8 Sept 2015

stationery used in my first two years of medical school

In the past, I've had a number of questions enquiring about the stationery I've used during the first two years of medical school. Just to clarify - the first two years for me include a non-clinical year and one of the three clinical years because I'm on a four-year 'accelerated' programme here in the UK.

The main ones used during my first two years were:

- Zebra Mildliners (used as highlighters)
- Pentel Energel 
- Muji gels 
- Lamy Safari 
- Pilot Juice
- Pilot Coleto - multi-barrelled pens are amazing during lectures!
- Faber-Castell pencils

Most of these can be bought in your local stationery shop or online. I've recently shifted over to using fountain pens whenever possible so whilst these gels provide some colour, most of my note-taking is now joined up (no more printing, sob) and written using fountain pen. More on this in the coming months!

Another thing I do is use Muji gel refills in other barrels - they fit perfectly in my Pilot Juice barrels which are much more comfortable when it comes to writing for long periods of time.

The main ones in use were:

- Muji notebooks
- Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks
- Oxford A4 notebooks
- Oxford A4 paper

Oxford paper is amazing: it is a bright white in colour and the quality is super high - fountain pens, gel pens, ballpoints and rollerballs all get on well with it so I can't recommend it enough. Quite often here in the UK, it is on offer in your local supermarket/stationery store too so it is great value for students. I am unsure if it is available overseas but good alternatives are Rhodia and Clairefontaine. My only gripe with Oxford paper is that I wish it also came in a narrow-rule. These loose A4 sheets were filed away in a folder specific for whichever module the notes belonged to.

The notebooks used varied in size and thickness depending on what module/purpose they were used for. My advice is to try and not be rigid about the size and thickness of your notebooks and be open to try a layout/size out of your comfort zone (squared paper is a great alternative to ruled paper sometimes!).

Post-it notes
In terms of post-it notes, I used the bog-standard square ones and also page flags to keep tabs on pages within textbooks/my own revision notes so that I could come back to them easily. I try and stick to the Post-It brand though I've also come across sticky notes from Tesco (a UK supermarket) that are super sticky and are also purse-friendly. 

Lecture Note Taking
In terms of taking notes in lectures, the best thing to do is to find your own style but getting ideas from others on the internet is a good starting point if you're completely stuck. Not saying my way will be the best way for you but I've done posts on note-taking during and after lectures:

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Good luck to those of you going back to/starting school this autumn! It'll be an amazing period of your life so make the most of it and don't forget to have fun too - you can excel academically and have a social life too. 

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