Learning to take better notes

By SARAH HARTNIG

I don’t know about you, but I am TERRIBLE at taking notes. I become too preoccupied with my handwriting, my pen color, the evenness of my characters, etc. until I totally and completely stop listening to the person speaking.

Or worse, I start to try to write down every exact word the professor (or interview subject) says. Then I get caught up in my task, become hyper-focused on my spelling and, just as before, become invariably distracted from the speaker.

I know, I know. You are probably thinking that I need to invest in an inexpensive audio recorder (which I have). But what if I forget it? Or misplace it? Or, God forbid, the batteries run out and I’m left with nothing?

Although I’m not an expert (and do not necessarily expect to become one) in the art of alphabetic shorthand, I have definitely started to browse the internet for shorthand tips to improve my note taking skills, at which time I discovered the benefits of http://gregg.angelfishy.net/analphbt.shtml.

In order to use the alphabet of Gregg shorthand, individuals are required to memorize a number of symbols that stand for letters of the English alphabet. Unlike real letters, however, the symbols utilized by the alphabet of Gregg shorthand uses a series of dashes, dots and lines in order to cut down on the time it takes to write down each figure.

Although the system may, at first, appear cumbersome and difficult to understand (especially as the figures do look remarkably similar), upon studying the various symbols and practicing their use, it becomes easier, over time, to differentiate between the varying angles.

Although the semester is ending and I will not, hopefully, be taking notes for a while, if I use my time off to improve my shorthand skills I am sure I will become a much more effective student and interviewer.

Enjoy!

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