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Am I the only one who's really struggling when using Excel spreadsheet for lit reviews? It doesn't seem to be very much user-friendly. Any alternatives? 

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On 6/25/2018 at 4:29 PM, Adelaide9216 said:

Am I the only one who's really struggling when using Excel spreadsheet for lit reviews? It doesn't seem to be very much user-friendly. Any alternatives? 

I’ve been using a google form, but it still put everything into an excel file when it’s all said and done. But I always be sure to include keywords to make it more searchable. 

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In what way do you use Excel for lit reviews?  It wouldn't occur to me as the tool of choice.  I've used either Mendeley (adding my review in the notes section), or in Evernote.

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3 hours ago, E-P said:

In what way do you use Excel for lit reviews?  It wouldn't occur to me as the tool of choice.  I've used either Mendeley (adding my review in the notes section), or in Evernote.

I use basically this system - https://youtu.be/1EAuzLutf8M

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One thing I wish I'd had for lit reviews/notes is a "reMarkable" tablet. I'm in my third year now, so the $600 price tag's a little too much for me at this point, but I would seriously consider it were I to start again.

The tablet uses E-ink like a kindle and is super nice for marking up papers and saving all of your notes in PDF form. You can then synch them to the cloud and access from a computer.

In retrospect, this would have been a HUGE time saver (and I think it would have saved my eyes from reading so many papers on a computer screen) (and I think it would have saved a few trees from all the papers I've printed out). Since it's not a laptop as well, I believe there's less of a tendency to procrastinate on it with email or surfing the web.

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The ipad 2018 is cheaper and can do a lot more than this tablet. I find it to be a life saviour with the apple pen for reading and taking notes. Bit pricy but worth it for me, especially because I save so much money on printing and it almost serves as a second monitor to my laptop.

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After reading through all 23 pages, I think I've managed to compile the most salient (at least for me) and still relevant pieces of advice as far as grad school supplies 

  1. Laptop - While most people have a laptop, it was recommended by several people that folks in a new laptop (unless yours is less than two years old) and make sure you get an extended warranty (one that will hopefully last the entirety of your program).  Note: look into funding opportunities for laptops within your department. Some will finance a new laptop for incoming grad students! 
  2. Desk - L-shaped came highly recommended, given the extra space. While i love my little desk, I may invest in a larger one by year 2. 
  3. Chair (Desk) - Investing in a good chair was stressed many times. You will likely be spending many hours hunched over a desk. get one that will be comfortable for your back, but won't put you to sleep. 
  4. Chair (Reading) - a separate reading chair was recommended for those hours upon hours where you'll be reading. a comfortable chair or couch was recommended.
  5. Printer - there was some debate regarding the pros/cons of a printer. In an increasingly digital age, I don't think a printer is completely necessary. ESPECIALLY because so many universities have printers available and printing costs included within stipends. But this will depend on the person
  6. Scanner OR File Cabinet - One person had recommended getting a file cabinet and regularly organizing it so as not to fall behind (if you are someone who likes having physical copies of everything, then go for this option). HOWEVER, someone then chimed in to say screw a file cabinet. just get a scanner. and i thought that was an excellent idea! just scan everything you need and chuck the physical copies (unless its like your birth certificate or something) 
  7. Coffee - Coffee maker, coffee carafe (to keep it warm for those days of marathon working), french press. you get the idea. ALTERNATIVE: electric kettle for tea drinkers 
  8. Large Water Bottle - lets be sustainable folks! 
  9. Snacks - for those long days 
  10. Wall Calendar 
  11. Dry Erase Board 
  12. Noise Cancelling Headphones 
  13. External Hard Drive
  14. Dongles - actually didn't see folks write about this, so I'm adding it! Dongles/adapters are constantly changing based on your device. Get the one that is specific to your computer to HDMI and VGA, and you should be set for most campus systems! 
  15. Paper shredder - unless your campus has a shredding removal service like my current one has. I'd say take advantage of that
  16. Travel - Luggage, toiletry bag, international travel adapter/converter, etc. You will presumably be traveling a bunch! Get the right travel accessories if you can
  17. Desk accessories - post its, highlighters, pens
  18. Notebooks - it seems like everyone has been unanimously pro-moleskine notebooks on here. mmmm I'm not! What *EYE* recommend is going to your local art supply store, and buying sketchbooks from there. They are usually so much cheaper. And most art stores have artist and student memberships available, so you can get major discounts. I just showed a sale and got all my notebooks and pens for less than $30. Just my opinion 
  19. Software - Just some of the software that came highly recommended and that I felt like was still relevant today: Evernote. Zotero. Scrivener. CamScanner. Nuance. iStudiez 

Most of this is hella obvious. But some of these I hadn't even considered! And its nice to think about these things early so you have enough time to save up or search the internet for deals. I curated an Amazon wishlist based on the information i listed above. Let me know if you'd like me to post it here and make public! 

And remember: 90% (if not all) of this is OPTIONAL. Let's not make academia seem more inaccessible than it already is. You will excel regardless of whether or not you have these things.  There's always borrowing. lending programs through your university. free services through your libraries. There are options! 

Hope this is helpful to those reading this post 8 years later! It was certainly helpful for me. Aside from curating a great list of things i want, it also helped distract me from decisions this week ://////

Edited by magnegresswrites

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5 hours ago, magnegresswrites said:

After reading through all 23 pages, I think I've managed to compile the most salient (at least for me) and still relevant pieces of advice as far as grad school supplies 

  1. Laptop - While most people have a laptop, it was recommended by several people that folks in a new laptop (unless yours is less than two years old) and make sure you get an extended warranty (one that will hopefully last the entirety of your program).  Note: look into funding opportunities for laptops within your department. Some will finance a new laptop for incoming grad students! 
  2. Desk - L-shaped came highly recommended, given the extra space. While i love my little desk, I may invest in a larger one by year 2. 
  3. Chair (Desk) - Investing in a good chair was stressed many times. You will likely be spending many hours hunched over a desk. get one that will be comfortable for your back, but won't put you to sleep. 
  4. Chair (Reading) - a separate reading chair was recommended for those hours upon hours where you'll be reading. a comfortable chair or couch was recommended.
  5. Printer - there was some debate regarding the pros/cons of a printer. In an increasingly digital age, I don't think a printer is completely necessary. ESPECIALLY because so many universities have printers available and printing costs included within stipends. But this will depend on the person
  6. Scanner OR File Cabinet - One person had recommended getting a file cabinet and regularly organizing it so as not to fall behind (if you are someone who likes having physical copies of everything, then go for this option). HOWEVER, someone then chimed in to say screw a file cabinet. just get a scanner. and i thought that was an excellent idea! just scan everything you need and chuck the physical copies (unless its like your birth certificate or something) 
  7. Coffee - Coffee maker, coffee carafe (to keep it warm for those days of marathon working), french press. you get the idea. ALTERNATIVE: electric kettle for tea drinkers 
  8. Large Water Bottle - lets be sustainable folks! 
  9. Snacks - for those long days 
  10. Wall Calendar 
  11. Dry Erase Board 
  12. Noise Cancelling Headphones 
  13. External Hard Drive
  14. Dongles - actually didn't see folks write about this, so I'm adding it! Dongles/adapters are constantly changing based on your device. Get the one that is specific to your computer to HDMI and VGA, and you should be set for most campus systems! 
  15. Paper shredder - unless your campus has a shredding removal service like my current one has. I'd say take advantage of that
  16. Travel - Luggage, toiletry bag, international travel adapter/converter, etc. You will presumably be traveling a bunch! Get the right travel accessories if you can
  17. Desk accessories - post its, highlighters, pens
  18. Notebooks - it seems like everyone has been unanimously pro-moleskine notebooks on here. mmmm I'm not! What *EYE* recommend is going to your local art supply store, and buying sketchbooks from there. They are usually so much cheaper. And most art stores have artist and student memberships available, so you can get major discounts. I just showed a sale and got all my notebooks and pens for less than $30. Just my opinion 
  19. Software - Just some of the software that came highly recommended and that I felt like was still relevant today: Evernote. Zotero. Scrivener. CamScanner. Nuance. iStudiez 

Most of this is hella obvious. But some of these I hadn't even considered! And its nice to think about these things early so you have enough time to save up or search the internet for deals. I curated an Amazon wishlist based on the information i listed above. Let me know if you'd like me to post it here and make public! 

And remember: 90% (if not all) of this is OPTIONAL. Let's not make academia seem more inaccessible than it already is. You will excel regardless of whether or not you have these things.  There's always borrowing. lending programs through your university. free services through your libraries. There are options! 

Hope this is helpful to those reading this post 8 years later! It was certainly helpful for me. Aside from curating a great list of things i want, it also helped distract me from decisions this week ://////

Awesome list! However, you left out something I think is the second most important supply behind a computer, and that is a good planner/planning system. You can go electronic or physical as suits your personality, but make sure you have one! I never used one until I entered grad school, but now I would be utterly and hopelessly lost without it.

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I was wondering if anyone could weigh in on a professional looking backpack? My friend is a current grad student and says most people tend to carry backpacks (as opposed to briefcases or book bags). Anyone have any suggestions on ones that didn’t kill their backs?

Thanks in advance! 

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On 2/19/2019 at 8:42 PM, Anonymouse124 said:

I was wondering if anyone could weigh in on a professional looking backpack? My friend is a current grad student and says most people tend to carry backpacks (as opposed to briefcases or book bags). Anyone have any suggestions on ones that didn’t kill their backs?

Thanks in advance! 

I am trying to decide myself, and leaning to a tote/backpack hybrid as I will not carry too much weight in my bag.

https://www.loandsons.com/products/edgemont-600d-recycled-poly-onyx

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On 2/19/2019 at 6:12 PM, Anonymouse124 said:

I was wondering if anyone could weigh in on a professional looking backpack? My friend is a current grad student and says most people tend to carry backpacks (as opposed to briefcases or book bags). Anyone have any suggestions on ones that didn’t kill their backs?

I love my Swissgear laptop backpack! It's a pretty sleek design and it has a professional feel to it. It also has a doctor's bag style hinged opening which makers it really easy to fill with books, notebooks, snacks, etc. I carry all my course materials in it for 10 hour days and have plenty of room. It's a really durable fabric so I think it will hold up well over the years.

I also have a long term shoulder issue (one of my shoulder blades doesn't sit in the right place) and this one doesn't cause me any pain (provided I don't over fill it).

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Thanks for the awesome lists, everybody! I'm looking at getting a new iPad and was wondering if any grad students have a good way to get a deal. I know Apple offers an educational discount or sometimes gives you headphones (I'm hoping they do an Apple Pen bonus before the start of next school year). Any advice or tips? I'm looking at the current iPad Pro and Apple Pen.

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On 3/4/2019 at 4:18 PM, futuredrb said:

Thanks for the awesome lists, everybody! I'm looking at getting a new iPad and was wondering if any grad students have a good way to get a deal. I know Apple offers an educational discount or sometimes gives you headphones (I'm hoping they do an Apple Pen bonus before the start of next school year). Any advice or tips? I'm looking at the current iPad Pro and Apple Pen.

I'm also looking at getting an iPad. From what I can tell, the price on Amazon is currently cheaper than what Apple offers for an educational discount on their website! But I'm curious if others have suggestions for getting discounts.

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On 3/8/2019 at 1:27 PM, morawel said:

I'm also looking at getting an iPad. From what I can tell, the price on Amazon is currently cheaper than what Apple offers for an educational discount on their website! But I'm curious if others have suggestions for getting discounts.

If you have a current ipad you can trade it in at apple for some credit toward a new ipad. With the amount of fakes/refurbished ipads that go around, I will only purchase my apple products from apple. They usually do a promotion in July for free headphones, which might be too late for me as my current computer is through work and I will need to turn it in in June...

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On 1/26/2019 at 7:37 PM, Adelaide9216 said:

Do you need to buy more GBs space from Google Drive in order to do that? 

Hey! Sorry for just now seeing this but no I haven’t bought any extra storage while using this system

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Which iPad do you plan to get? I want a Pro but can't decide on size.

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On 3/8/2019 at 12:27 PM, morawel said:

I'm also looking at getting an iPad. From what I can tell, the price on Amazon is currently cheaper than what Apple offers for an educational discount on their website! But I'm curious if others have suggestions for getting discounts.

Holy crap the amazon price is way cheaper!  Looking at it right now (for a basic iPad) is $250 wifi only, 32GB.  Usually I buy them a model or two old on eBay to save money but that's actually worth buying new!

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