Favourites List: Back to School edition

All my social media profiles have been updated, the goodbye email has been sent out, and soon I’ll be officially going back to being a student. To celebrate my impending lack of a steady income while having to take stats papers, I give you a collection of back-to-school reads.

1. Everybody has always Loved Raymond

I’ll be going to graduate school, and I’m probably going to be at the “older” end of the spectrum. But, did you know that the average college freshman this year was born in 1996? Doesn’t that make you feel tremendously old?

Beloit College in Wisconsin has been issuing these mindset lists since 1998, with a view to “providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall”. The entire list is a fascinating, but more than the big world events (“During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.”), it was the little things that really stood out to me. For example, “When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.”

2. Watch: Get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family

If you watch one thing this week… well, make it David Lynch’s Ice Bucket Challenge. But if you watch two things this week, make one of them this fascinating TED talk by Meg Jay, who has some sound advice for 20-somethings.

3. On how to space your study sessions

The title of this piece is probably a bit misleading. Assuming you managed to make it through high school and college, you’ve probably figured out a bunch of strategies for studying that work for you. But it’s still an interesting look at why some strategies are more successful than others.

And if not, you could always try the gummy bears technique.

4 a. On why you should keep a notebook: a scientific explanation

While more words were recorded, with more precision, by laptop typists, more ended up being less: regardless of whether a quiz on the material immediately followed the lecture or took place after a week, the pen-and-paper students performed better. The act of typing effectively turns the note-taker into a transcription zombie, while the imperfect recordings of the pencil-pusher reflect and excite a process of integration, creating more textured and effective modes of recall.

4 b. On why you should keep a notebook: a more poetic reason

Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.

Joan Didion, masterful as always

Bits & bobs

Why I’ll be borrowing my textbooks from the library, thank you very much.
An iPad made of paper. Just. so. much. awesome.


The Favourites List is a somewhat irregular (usually weekly) roundup of things I’ve enjoyed reading. Expect some fiction, long-form writing, travel, food, technology. I usually link to free content, but occasionally to items behind a paywall (because I think paying for quality content is awesome!).

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