Erika Romero

a student and teacher of children's and young adult literature

Category: Student Life

Keep Organized: Creating Your Ideal Digital Filing System

 

Fall semester has officially begun. We’ve found and created tons of resources for our students, and we keep finding more to potentially use in our courses. We’re working on multiple research projects, and we’ve compiled a giant list of resources to read through and potentially cite. We’re getting ready to download student assignment submissions from our LMS’s assignment tab, so that we can access them without needing access to the internet. And, if you’re in the coursework phase of your graduate degree, you also have documents from those classes to keep organized. All-in-all, we’re all likely drowning in .docx, PDFs, .jpegs, and other file types. What we need is to create our ideal digital filing system, so we never have to worry about losing vital documents and we can always know where to find what we’re looking for. In today’s post, I share the steps I’m taking to create my ideal digital filing system, so that you can perhaps adapt them to best fit your own needs. At the end of the post, I provide information about a PDF I created that has six templates designed to help with creating your new system.

 

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Three Digital Notebooks for the Tech-Loving Writer

 

I moved up the post scheduled for today to last Monday because I wanted to give new college instructors at least a week to integrate my top ten teaching tips. Today, I’ll keep things brief by going over some basic details about the three digital notebooks I’ve created for any of my website’s visitors. The hyperlinked PDFs are all available on my “Create” page, or you can grab them all here: vertical one, vertical two, and horizontal. They work in a similar manner as my digital academic planners, so you can find tips on using a hyperlinked PDF here and here. If you’re already familiar with using hyperlinked PDFs in annotation apps like GoodNotes, I hope you find these notebooks useful! [They’ll work on desktop PDF annotator apps, but the portability advantage of these notebooks is limited to those with access to tablets/iPads, or perhaps a smartphone).] If you’d like a few basic tips before getting started, though, keep on reading this post.

Digital Notebook - Erika Romero

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Back-to-School: College Advice from a College Student & Instructor (Budget, Cooking, Classes, Life)

 

Last August, I posted every Friday as part of my back-to-school month series. I’ll be sticking to my usual bi-weekly schedule this year, but last year’s college advice is still relevant, so I’m focusing on those four blog posts today. In case you weren’t reading my blog at that point, I’ve linked and briefly summarized each post here and have added two additional tips for every topic. The first original post includes advice for saving money, the second is all about college classroom tips, the third about kitchen tools and easy recipes, and the last about helpful YouTube channels. I definitely recommend taking the time to read my older posts, especially if you are a college freshman and/or a college [grad] student moving to a new city/state.

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Top Productivity Apps for Teachers, Students, and Writers (Trello Templates Included)

 

Using digital tools to help with productivity isn’t a new concept, of course, as there are dozens if not hundreds of websites and apps designed for this specific purpose. [Many pins on this topic can be found here.] Because there are so many options out there, though, it can be hard to know which ones are even worth trying out to see if they work well with your particular ways of planning projects, building habits, and/or going through the writing process. In this post, I describe my top productivity apps, a few of which I rarely hear mentioned among my peers, friends, and family. While most of the apps listed are made to be completely customized by the individual using it, Trello’s collaborative nature inspired me to create templates of the Fall 2018 semester to share with any teachers or students reading this post. Keep in mind that I use Apple products, so some of these apps might not work with non-Apple devices.

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Pinterest Tips: Using Pinterest Boards as Resource Archives

 

Pinterest is a visual search engine first, and a social media website second. Yes, you can follow people and/or their boards on Pinterest, but that’s not a vital element of the site like it is with sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Rather, in my opinion, Pinterest is a great search engine to use when you’re looking for resources on topics that interest you, and you want to see dozens of options instantly rather than having to scroll through Google or Bing, reading each listed link one by one. The visual nature of Pinterest is really appealing to me (and many others), and the organizational element of Pinterest boards makes archiving the resources you find and/or create extremely user-friendly. In today’s post, I offer a few tips for using Pinterest boards and go through my main Pinterest boards in case you’re looking for resources connected to the topics that I focus on in this blog.

 

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Top 5 Resources for Buying or Creating a Digital Planner

 

In this last June post, I’ve listed three digital planner creators that I think have each created some great digital planners. I have not used any of these planners myself, as I’m still deciding if I plan on using a digital planner long-term. I have seen quite a few YouTube videos and reviews related to these planners, though, so I definitely think they are worth checking out if you’re looking for an upgrade. If you’ve stumbled upon this post and haven’t read the first two in the series, just click here and here to catch up. The first post includes PDFs of two planners I’ve made, in case you want to give a free one a try before purchasing a professionally made digital planner.

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Top 5 Tips for Using a Digital Planner (including Good Notes tutorials)

 

In my last post, I described how I created a digital academic planner and offered two free, hyperlinked PDFs that you can use to try out this digital system. If you don’t have a digital planner yet, I suggest going to that post first and downloading one of the options. For those of you who want to upgrade to a professionally-made planner before the new school year begins, I’ll be listing my top five digital planner options/online shops in my last June post in two weeks. Today, though, I’m offering my top 5 tips for using a digital planner (especially on Good Notes). If you want to find out how to make some basic digital stickers and learn about what tools you should definitely be using when planning digitally, this post is for you.

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Planning for the New Academic Year? Try Out A Free Digital Academic Planner [Hyperlinked PDFs Included]

 

I started using a paper planner almost two years ago, and I’m still finding writing out my plans, goals, and habits to be very useful and calming. Recently, though, I came across a niche in the planner community: digital planners. These planners are basically hyperlinked PDFs that mimic the look of a paper planner. With PDF annotation apps like Good Notes, though, these digital planners can be customized to an incredible extent, all without using any papers, pens, markers, post-it notes, washi tape, stickers, etc. Of course, this form of planning assumes you have a digital tool like an iPad or tablet, so it’s not exactly the most accessible option. I’ve found experimenting with digital planning to be a very fun, creative pastime, so I’ve created my own version that I want to share with anyone who’s reading this post. As I’m assuming that most of my blog’s audience are teachers or students, and as most academic planners start in July, I’ve decided to focus my blog posts this month on prepping for using a digital academic planner for the next school year. Or, really, since it’s just a PDF that you can download as many times as you want, digital planners like the one I’ve made can be used over and over again (as long as you have the space on your device).

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How Does It Work?: A Student (Now Candidate!) Perspective of ISU’s PhD Program Requirements (English Department)

 

For anyone who has been reading my blog for a while, you know that I post a new update every-other Friday. Coincidently enough, today ended up being the day chosen for my dissertation proposal defense. As the defense is scheduled for 11 a.m. CST, this post will go up a few hours later than usual. Still, I thought today would be the perfect day to describe Illinois State University’s PhD program requirements for English graduate students. The dissertation element itself won’t be discussed, but the five steps leading up to it can provide insight for anyone reading who’s interested in applying to ISU’s program or is looking for ideas for creating/revising PhD requirements at their own institutions. Now that I’m a PhD candidate (baring a bit of paperwork), I’m excited to share my thoughts on what I’ve experienced in the last (almost) four academic years.

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Back-to-School Month: Kitchen Tips and 10 Easy Meal and Snack Recipes

 

For our final post this month, I’d like to share some cooking tips and easy recipes for the busy college student (or really, anyone who’s busy and old enough to use kitchen appliances). Eating balanced meals and keeping snacks on hand for busy days is essential, especially if you’ve just moved away from home and are now relying on yourself to cook some or potentially all of your meals. Getting a meal plan is a great idea for anyone living on campus or who spends large amounts of time on campus (especially during lunch time). But, really, knowing how to make at least a few balanced meals can really go a long way when it comes to staying energized and focused.

So, let’s head right into the kitchen!

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Back-to-School Month: 10 Tips for College Students from a Student Who Is Also A Teacher

 

As my fall semester begins in  three days, I thought I’d focus this back-to-school post specifically on advice I give to my students or that I would give to my students if I was their advisor. Unlike the other posts in this series, this list of tips is all about the college experience, especially for any of you who are just starting out or who have come back after many years away from the classroom.

 

The tips aren’t in any particular order and in some ways they might seem a bit repetitive. If you begin to wonder why they are so similar, keep in mind that when a teacher/professor says something multiple times, it’s usually because it’s really important information to remember.

So, let’s read my tips for college students.

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Back-to-School Month: 10+ YouTube Channels for a More Balanced Life

 

For this week’s post, I’ve compiled a list of ten YouTube channels that college students can benefit from, especially if they’ve (you’ve) moved into a dorm or apartment (or house) for the next few years. Only three of these channels are aimed specifically at students (see below in category four); the rest are all targeted to adults in a more general sense. After compiling the list, I realized how skewed it might seem to female readers/viewers. However, just because all but one of these channels are run solely by women does not mean their advice applies only to this particular audience. I won’t get into the potential reasons for this gender imbalance, though of course my own gender plays a role in my choices. For any readers who are not women reading this post, I still suggest checking out these channels to see if they can help you balance your home, health, school, and financial life. I also have an additional list of channels to check out at the end of this post, so make sure to stick around until the very end.

 

Note: Click on the channel names to go straight to the YouTube pages. Click on the individual “playlists/videos” to check out specific videos from the sites. If available, click on the “website/blog” version of these channels to see more text-based (rather than video-based) advice.

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Back-to-School Month: 10 Shopping Tips for Anyone on a Budget

 

Instead of my usual bi-weekly schedule, I have decided to post weekly during the month of August as a way to share some tips for new and not-so-new college students. The posts will have a different theme for their 10 tips, and they will also have plenty of advice that can be applied to people not connected to school life, as well. Most of the advice relates to lifestyle in a more general sense, but a few tips (especially during week 3) will tie directly to school related activities and events. This week’s post focuses on shopping tips for anyone on a budget. Here’s a look at this month’s full schedule:

 

Week 1: Shopping Tips For Students/People on a Budget

 

Week 2: Helpful YouTube Channels for Living a Balanced Life

 

Week 3: Advice to Students from a Teacher’s Perspective

 

Week 4: Fast and Easy Snack/Meal Ideas

 

 

This week’s post has been published today because it’s the first of August. The next three will be posted on Fridays, as usual, though they will occur every week rather than every other. I hope you find plenty of tips that relate to your life this month, whether you’re a student, teacher, parent, or none of the above!

 

 

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Top 5 Tips for Attending an Academic Conference

 

While summer might be the best time for students and teachers to take a break from the fast-paced life of the academic school year, for graduate students and professors, it is also the best time for working on research projects without the distraction of attending and/or teaching classes. In my opinion, it is also the best time for attending academic conferences, as it is much less likely that attending a conference will interfere with any teaching responsibilities.

Luckily for those of us in the children’s and young adult literature field (ChYALit), our major annual conference takes place during the summer months. The Children’s Literature Association Conference (better known as ChLA) usually takes place in June (at least, for the past few years in which I’ve attended). ChLA began in 1973, and it is just one of the conferences I have attended and presented at during my time as a graduate student. As I just returned from presenting at the 2017 conference this past weekend, I decided to devote this new blog post to offering tips on the best things to do when attending and/or presenting at an academic conference. I know I was very nervous leading up to my first conference experience, so I hope anyone new to this aspect of academia (or someone who just doesn’t seem to be having good experiences with it) benefits from reading this post. So, with this introductory information out of the way, let’s get down to my tips. I’ve listed them from least to most important, so make sure to at least skim through until you reach #1 on this list of tips for attending an academic conference.

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