As a reader, my most effective strategy has always been notetaking. Of course, I skip this step when reading purely for leisure. However, if the material relates closely to my field of interest, I find it crucial to engage with the text actively. I firmly believe that writing and speaking are intertwined, which is why many of our professors use PowerPoint presentations in their lectures. Similarly, when it comes to reading, listening, and comprehension, I think writing plays an indispensable role.
As an academician, notetaking has always done wonders for me. Recently, I attended a seminar on literature and ecology, even though ecocriticism is not my primary area of research. Nevertheless, I didn’t refrain from keeping my pen poised, meticulously noting the reading titles mentioned by the speakers. In fact, I went a step further and summarized each speaker’s presentation in real-time. Admittedly, I might not revisit these notes in the immediate future, but in the broader context, I realize that my future self might develop a thirst for knowledge in the field of literature and ecology. Thanks to this conference, I’ll remember that I have these notes to guide me on a path of exploration. Armed with newfound curiosity, I won’t feel lost.
I acknowledge the challenge of attending numerous academic talks and seminars. Does this mean I’ll diligently take notes for each one? The answer is a resounding “yes.” I won’t create extensive, detailed notes like I would for a formal course or class, but I will certainly compile concise, summarized notes for my future reference. Furthermore, I’ll expand my reading and watching lists based on anything mentioned by the speakers. Incidentally, I maintain this list using Google Sheets to keep my baggage from becoming unnecessarily heavy.
This is precisely why I consistently engage in the practice of writing while I read, listen to lectures, attend conferences, or seminars. Initially, it may seem like an unconventional exercise, but as you embrace it and witness its effectiveness, you come to appreciate the tremendous value it adds to your learning experience.