Materials Girl: To sheet or not to sheet

Posted on behalf of Materials Girl

I don’t know how it is for graduate students, but cheat sheets to me are an ironically great way to study. Over the course of several days, I review every inch of my notes and textbooks, then cover a sheet of paper with two or three columns of formulas and shorthand notes – all written with 0.5 mm lead in miniscule, typewriter-esque handwriting. However, after all that work and cramping of wrist, I essentially remember everything and hardly need the compacted notes.

Inevitably, 97% percent of whatever is on the page never shows up on the exam, and the 3% of material omitted or missed does. (In case it weren’t apparent by the cynical undertone, I’ve lately had back-to-back midterms and have more in the next two weeks. Nothing gets the blood rushing like finishing an exam at 12:57 pm, then sprinting across campus to the next at 1 pm…) On the bright side, nothing beats really knowing that you have a strong grasp of material, even without the chance to prove it on exams. A few years down the road, an undergraduate GPA won’t be worth as much as knowledge. Ideally.

As for previous topics, I’ve decided to go for an internship, given the chance. From what I’ve gathered, extra time on a degree wouldn’t make a great difference, while experience would. Also, a few years in the workforce should take care of the extra debt relatively painlessly… It’d be a nice change from the previous summers of all classes and work, as well as an exciting opportunity to learn – especially because lately my assigned “labwork” has consisted of researching and editing proposals. (As much as more funding for our lab would be nice, I’d prefer to save that aspect of the “real world” for later.) So, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping someone wants me