It’s around this time of the year that I pick up and move into the third floor of Snell Library, bring out my laptop and notebooks...and then proceed to panic. It’s not that I’m a bad note-taker, it’s just that my handwriting quality and focus seem to decline as the weather gets nicer and the promise of time off approaches. Plus, it’s hard to listen, process, and write at the same time-especially in April.
I once read about a Georgetown student who advertised for a personal assistant, but unfortunately, my college budget doesn’t allow me to hire one myself. What my budget does allow, however, is to buy notes that are more organized, appealing, and legible than mine-from Notely.
Not to sound like an infomercial, but for collegiettes reading this from under piles of loose leaf in Snell Hell, “Have no fear, Notely’s here!” Not familiar with Notely? According to the website, “Notely breaks down the difficult concepts and takes you through them step by step. The notes also take you through example problems showing you the proper way to apply the concepts.” Note packets are created by students in your class, so they relevant to what is being taught in your classroom.
Notely is the brainchild of Northeastern sophomores Maroun Najjar, a computer engineering student, and Jacob Mulligan, who studies business. Maroun entered the idea in the Husky Start Up Challenge (where it eventually won first prize) after an 8 hour study session for a calculus exam. Maroun recalls walking out of the library and thinking, “Crap! I didn’t learn anything valuable.” He was inspired to create a better way to learn.
“Notely is something that can really help a lot of people. The goal is to help people improve their grades and understanding of the courses that they are in,” says Jacob. Notely’s goal, however, is not to let you slack off. The notes are meant to help you succeed, not sleep in, insists Jacob.
Maroun adds that the packets are “meant to make studying more efficient and actually help you learn the material.” So if you have trouble getting everything down on paper, prefer to listen instead of take detailed notes, or if your handwriting is atrocious and your classmate takes beautiful typed notes with graphics, Notely may be your answer.
“How someone pays attention in class is different for everyone. Some take notes, some don’t, and that’s not wrong. [Notely] will help them a lot. I go to Macroecomonics and I take notes, and this is good to lean back on,” says Jacob.
In the store section of the website, notes run between $0.00 (the first week of some classes) to $7.99, but most seem to average around $4.99 (likely what you’re paying for your Argo Tea fix…which you may not need since Notely will likely cut down your library time). The notes are delivered to your inbox, and while the model originally started as weekly notes, the majority of Notely’s note-takers and buyers have opted into having comprehensive packets arrive as a quiz or exam is approaching.
From Macroeconomics to Anatomy and Physicology II to Calculus, Notely covers mostly science and math classes at the moment. Maroun and Jacob have plans to expand to other classes next semester, but note that they cannot be in English classes. Notely is not allowed to provide analysis or opinion based content and can’t interpret text or poetry for students.
However, the existing classes are still useful even for those who may not be engineers or computer scientists. Journalism and International Affairs students (and maybe some fellow HerCampus writers) may shudder at the memory of Mathematical Thinking. If Notely existed three years ago, I would have suffered less by using the organized Mathematical Thinking notes that begin with “The Quick Reference Guide” page. The page explains the most important concepts without forcing students to flip back and forth through notes.
All of the note packets follow the same template and flow of simple, quality, and easy notes. “We really value quality,” stresses Maroun.
Take great notes and want some cash in your pockets? Notely not only helps struggling students, it also rewards those who take good notes and want to profit off of them. Note takers are put through training after they are hired that explains what the company is looking for in terms of quality notes. Notely is currently looking for note-takers for next semester. The notes also go through an extra layer of quality control to ensure that the notes are easy to follow and are without mistakes.
An entry on Maroun’s blog echoes a common college problem: “Textbooks suck and college is hard.” With finals already here and summer classes not so far behind, it’s easy to get buried under piles of those sucky textbooks, but it’s even easier to purchase, print, read, and learn.
To learn more about Notely, request a note-taker in your class, become a note-taker or to BUY NOTES now, visit Notely.org or “like” Notely on www.facebook.com/Notely.org.