Notetaking for the Aesthetic

Personally, notes are a work of art that have to be aesthetically pleasing enough for me to want to go back and read when studying. I used to have certain notebooks from different classes that I just wouldn’t bother reading. Yeah, I would go to class, take notes, and scribble all over them but once I’m outside of the lecture hall, it’s useless. Why? Because looking at my messy and boring notes requires effort to skim through. The enjoyment I received from learning in class is sucked out and spit onto my college-ruled paper via my boring black ball point pen.

However, being in my 3rd semester of college, I believe to have mastered a way to effectively take pretty notes. It’s not necessarily up to par with “bullet journaling” but it is sort of inspired by it. If you’re interested, here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A pack of multi-colored highlighters. The basic 4-pack with blue, pink, green, and yellow will do. No need for a 24-pack with three different shades of blue.Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
  2. Journals/binders of your liking. Take time to pick out a journal you will genuinely enjoy writing in. Some semesters, I splurged and got leather journals from TJ Maxx. This ensured I would avoid writing messy notes because they weren’t cheap. But this year I settled for some colorful spiral notebooks from Target and binders where the loose-leaf paper is my canvas.Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
  3. Black or blue ball point pens. Get a pen you enjoy writing with. My favorite pens to write with are the free ones you get, particularly hotel pens. They’re thin but inky. Do you, though. Also, I don’t recommend buying colorful pens. To use all the ones you want during class is time consuming and unnecessary.Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Penmanship: It’s something to take into consideration but truth be told, as long as you can understand your own writing, that’s all that matters. At one point I went through a calligraphy phase but have since given up on that career and just incorporate parts of it in my notes.

Bulletting: Figure out how you’d like to bullet and essentially organize your notes. If you’re going to be copying down straight from the power point, you can just use the title of the slide followed by bullets underneath + any additional notes you may want to add. I use a few different types of bullets– arrows, asterisks, circles that vary in diameter, x’s, etc. It’s not entirely random, however. I’ve added meaning to most of these in my head. Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Personalization: To elaborate on my brief interest in calligraphy, I like to add UMPH to my notes by consciously making an effort to always use my best handwriting. When working on titles, I may draw brackets or a fancy line underneath. On the border of the paper, I might add little dots and squiggly lines. All personalization happens before or after class. If I get there early, I’ll pull out my notes and highlight/doodle wherever I feel lacks zest.Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Highlighting: I use the highlighters for two reasons– The first, to continue personalizing the page. When something is colorful in an organized manner, I’m more prone to look at it. The second, obviously, is to point out important information. So I highlight my titles to identify what topic I’m looking for, definitions so they stand out, and the bullet points for pretty. To take highlighting a step further, I also use a key to vary the significance of different highlighting methods.     Underline = Mild importance, context for definition, gist of notes | Boxed = Main point for underlined marks | Normal = Probably of higher importance…Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Visuals: In addition to taking your notes, having doodles, sketches, or little graphics that are relevant to the topic you’re writing about helps you look through your notes and make connections that will help your memory when studying. This can include diagrams that compare and contrast, charts to show pro’s and cons, side texts with fun facts or mnemonic devices.


> If you’re up for it, see if the professor posts the slides or lecture somewhere online prior to class. This will give you an idea of how they teach and you’ll know how to organize your notes while they’re lecturing.

> The best thing to happen since lined-paper: Witeout. Mistakes happen and I lowkey find it frustrating to look at my scribbled mess. Something about it makes me want to just rip the whole page out and start again but that’s wasteful. So, witeout is a great & eco-friendly alternative.

I’ve received several compliments on my notes and at one point thought of selling/sharing them with others (but ultimately didn’t) and that inspired me to create this fun and informal guide to note-taking. The pictures I used are from two classes I enjoyed taking: advertising (my major) & psychology. My genuine interest in those courses motivated my prime note-taking skills so keep that in mind.

Good luck with all your endeavors this semester & may you get A’s on all your exams. 




This past Saturday, my roommate and I, along with several hundred Tallahassee residents and college students, went out and marched in protest of the Muslim ban, a recent executive order signed by President Trump that bans the entry into the U.S. from several predominately Muslim countries and the wall that Trump has proposed to build. The event was led by the Women’s March Florida Tallahassee/Panhandle Chapter who partnered with FSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine.

It was my first time actively participating in a protest and it was an exhilarating experience. We all met up in the Free Speech Zone on the Florida State campus where we were given directions, guidelines, and warnings (specifically those that were more at risk for targeted hate-crimes like people in the LGBT community or Muslims participating) in case someone from outside the protest wanted to get violent with us.

The march ran all the way from FSU to the Florida Capitol building where we had guest speakers share personal stories about how the ban affects them and/or their loved ones. It was inspiring to hear their stories because they were fighting for something they believe in which was that we should be helping those in need, not shutting our doors (or building walls) on them.

Some of the phrases we shouted while marching were humorous and others were very truthful so I thought I’d share them:

“Donald Trump, you orange clown, build a wall? We’ll tear it down.”

“Say it loud, say it clear: Refugees are welcome here.”

“Power to the people. No one is illegal”

“When Trump threatens Muslim lives, resistance is justified.”

“Do not shut U.S. doors on people hurt by U.S. wars.”


While we were protesting in front of the Capitol, people in cars flicked us off and shouted while others honked in support. It saddens me to know that people agree with the hateful rhetoric Trump spews but also seeing hundreds of others in solidarity gave me hope. Here are some pictures of the march:

The Start of Spring Semester

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted on my blog & I have a feeling every one of my intros from here on out will start that way. Life gets busy, what can I say?

Winter break was fun! I got to reconnect with my closest friends as well as make some new ones. I’m one week into Spring semester & I’m happy with all my classes. I signed up for ADV3008: Intro to Advertising and I am beyond excited for it. While in class, I had the realization that this class and subject felt right to be in. It’s something I can see myself doing and that’s a nice feeling. I hope I don’t change my mind and I hope things do work out but I’m taking it day by day.

Some of my New Year resolutions include:

  1. Gym 5 out 7 days, let’s get it.
  2. Straight A’s this semester, dale.
  3. Apply to an internship or get involved with an organization.
  4. Learn to code. This will be a gateway to my life long dream of becoming a hacker.
  5. Spend more time practicing my graphic design skills.
  6. Learn more about philosophy/philosophers & read poetry.

We’re half way through the first month of 2017 and I hope it’s treating you well. I have a good feeling about this one.

The Start of College

First week of college and we got hit by hurricane Hermine. Now, a month into college, things are settling down, and so far it’s going well!

There are so many things happening on campus all the time. There was an involvement fair last week where I signed up for a bunch of different clubs–Advertising Club, Portuguese Club, Photography Club, Design Club, Crossfit & a bunch of other ones that show up in my inbox from time to time. I try to go to the gym everyday and I find myself at the library often.

I’m still working on time management. Some days I feel like I have a lot of time to get everything done while other days I stay up until 3AM just to catch up.

My dorm is slowly starting to feel like my home away from home. My roommate, Esmeralda, & I get along pretty well & are into the same things. Here we were going to our first game– FSU vs. Charleston. FSU won!

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Me and Esmeralda before our first game: FSU vs. Charleston!

Here are some pictures of my dorm:

I took some pics of campus so hopefully I’ll be able to upload those to my blog soon! Here’s to the start of college..

The Start of Senior Year

About three weeks into my senior year and things haven’t been quite easy. All my classes are AP and in addition to that I have a yearbook to create. I’m not complaining though. I like how things are going. I naturally enjoy being busy! It’s my last year of high school and I’m just trying to make the best of it. I’ve already had several fun times with my friends. This past week, we took some photos after school in our crowns. Here they are!

(Some seniors are missing from these pics.)

Difference Between Social Media Platforms

I love social media. I really do. However, if you sit back and think about all of the platforms– Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Snapchat, Vine– you’ll notice, they all do the same thing. What’s the difference? The audience. And that is what determines how and what you post.

Photos, filters, videos, captions, likes, favorites, shares–each social media platform is a different combination of these things. These applications all serve the same purpose by doing and having similar features. However, their strength does not lie in their features but in the audience using those features.

For example, most professional companies/businesses tend to use Twitter and Facebook to reach their customers. They engage with them, share promotions with them, as well as advertise to them through those social media platforms. It would be unusual to see law firms posting selfies or pictures of documents on Snapchat or Instagram.

For news organizations, the best and fastest way to get information out there would be via Twitter and Snapchat. A tweet is short and quick. A snap is limited yet informative. Chances are, there isn’t enough time to create a graphic with information about something that happened minutes ago and then post it on Instagram. By then, the news won’t be so #BREAKING.

Vine has transformed the way businesses, news organizations, and personal bloggers share information and experiences. With only seven seconds of footage, information is quick and straight to the point. Videos don’t have much room for creativity, but when they are, it’s definitely worth looping.

All social media platforms serve to connect people to people. In doing so, they each  have their own set of characteristics that define their niche. Facebook is more family-oriented and business-heavy. Every refresh on Twitter consists of a whole new set of tweets about entirely different topics. Instagram is photo-heavy and serves as more of a reflection of the day for most users as well as a quick blog post. Snapchat is basically a live-blog that is updated throughout the day with videos, pictures, and geotags. Vine is a creative-challenge that tests users on how much content they can fit in seven seconds.

All these applications have the same features yet they are all used in different ways in accordance to their distinct audiences. That’s why they exist and that’s why they can’t technically cancel each other out.

Hope this explanation helped you better understand social media. If you like’d what you read, check out another story I wrote about this topic: The Power of Social Media.

I Am Officially Official

My journalism class is currently my most important class. It’s more than just doing assignments and getting grades. It’s the one class that I believe is genuinely preparing me for my future. With the help and support of an amazing person, Mrs. Borges, my future looks bright.

One thing she’s taught me is that, as journalists, we’re always networking. That being said, it’s important to keep up your appearance and what’s more professional than a business card? BAM! So, folks, here is my officially official business card.

We’ll be in touch.