'Ur so good omg': Insta fans go nuts over perfect study notes

Perfect notes: US studygram superstar Jasmine Shao, 16, aka studyquill, has more than 200,000 Instagram and 300,000 ...
Perfect notes: US studygram superstar Jasmine Shao, 16, aka studyquill, has more than 200,000 Instagram and 300,000 YouTube followers.  Photo: Instagram

Their handwriting is so neat it makes you weep.

They monitor their own moods using colour-coded graphs and turn cell diagrams into works of art.

Welcome to the world of studygram, whose top practitioners attract hundreds of thousands of online followers.

'Your notes are so organised and pretty': Georgia Woodhead's biodiversity study notes were admired by her followers.
'Your notes are so organised and pretty': Georgia Woodhead's biodiversity study notes were admired by her followers. Photo: Instagram

While in 2018 most students use laptops to take class notes and revise, exponents are going retro by preferring fancy pens, stickers and plush blank spiral books.

They then show off their handiwork in pristine Instagram posts and YouTube videos, set-designed with rows of pens, tape rolls and other "stationery porn". Fans post comments like "GOD HOW DO YOU WRITE LIKE THIS", "YOUR NOTES ARE SO ORGANISED AND PRETTY" and "Ur so good omg".

Devotees also keep "bullet journals", or bujos, filling blank books with sumptuous lists and graphs to record their appointments, the novels they’ve read and even how often they floss their teeth.

Stationery retailers such as Kawaii Pen Shop (kawaii is a term for the Japanese culture of cuteness) sponsor some journallers to promote their product.

Although just 16 years old, Jasmine Shao, from the US, is a studygram superstar, with 300,000 YouTube subscribers and 212,000 Instagram followers.

She uses the name studyquill, and has the Harry Potter character Hermione as a profile picture.

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Week after week, Shao posts her immaculate school notes, be it for French verbs, vectors or the European renaissance.

In her latest YouTube video: Plan With Me November, she draws a calendar scheduling maths tests and Thanksgiving, a "habit tracker" graph to colour-in hand-drawn raindrops every time she flosses her teeth, and a finance tracker, with columns for amount and description of expenses.

In the voiceover, she frets about how insecure she is with the way her bullet journal looks. Happily, her followers leave adoring comments such as "Beautiful as always, Jasmine! (heart symbol)" and "Wish my handwriting was as nice as yours lol (heart symbol)".

Handwriting and layouts to die for: US teenager Jasmine Shao (aka studyquill) is the social media studygram queen.
Handwriting and layouts to die for: US teenager Jasmine Shao (aka studyquill) is the social media studygram queen.  Photo: Instagram

One of studyquill's Australian followers, Georgia Woodhead, of Geelong, has her own Instagram page, called himestudies (hime means ‘‘princess’’ in Japanese).

Its academic entries boast neat sentences in point form, brush lettering headlines, highlighted sections and diagrams.

Ms Woodhead, 21, a third-year zoology student, says her studygram helps, rather than distracts from, her studies.

The art of study: Geelong zoology student Georgia Woodhead with her uber-neat and arty study notes (studygrams).
The art of study: Geelong zoology student Georgia Woodhead with her uber-neat and arty study notes (studygrams).  Photo: Justin McManus

‘‘By taking the time to make the notes neat, it actually helps me think about it, rather than just scribbling stuff down and I don’t remember it,'' she says.

In bullet journals she also posts, Ms Woodhead beautifies drab appointments such as ‘‘clean bathroom’’ and ‘‘return library book’’ with sketches, photos and beautiful headings.

She has monthly themes such as Harry Potter, rabbits, Japanese food and outer space.She maps out her week and monitors her water intake, sleep and study time.

'It helps me stay organised': Zoology student Georgia Woodhead, aka himestudies, says her bullet journal is not just an ...
'It helps me stay organised': Zoology student Georgia Woodhead, aka himestudies, says her bullet journal is not just an art hobby. Photo: Justin McManus

Again, it's not just a fun diversion.

‘‘It helps me stay organised. I’m usually forgetting appointments. The habit tracking part of it appealed to me because it’s an easy way to improve how I’m living.’’

Hannah Sleeman, 20, also of Geelong, aka rosella.studies on Instagram, is among just a few students out of 120 in her classes at uni who writes notes by hand.

But the occupational therapy student has found that the neat penmanship and layout, with colourful flourishes, helps her absorb it.

Her bullet journals - she has about 10 different ones - also put her life in order: she makes lists of music tracks, assignment due dates, job interviews, coffee dates and even when to clean her room.

‘‘I’d be lost without it.’’

She has about 200 pens, from brush pens, to midliners, marking pens, fine pens and fineliners.

She taught herself calligraphy but says not everyone's journal needs to be elaborate.

Some people quit too soon ‘‘trying to make it super creative when sometimes they probably just need dot points’’, Ms Sleeman said.

University of New South Wales educational psychology professor Andrew Martin said the journals can act like mnemonics - aides to processing and remembering information.

‘‘Ultimately the aim is to commit it to long-term memory, so that when you’re in the exam situation you can retrieve that information,’’ he says.

"If you’ve engaged in it, if you’ve organised those ideas, the better the ideas are organised, the easier it is to access in long-term memory and the better you can express it in thematic and sensible ways.’’

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