaccinations and flights I can easily see this tipping into €4000 by the time it’s all added up. So I’ll be doing a lot of fundraisers over the next year to earn as much as I can. I’ve already done the 2018 Women’s Mini Marathon, splitting what I raised between my fund for this trip and the Rape Crisis North East centre. I’ve set up a GoFundMe (link here) where anyone and everyone can vote on whether I should shave my flame hair or save it. And I’m hoping to make use of my self care hobby – cross stitch!

Cross stitch was something I detested in Junior Cert Home Ec, but I’ve learned to love it. It’s methodical, it’s routine, it’s hard to make a mistake. And it’s not an expensive or messy hobby, which is a bonus. A few girls in my class have asked me to make similar pieces for them so the little bit of extra money I make from them goes straight into my adventure savings!

 

I’ll keep updating as things develop but for the short and sweet versions make sure to follow our facebook page here