With four weeks to go in the semester classes are in full-gear and my workload is continuing to increase, so I have had ample opportunities to change my everyday behaviors and work towards my goal of going paperless. This has been more challenging than I expected. Although I am enjoying getting to use my iPad everyday to do readings for my classes, I’ve found it’s taking me longer to finish readings. For example, last week it took me over an hour to complete the McShane reading when it should’ve only taken me half that time because it was a relatively short reading. I had to keep going back and re-reading sections because I was having a hard time staying focused because I wasn’t physically putting my finger on the page and manually flipping it. I was also having a difficult time getting used to annotating the reading using the Adobe app I downloaded. The highlighter wasn’t working exactly as I wanted because as I traced my finger along the sentences I wanted highlighted, the highlighter would jump and highlight the next line that I didn’t necessarily want highlighted. I also haven’t quite figured out how to take notes in the margins. However, the hardest part of this challenge has been organizing my notes for the readings when studying for quizzes. I usually like to have “finished studying” and “need to study” piles when reviewing readings, and using digital copies doesn’t allow me to do this. I know this is going to be very difficult over the next week while studying for the next exam.
I am enjoying having smaller folders to carry around that are not packed full of readings and only contain printouts that were given out in class. My now thinner folders are serving as reminders of my quest to live more sustainably and making me feel good about it. I have started to think about other things I can do to reduce my paper use, and while researching this, I came across an initiative that Yale University has put in place in attempt to go paperless. The top link below describes how 500 sheets of paper uses 6% of a tree and how there are many “hidden costs” associated with paper use that are mainly linked to printing, both of which have served as Yale’s motivations for going paperless. Yale has set a goal to reduce paper use by 10% over the next 3 years and has created a website where members of the community can go to get ideas about what they can do to reduce their paper use (the second link posted below).
Participating in the challenge thus far has made me realize how dependent we are on paper and how difficult it is to break habits. But I am also realizing that the benefits of going paperless will outweigh the work it takes break these habits. I hope that others can realize this too and share my joy of having thinner folders.