6 Tips to Up Your Hustle in Lecture

Everyone has an opinion about the effectiveness of modern teaching methods, especially the person writing this. I think that we always need to be growing and changing, but some traditional practices have proved to be extremely helpful for me. 

Learning how to listen for valuable information in lecture will help you find better details for writing pieces, and writing essays will aid in -at the very least- writing cover letters. 

I could go on. 

However, something that most people overlook is how valuable good note taking skills are. All careers utilize notes, quote me on it. 

Just my #humblebrag but professors always bring up my notes during office hours. 

Because I believe in the power of notetaking, here are my six tips to taking notes that will hopefully up your notetaking game in life, if not get you an ‘A’ in class. 


  1. Know where you stand on the computer-hand notes debate.


Professors will always begin their classes by talking about how hand notes are better for comprehension and also minimize classroom distraction, but I find this a tad demeaning.  My handwriting is incomprehensible, and scratching out words in pens leaves a page messy and ugly.

Ergo, I love using my laptop for notes. I can keep my page as clean with my delete key, and I can reorganize without having to rewrite. And while you might be tempted to start browsing on your laptop as opposed to paying attention, there are study methods that you can learn to keep your focus. 

At the end of the day, it’s really up to you.


  1. Consult your pinterest folder for note inspiration (watch out for that rabbit hole)


If you are a details nerd like me, this will be so much fun. 

Because I am a huge supporter of going over your notes after class, I have color codes in different categories. For example, I highlight notes that I don’t understand in light yellow, and I highlight important points in a light orange. 

Using text tools (italicizing, underlining) consistently helps me to understand the flow of lecture during review. For example, if I italicize something, it means we switched onto a new subject. 

  1. Don’t waste time making your initial notes pretty

Slides are important, but how the professor explains the topic is more likely to show up on exams. Spend your time jotting down as much as you can, instead of writing every new subject in calligraphy. 

When I take paper notes, I always leave the right side page of my notebook empty. That way you can over your notes and rewrite your important bits and make it really pretty too. This helps your comprehension, and can be posted on your Instagram story. Wins on all sides. 


  1. Ask your professors what they think you should do


Meeting with your professors as well as graduate educators is extremely important (that’s another article), but asking them for their advice in regards to their class is an ultimate power move. 

They know their content best, and they will probably give you their insider opinion as to what to watch out for. They can also correct a note taking habit, or tell you what won’t be as relevant. To quote the ultimate professor, Albus Dumbledore, “help will always be given at [insert your university], to those who ask for it.” 


  1. The distraction post-it


I have unbelievable envy for people who can focus on something for hours on end. In class, I sometimes check my email (or Amazon) to bring myself back to the lecture. This poses problems for people behind me, and I don’t want to be *that* person. 

Therefore, I present the distraction post-it. I usually put it on my laptop, and when I get distracted by a thought or a reminder, I write it down to revisit it later. It keeps your focus while acknowledging your thought process. 


As mentioned before, these are customized to what I know works for me. It takes a lot of trial and error, but part of the fun is trying it out and see what works. Get yourself some tea, some fairy lights, and scope out youtube and pinterest for ideas. Go forth and study smarter, not harder, people!