Point to Note, Your Honour!

It’s that time of an already strange couple of years where everyone suddenly, EVERYONE wants to make the most out of 2021 even though between 31.12.2020 and 01.01.2021, the only thing that has really changed… is the date. That said, with a whole lot of academic exercises and new academic adventures coming our way, all of us decided to sit down and put together a few note-taking hacks and tips that literally ANY one can use and flourish with. Don’t believe us? Read on for 3 great ways to improve your productivity AND note taking skills – regardless of whether you are 13 or 93 – with just as little as paper and a writing instrument.

1. A little planning goes a long way:

If you thought this tip is about actually planning how to take notes and you know it’s something you’ve tried and failed in the past (we admit – we have, too!!)… you’re in for a surprise.

Regardless of what kind of paper or book you’re dealing with when it comes to the notes you’re taking, our tip is: LEAVE SOME SPACE AT THE BEGINNING. Whether it’s a few pages of your notebook or the first few lines of the sheet you’re writing on, this space becomes where you can go back and make a super quick but oh-so-useful index of what’s on this page / in this notebook or just generally, the overall summary of whatever is important.

If you have more than one writing instrument, go to town and make this section noticeable when you fill it up AFTER your actual note-taking, to make the important points stand out!

2. Here’s the point:

When writing, especially in class or in a situation when you have a lot of information being incessantly thrown at you while you have to hurry yourself to keep pace with someone or something else, it’s super easy to make your notes look like one big paragraph or one endless song.

Instead, we recommend: MAKING POINTS. If you can’t or it’s likely to take you some time to get used to switching from writing in a paragraph to making bullet or pointed lists, improvise. UNDERLINE the key word or CIRCLE them without it getting too messy – so that on a future date or at a later time when you revisit these notes, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and effort trying to find what you are looking for.

Again, if you want to invest in an additional writing instrument, we suggest our trusty old highlighters because nothing makes a page pop like an occasional dose of neon.

3. It’s all about the font-line (Get it? Hehehe)

We cannot emphasize this enough, but SO many of us forget that IT IS POSSIBLE TO WRITE IN UPPER CASE AKA CAPITAL LETTERS. If you didn’t notice it throughout this piece already, you definitely noticed it now!

No matter what you think of your handwriting and whether you write in clean, unattached font or are capable of writing in beautiful calligraphy (in which case, we don’t have any tips for you) one thing you CAN do, is realize that the entire alphabet sequence is at your disposal when it comes to HOW you write what you have to. We suggest using an all capital font or writing style to draw the attention of your eyes and that of anyone’s who chances upon your notes, to the things that matter the most. Again, this is a super simple thing to do and yet, too many of us fail to remember it when needed.

We hope this was a quick little “Note-Taking 101” lesson for all of you and we really hope that if there is one FABULOUS outcome of 2021, it is that these hacks help you take your note-taking game to a whole new level.

Are there any note-taking tips you use that we haven’t mentioned in here? Tell us and we’d be happy to feature you in our Note-Taking Hacks Part 2 Blog!

Until then,
Shine on!

xoxo
Team Claylab!

The recipe for success in 2021!

Our planet is a home for innumerable life forms. They play their part in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. Like all other species we are just another kind, trying to sustain ourselves and the planet. Though, do you ever wonder what sets us apart from all other life forms? Well… It is simply our ability to constantly evolve consciously and express ourselves without any limitation. Human beings are gifted with vivid imagination and the ability to materialise them through their skill set, talent and determination. These qualities lead to the conception of several dreams and aspirations throughout our lives; and the act of achieving all these goals is defined as success!

Every individual has an idea of what their success story must look like. But while we are treading on the path to attain our goals we must always remember that every person’s idea of success is different. While for some it might be about landing their dream job; for others it could be settling down and having a family. The goal must not be about replicating someone else’s idea of success but in fact, creating our own ideas and making them happen, no matter what comes our way. However contrasting the ideas of success might be for different people, the passage to attain it remains the same.

If we take a closer look at all the successful people that we know, we would notice that all of them share one common trait – Discipline. Neither their talent nor resources, but the simple yet courageous small acts that they perform every single day consistently, make them capable enough to achieve their set goals. Being successful is not about doing extraordinary things but doing ordinary things extraordinarily. It is about focusing on the small things rather than taking a big leap without the necessary foundation. All the glitz and glamour we see around a successful person is not accomplished overnight; they failed a million times before they experienced their moment of glory. The key to success is not, not failing but to never give up!
The man who brought electricity and the first motion camera to our lives, Thomas Edison failed thousand times before he made the first successful prototype of the light bulb. Point being, life is going to pull us down, break us, if it can but the real strength lies in not succumbing to those pressures but getting up time and again to achieve our dreams and ideas of being successful. It is not a day’s journey, so keep at it and keep soaring! After all, there is only one secret to get ahead and that is to get started!


‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.’ – Walt Disney

The Aeroplane

The fastest mode of transport in today’s time is an Aeroplane. It is a modern means of transport.
It was a remarkable invention by the Wright brothers. This invention was a defining moment for the travel industry across the globe. Today, there is barely any place where there is no airport.

They are also multi-purpose. They aren’t just useful to transport passengers but also trade i.e. import and export of goods.
The best part about aeroplanes is that they are super modern and provide numerous facilities to their guests. Imagine being served some tasty snacks and a refreshing drink in the clouds! Doesn’t that sound exciting?

But above all, they are known to save time and cover large distances over a short period of time. One can travel from Mumbai to Seoul within a day. It is a time saving mode of transport.
Aeroplanes have created many opportunities for travellers and tourists in terms of exploring or reaching a destination. Unlike before travellers do not have to travel by roadways or waterways to visit foreign lands as they take several months to do so; flights save time and allow people to visit their dreamland in just a few hours.

Apart from its advantages for travellers, aeroplanes have created opportunities for businesses to flourish and broaden their horizons. This monumental invention has changed our life and made it so much easier.
Aeroplanes truly have brought the world closer!

– Masuma Shaikh, Student at Clay

Welcome 2021!

Parivartanameva Sthiramasti” is an ancient Indian axiom that most of us are familiar with in its translated form: “Change is the only constant”. No matter who you are, where you live or what you do, change does not spare anybody. We were well acquainted with this fact, but it took 2020 for us to experience the solid brunt of its omnipresence. 

People around the globe had awaited 2020 with hopes, dreams, and expectations; all of us had made resolutions and promises assuming that things would go just as we planned. Clearly, 2020 was in no mood for ours and instead, had a few plans of its own, laid out for the whole world! 

Not only did we experience changes in the way we operate and live our everydays, but we also saw a drastic transformation in our thought processes, fears and expectations: 2020 managed to question the very essence of our existence. Having said that though, here we are, at the end of this rollercoaster, standing tall and hoping for a pleasant year to follow.

As we patiently await 2021, let us not undermine the blessings and lessons that 2020 leaves in its wake for us. This year prepared us for adversities (unforeseen!). Though our 2020 resolutions and goals weren’t met as we would have liked, we know as we approach 2021 that there is always scope to create new aspirations. If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it is that – comes what may, the show must go on.  All said and with that in mind, there are a few things that we can do to kick start 2021 with a bang.

As we look forward to the New Year with a few not-so-new-anymore norms by our side, let us help ourselves and the world to be better by promising to do a few simple things – 

  • Let us strive to be kind towards animals, nature, fellow human beings, and mostly ourselves. 
  • If we see an occasion, let us lend a helping hand to those in need and make use of the privileges we have, to uplift the society and thereby, the world as a whole. 
  • Respect our bodies. As the adage goes – ‘Health is Wealth’. It stands true in every situation that life may throw at us. So, let’s eat all the nutritious food we can find and exercise regularly. 
  • As impossible as it may seem, let’s make a conscious effort to try and look at the brighter side of the coin during any crisis.  It doesn’t hurt to remember: ‘Tough situations do not last; tough people do!’
  • Let’s Explore: Pick up a new hobbies. Learn new skills, get out of our comfort zone and constantly evolve with time. Lethargy is the deadliest disease – even if we can’t make it very far from our own homes!. 

And… last but not the least, let us believe in our dreams. This year, we had a pandemic; for all we know, the coming year could be equally unravelling, if not more! Irrespective of what life throws at us, let’s hold on to our dreams. After all, 2020 is proof that persistence makes dreams come true. 


2021 stands before us, like a chapter to be written; so let’s make our words count! This is the beginning of anything we want – so let’s bring the best we have, to the New Year, together!

My favourite dessert and what it means to me!

I have a very long list of my favourite desserts. But talking about the most favourite, it is CHOCOLATES. It is something that makes me a very happy person. I always wait for relatives to come home so that I can get some chocolates, as gifts. For me eating chocolates doesn’t have a fixed time, I can eat them at any time of the day. If someone wants to make me happy they don’t need to buy expensive gifts for me, just a box full of chocolates is enough to make me feel delighted.

I love all kinds of chocolates, be it white, brown or black. Chocolates and I have different relation since childhood to now. Till date, I wait for festivals as you get tons of them during celebrations. They are my absolute favourite, I always wait around for them. 

I have to make so many excuses to eat chocolates. I have to always lie to the world that, ‘it’s the last one’ or that ‘I will eat it only once in a while’ and many more as I love them so much.  The high sugar content does not deter me from consuming them, we all must have a little sugar once in a while; if not, there are so many sugar free chocolates too! They have infinite varieties to eat and I want to try them all.

Chocolate is used by people across the globe and is the one of most important ingredients in numerous desserts. If you love cake and you want to make it more delicious just add a bar of melted chocolate. Not only in cakes, but in all sorts of desserts you may like, just try adding a bar of chocolate, it is heavenly! Oh, and the best part about chocolates is they can be eaten by everyone and yet, there’s still so many left to try! 

But if I have to explain, the need for chocolates in short and why it is so important to me, here are just a few reasons for the same:

  • Makes people the happiest.
  • The sweetest gift.
  • Signifies love.
  • Important factor in festivals.
  • The cheapest thing to get your work done.
  • The handiest thing to carry on birthdays.
  • Combine it with any dessert the result will always be more delicious.

– Masuma Shaikh, Student at Claylab

Every Act Counts!

Human beings are interesting species with respect to their understanding and interpretation of the world. We have an incredibly unique ability to construct and create intricately woven stories. This ability to form schemas, patterns, links and ideas, differentiates us from all other living beings. The most intriguing story is the one that holds the plot together. Would it be a great movie if everything was independent of each other? Definitely not! Likewise, it is with life – It must be intelligible. How do we establish that with absolute certainty?

The answer is quite plain, if we accept one simple truth: ‘Everything is connected.’ Not only does every action have an equal and opposite reaction; every act counts. No act, as simple as breathing goes unnoticed by the universe and its sense of maintaining balance. More often than not, we have a tendency to take things for granted; this arises from a deep rooted integration of ignorance. For instance, we all know discarding waste anywhere else other than a dustbin is not right, yet many of us do engage in convenience over the right act. We think how does one wrapper matter? Imagine if all of us thought the same way, can you fathom the debris all around us? This ignorant callous behaviour not only hinders our personal growth but also obstructs the progress of other people who are trying to achieve their goals. This leads to the formation of a rather vicious cycle, that we do not have the faintest idea how to put an end to.

On the other hand, people conscious of this fact understand their ability to change old patterns and create new ones. For instance, hundreds of people gather on the beaches to clean them up and save the ecosystem, one clean up at a time. An act does not refer to an only a verb, but in fact even our thought process. Thinking however internal is an act. Humans are thinkers, inventors, and creators. We all are great stories and therefore, we must remember, we are significant; no matter how trivial we think our act might be, affects someone or something. This does not mean we redefine our expectations from life but they must be endorsed by a firm and worthy motive.

Be it an act of kindness, strength, courage or fear, if it does not translate into a positive outcome, drop it. If we assume that our actions have no impact, aren’t we questioning the very foundation of our existence? We aren’t responsible for other people but we do owe ourselves the dignity to be thoughtful, centred and mostly, an impactful human being. We must always remember it is not the size of the act that counts, but the sheer thought and intention. We often burden ourselves to change lives but in reality our primary purpose is to value ourselves and our surroundings to the best possible echelon. It is human to make mistakes and be ignorant but so is, to think, learn, grow and change constantly, for the greater good. Remember –
“The theatre of life has no retakes, make every act count. Small acts, when multiplied by millions, change the world.”

Survivors

Hello and a big shout out to all the survivors. We all are blessed with one life, so why do we keep grudges against people. Why not PAUSE, REWIND, THINK. We all have only one golden opportunity, to take the best glance. I want to address one thing, in my early childhood, I used to find this world the best place. A place full of love, kindness, and gratitude, but wait…my perspective began to change as I grew up. I could see vast changes in my thoughts, in society, and people’s behaviour, which made me question myself that why am I seeing this change? I used to have a different perspective when I was a child and now it has changed. How can I find this world good and bad at the same time, and this made me feel perturbed. I had this fixed question in my mind… WILL I BE ABLE TO SURVIVE? Will I survive or sink? But as I told, we have a golden chance and we should use it to take the best glance. Yes, it did take me a lot of time to adjust with the changes and to always look forward. I learnt one thing that life can be good or bad but it does give opportunities to all. Yes, I agree that not everyone in this world is rich and privileged to enjoy the renowned luxury, but we are also not to so poor to enjoy the best luxury of life that is by living and enjoying every moment. Nothing should hold us back, remember that sky is the limit. Even now as we all can see that covid-19 has taken the lives of many. Here, I would want to mention a theory by Darwin which is SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. We all must stay fit physically and mentally and adapt to the changes in Nature. I used to feel so unlucky that I don’t have all the luxury that other kids have, but then I looked at those kids who are deprived of basic education right, I saw an old man begging, people who have lost their hands and legs yet they still ain’t giving up, they all became my inspiration. If they can, we all can!! No matter how tough the situation gets, we all must survive and become the best warriors.

– Kulsum Shaikh, Student at Clay

A FEW BREATHS A DAY, KEEPS THE ANXIETY AWAY!

We all have aspirations, dreams and goals from the time we start comprehending life. The way to achieve these goals or dreams is to go through several tests, obstacles and hurdles that make us stronger and sharper. More than anything, these shape us into who we become.

Of course, these things make a lot more sense when one is an adult and navigating through life becomes a habit. But for those in school, dealing with the pressure of a pandemic that has completely changed lives, the story is a little different.

While we try to accustom ourselves to the unpredictability of the current situation, a few old things continue to be with us, like, examinations. Originally, examinations were meant to test personal growth; but eventually they grew to be tiring and competitive process. The inapt understanding of something so fundamental to this concept, has led to stress and anxiety amongst students across the globe and yet, discarding the idea of examinations seems rather extreme and not healthy for the growth of an individual’s ability and potential. So where does that leave us? How do we deal with the pressure, stress and anxiety before, during and after exams?

While we are no mental health experts, there are ways in which the above questions can be tackled healthily: especially for those who might have an exam or two looming in the foreseeable horizon.

Therefore, here are a few tips to help you kick that stress away and live a little more freely, like one always should:

REWARD YOURSELF: Scientifically, as important as the preparation is, so is the rest you need and deserve. So, treat yourself to breaks after the completion of the portion that was to be studied: do a fun activity or simply sit!

DON’T (ALWAYS) LISTEN TO THE NOISE: While it is great to discuss things with peers it is not necessarily healthy when one is experiencing stress. We all process and study differently. So never compare with your peers.

SPEAK TO SOMEONE: If it becomes overwhelming discuss it – with an adult, a friend, an elder sibling, or just about anyone you think will understand and empathise with what you’re going through. Talking always helps. Get it out of your system.

GET SOME SLEEP OR DO WHAT YOU LOVE: Indulge yourself with some rest and entertainment that your mind requires, without feeling guilty. Don’t forget – all work and no play makes you dull!

EAT AND EXERCISE: Engage in a physical activity (sports, athletics) to sweat the stress out. Mostly, eat well and on time because while studying can be mentally taxing, your body needs its bits too.

AVOID POSTMORTEM: As tempting as it may be, avoid indulging in the need to know how other people have fared. One can only do his/her best and that is all that matters. Remember, comparison kills.

BREATHE: Take a deep breath in and release all the stress whenever overwhelmed. Things are going to be okay.

Lastly, as important as exams may seem, we are more than that. One examination does not determine the course of life. An examination cannot define or redefine who we are. Focus, be sincere and give the best but above all that, remember to breathe. We are meant for bigger and brighter things!

Ray of positivity

       Life = a recipe! Just like a recipe, life is made up of different components which make it tasty and jovial to live! The taste consistency would disbalance if we miss out a component! Interaction is a component that we miss in our recipe of life these days. People started doubting how long they would survive!  And we all found our lives to be so derailed! Social distancing made us so possessive about ourselves that we wanted to be together but the pandemic came into the way. 

       Here social media makes its entry like a hero of an action film! Social media filled up that gap which was getting our life to an extent where it was seeming to be challenging to live! It was a form of pipe that connects places on a wide range and water like communication and virtual interaction could flow freely through it! Teenagers and adolescents being so eager to spend quality time with their loved ones are now able to do so at least virtually. But the most important thing in this is, IT’S SAFE.

       Ignoring the negative pandemic situations and people being deceased outrageously, now we learn to get in touch emotionally! Emotional touch becomes the source of maintaining relationships. Emotions having no limits is a wide range of connectivity source. We learn to let go of things, ignore negative thoughts and get relationships strong even virtually!   

       Taking ‘Health Ranks Higher than Wealth’ to priority, there were safe interactions which made the taste of life a little different but even better! Same taste all the time could be boring, a change could make life so exciting to live! So, that’s what we actually see happening in the world! Nature is healing itself and the world gave us a change in life!

       Observing all this, not only teenagers but each and every person learned to live with a RAY OF POSITIVITY. And this is the most vital impact that took place over humans! It gave us hopes with which we didn’t let the pandemic take hold of us. Doctors fought, policemen took care of people and learning continued. Today, I just take out a couple of minutes to thank that divine power (God) for blessing me with the power to survive out of the pandemic and also pray for the peaceful afterlife for the souls of deceased people. 

    Now life’s getting back to normal but the impact of living with a ‘Ray of Positivity’, making it a part of life will last forever because nature gave us time to make it a habit.

– Rugved Ande, Garde 11 student at Clay

Let’s learn about OURSELVES?

You are NOT Hyper!

Well, here’s the great thing about the brain, it functions differently for different people. Unlike our other body parts that are effectively instructed by our brain to do a certain activity a certain way, our brain enjoys autonomy. Often we might wonder that why do we learn or unlearn things differently than others? That is the absolute beauty of the Multiple kinds of intelligence. While some might just be able to look at something and register it forever, others might feel the need to note it down for better retention and understanding.


Point being, none of us are slow, we just understand things in our own way. This amazing understanding of the mind and thereby the brain was aptly put forth by Howard Gardner in his Theory of Multiple Intelligence. Do not be surprised, but there are eight great ways of being intelligent and yet we all are trying to race to the finish line by the most superficial understanding of intelligence. Basically, whatever majority of the population does, we assume it is the ONLY way to do things and this only damages our unique ability to perceive and interpret things. We literally curb our own unique attribute.


While we are at it, let’s understand the most commonly misunderstood intelligence. It is often seen as being hyperactive, fidgety or rather people who need to engage in some sort of bodily or physical expression. They are rather swift, quick on their feet, LITERALLY and often engaged in two activities at a time, if not more. This is not them being hyper or all over the place but in fact they have superior mind and body coordination than the rest of us. They have this amazingly astonishing quality to use their body parts or the whole body to solve problems or create new tangible things. Oh, also they do it with utmost precision.


What makes them so special is while a majority of us can either do the THINKING or do the DOING, Kinesthetically intelligent people can do both of these activities together with absolute perfection. It might seem as overdrive for most, for them it is simply the way they function. The best way to describe them would be – ‘people who have the ability to move from intention to action rather quickly and precisely.’ The way they remember or retain is specifically by DOING than just hearing or seeing something. They have a more hands-on approach to things.


Before you start putting a face to this type of intelligence, here are a few famous people who might make it easier to understand. Michael Jordan, Jim Carrey, Serena Williams, Tom Cruise; basically the best of the best possess this intelligence and they are our heroes. For everyone who identifies them as a person who feels the need to doodle, note down, who would rather stand than sit, you are not weird and you definitely are not alone, you have Tom Cruise on your side.


We all learn and effectively use learning in different ways. We possess all types of intelligence in different measures. Do not be afraid of doing things differently, that is the exact thing that sets you apart. If the kinesthetic shoe fits, embrace it, Cinderella. You could be a surgeon or the greatest sports person to have ever lived. Doodle and jump your way through life!