So, here I am, 3 weeks away from my exams, just won the semi-final of the internal mooting competition and as yet I haven't printed a single piece of paper for Uni, (the only exception being the bundles of authorities which I've had to submit to my judges in a moot). The question is, would I consider my paper-free semester as having been a success? will I be doing it again? and was it difficult to maintain the commitment to being paper-free.
Well, first comes the confession . . . . I broke one of my rules . . . . I deserve a slap on the wrists. A change in personal circumstances has saw me in a position where I now have to spend a lot more of my life commuting, which in turn means I've not been spending all the quality time that I had planned in the library. I'm sad to say, I folded, I bought some books, which made it a lot easier to study from home. Aside from that I've been paper free, I've not printed off any class handbooks, not written anything on paper and not printed anything out. My wee net-book has followed me to every class, tutorial, moot and study session and has been more than enough, not to mention much less cumbersome than paper.
I've used a few fantastic programs which have helped me out massively:
1. Evernote - a brilliant cloud based piece of note-taking software
2. Sugarsync -another cloud service which synchronises folders form my netbook with folders on my home pc, my android phone and on-line account.
Combined with my wee netbook, android phone and home pc, Evernote and Sugarsync have been perfect. One of the big bonuses about using evenrote is that it allows me to make audio recordings of my lectures using my phone and save the audio files into the typed notes I've taken, great for revision. Also if like me you don't mind sharing, you can email a copy of your lecture notes to anyone from within evernote, dynamite for the times when your study buddy misses a class.
So, has it been a success? yes definitely!
Would I do it again? absolutely!
Was it difficult to maintain the paper-free commitment? Not at all, after the first few weeks it became second nature.
I'd highly recommend that anyone interested in grossly simplifying their lives, take the time to learn how to properly use a few cloud based systems like evernote and sugarsync, learn to type and get over the fear of reading from a screen. I've found the whole process quite liberating and am highly unlikely to ever go back!