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Academic notes - John C. Kirk

Aug. 18th, 2010

09:11 pm - Academic notes

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When I did my GCSEs at school, there was a trend for people to build small bonfires out of their notes after the exams were over. The staff put up notices saying that this was forbidden, and I can understand why it would be a bit frustrating if you spend lots of time/effort trying to teach people things and then they say "Goodbye, useless knowledge!" So, I've hung on to my notes, particularly all the A4 folders from my undergrad/postgrad courses, and my Physics A level. The problem is that they take up a lot of space (and they're too deep to fit onto most bookshelves), and realistically I'm not likely to refer to them any time soon. I spoke to someone recently who said that he was going to scan all his notes in, then chuck away the files; that seems like a sensible compromise, although it may just be a waste of time. (Also, I don't currently have a scanner.)

So, I'm curious: what do the rest of you do?

Comments:

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From:susannahf
Date:August 18th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
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I've kept notes that I think I will refer back to - this becomes a smaller set each year. I do keep my handwritten revision notes, as these are highly condensed and relevant (and come to one small folder for my whole 4-year degree course)
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From:rjw1
Date:August 19th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
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i think i recycled my physics notes a few years back. ones i had written wernt really readbale anymore and keeping photocopies seemed pointless. also my degree isnt really relevant to my job :)

Pre uni stuff has probably been tossed by my parents by now.
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From:shuripentu
Date:August 19th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC)
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All my pre-uni notes are quietly decomposing in a tip somewhere. My uni notes all live in a small cardboard box. (The folders they used to live in have been repurposed. Much tidier that way.) At some point most of them will probably be introduced first to the shredder and then to the gerbils.

I suspect the reason behind the forbidding of bonfires was not due to some sentimental objection on part of the teachers but rather, you know, bonfires. On school grounds, presumably. Set alight by teenagers.
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From:rplackett
Date:August 19th, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
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I ditched all my school notes after finishing university.

My undergraduate physics notes are still somewhat relevant to my job, however i still only use Wikipedia and haven't actually consulted my them in years. They used to have a couple of shelves to themselves but got superseded by Claire's current masters notes. They now live in a sealed plastic crate in the bottom of a cupboard. My only remaining excuse for keeping them is that if i ever end up teaching my own lecture courses i can plagiarize them for structure.

I ditched my PhD notes as they were of much lower quality (my fault not the teachers) than the undergraduate ones and the learning curve is much steeper. If i have to consult these things i'm going to have to go back to first principles anyway.

I would say immediately recycle/burn/compost/papier-mache all your notes if they aren't *directly* relevant to your job. If you ever need to know anything that was in them ever again go to a student bookshop and buy a copy of Young and Freedman University Physics nth edition or the equivalent. It will be a much more effective way of relearning the subjects than reading old handwritten notes. Don't buy the book until you think you need to consult it.
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From:susannahf
Date:August 19th, 2010 09:11 am (UTC)
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My only remaining excuse for keeping them is that if i ever end up teaching my own lecture courses i can plagiarize them for structure.

Yes, that. It's entirely possible that I will be doing this in the next few years.
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From:rileen
Date:August 19th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
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I don't throw them away because, erm, I suck at throwing stuff away.
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