Emma: I gave into technology and here’s what I’ve learned

Blogger: Emma Bell
Emma completed her Master of Arts degree in editing and publishing in 2014. She is passionate about social justice, animal rights and feminist causes, raising awareness about mental health issues and is a USQ ALLY.

I have always been a self-confessed bookworm, a lover of pretty paper and stationery, a hardcopy, tangible evidence kind of girl. I love the feel and smell of books and I’ve had a callous on my finger from years of handwriting my notes at uni. When I first studied at uni 10 years ago, I would show people this callous with a weird, morbid sense of pride. To me, this callous represented all the hard work I was doing. 

Now if I show anyone, people look at me like I’m a freak. I’m not sure whether they are confused as to why I would be proud of such a thing, or because they don’t understand why I would write out my notes by hand like some kind of chump. And… they’d be right. It is a weird thing to be proud of. But as everyone else around me seems to be constantly upgrading their tech to keep up with the latest trends, I’ve always stubbornly refused to get caught up in the rat race, embracing my technological backwardness with pride.

Even so, it’s hard to defy the digital age and I am slowly transitioning to someone who cannot live without technology, especially when it comes to study.

In honour of this newfound obsession, I’ve compiled a list of seven lessons I’ve learned:

1. Mobility.

No longer are we tied to any one location when we study and write assignments. Using apps like Dropbox and Google docs, once you’ve saved your class notes, lecture slides or assignments, you can access them from anywhere (with a Wi-Fi connection!). The mobility that tech gives us as students comes with many benefits, including being able to travel while we study, hand in assignments via our mobile phones while on the go and manage our time more effectively.

2. You can cut out the middle man.

I used to handwrite notes as I researched my assignments and then type them up as I wrote the assignment. It took me longer than I like to admit to realise that I was holding on to an unnecessary extra step in the assignment writing process. It is so much easier to type up your research notes on your laptop as you go!

3. Short cuts!

You can search for and find information with the click of a button (well, two) rather than spending hours trying to find that one example or quote in your pile of hardcopy notes. Those two magic buttons? CTRL + F (or command + F for my Mac friends)!

4. All the information in the world is at your fingertips (almost).

Your campus library probably has all the answers you could ever anticipate needing (I know ours is pretty great!), but how amazing is it that you can read online journal articles and ebooks online as well as borrow and reserve books for assignments from the comfort of your own home? 

5. Word count.

Remember when you had to physically count every individual word of your essays when you wrote them out by hand? I can’t imagine ever having the patience to count the 25,000 words of my thesis without the help of Word’s word count functionality!

6. Don’t become over reliant!

Technology makes so many things easier. The downside of this is that it can make us a little blasé about the things we might ordinarily pay more attention to, like spelling. Don’t always trust the spellcheck function, and make sure you’re using Australian English spelling rather than American!  

7. In case of emergencies

As great as it is, technology can be a fickle friend. Sometimes, our computer friends fail us, shutting down without reason or explanation, removing all trace of that assignment you’ve been working on for hours. To avoid a meltdown that matches your computer’s, always save your work as you go! In order to cover your bases, save assignments somewhere you can access from anywhere, like Dropbox or Google Cloud, email a copy to yourself or print out hardcopy versions… just in case!

Embracing the benefits of technology doesn’t mean you have to give up pen and paper, it just means you will have an even more diverse skill set that will improve your resourcefulness in every area of your life!

With easy access to the many benefits of technology, why not make the most of it? The world of online study is at your fingertips so you can work, travel and stay at home to achieve your study dreams. 


Related:

Apps to help you study on the go

Kiris: How to ace study with technology

Roxy: How to harness technology and improve your study