Quick word about school supplies. ‘Tis the season, fa la la la la.
Here are Dr. Yo’s guidelines for purchasing school supplies:
- If your teachers recommend certain types of notebooks, paper, and other school supplies, always get what they want. It shows respect, willingness to learn their way, and who knows, they might actually have a good reason :-). If you haven’t done it their way before, don’t prejudge – give it a shot.
- If you know what organizational scheme works best for your learning style (either because you’re an older high school student or a younger precocious student who uses words like precocious), then stick with it. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And try not to lie to yourself: you know whether your notebook setup has served you well in school up to this point.
- If you’re in middle school or early- to mid-high school and haven’t thought too much about spirals versus loose-leafs, pockets versus dividers, college-ruled versus wide-ruled, forget about how everything looks. It’s all about academic functionality. In my own experience as a student, I always found the 3-ring, loose-leaf binder is the most versatile, even if it’s not the coolest. Get one for every major subject, along with a packet of dividers for each one, which you can label, for example, Notes, Homework, Quizzes, Tests, In-Class Essays, Take-Home Essays, Worksheets, Labs, Extra Credit, Graph Paper, etc. After the first class or two, it should become clear which categories make the most sense for each course. Think about how your grade is determined in that course and have category dividers for the major contributors.
I know what you’re thinking: “Why 3-ring binders, Dr. Yo, and not the much hipper, trendier, lighter, colorful spirals? Aren’t the ones with pockets for handouts just as good as loose-leafs? Besides that’s what all the popular kids get.” Maybe you wanna copy the cool kids in their choice of sneakers and hairstyles, but ditch them on the school supplies, ok? 3-rings are clumsier and uglier and, okay, nerdier than the sleek spirals, but with dividers they’re way more functional. You can easily move papers around, which is impossible (and very ugly) with spirals. Teachers HATE paper with frilly edges. And say you’re studying for a chapter test and you wanna study your notes and HW and quizzes all together. Simple to get to them together in a 3-ring binder–and you can even temporarily put them literally together easily–but not so much with spirals and pockets. By the end of the semester, trust me, pockets are almost always a nightmare.
Again, if you’ve got a system that WORKS for your brain and the way YOU think, awesome. Stick with it. If you think your organization system need an 2.0 upgrade, or maybe a whole new installation, then try it my way. It might just work and change the way you think about and do academics. And it definitely won’t hurt your grades.
We’re here to help 🙂