Day: October 16, 2020

The Importance of Taking Notes

Copyright of the image above belongs UMass Amherst


(Updated, 10/18/2020, 23:39 HST)


From prep all the way to college, to graduate and post graduate studies: The importance of note taking is so relevant to learning. Even in the workplace, during meetings, conferences, client interactions, note taking plays a pivotal role in achieving a greater understanding of the challenges we’re facing. On a personal level, it speaks of our humility and conviction, to accept that we’re not all-knowing–and that learning is a continuous process that must be carried throughout our lifetime.

I remember, when I was in my second year at Kapiolani Community College: Because, I was enrolled full-time. I saw the only way to earn a little to survive, was to apply as a note taker for people with disabilities to the University of Hawai’i. The requirements were: A legible handwriting, decent grade in upper English courses, decent GPA (grade point average), and good listening skills. I also had to show how I note take to get hired. And I did secure the job. I needed to do my duties well, so that the students assigned to me would succeed in their academic pursuits. I have to take notes for them legibly, accurately, and sensibly, to ease the challenges in their respective academic life. And at the end of every class, I have to show my notes to their professors, before I turn them in to the ADA (American Disability Act) Center, where the students can get them in person. I also made it sure to have copies of all class materials to supplement the notes. I had to ensure, I didn’t miss anything that was said and distributed in class.

Likewise, I remember, in one of the eulogies during the funeral service of the late former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, former Canada Prime Minister Brian Mulroney shared his deep admiration for his beloved friend, seeing President Bush Forty-One took notes during an important event that they both attended. President Bush Forty-One did so to understand other nations’ leaders’ point of views, and for obvious reasons that he cared.

And those are just two very publicized accounts in light of the importance of note taking. I am sure that most of you, my dear fellow bloggers– who according to many reports are educated–you know the importance of note taking in the professional world. It is a testament to your earnest efforts in taking into account and to remind yourselves the priorities of your organizations or companies. It is evident to you engaging with one aspect of due diligence, which is critical to your integrity and credibility.

For when we take notes, it shows our professional skepticism that no matter how smart we are, we can’t fully entrust everything to memory alone. Simply, because, we can’t afford to miss significant information and/or facts, which could lead us to a sound decision and broaden our understanding.

So, I urge you to reflect in your good conscience, what does it mean when someone shows an empty pad? Especially, during a process that involves hundreds of millions of lives?

So, please tell me, what profession that doesn’t require taking notes? Is there anyone of us, who truly knows it all that would not need any new knowledge at all? Aren’t other people’s concerns and challenges worthy of our attentions and notepads? Is insensitivity an indicator of intelligence or arrogance?

As an aspiring jurist, one who had the privilege of working with and for the finest attorneys in Honolulu: I witnessed them all took notes during client interviews, hearings, depositions, research and discoveries. Some even brought their legal secretaries and or paralegals who took notes as well. And in the end, they compared their notes making sure nothing was unaccounted.

Because, hearing is different from listening. And their defining difference: The latter is both a skill and virtue, which makes listening the very foundation of note taking. For without listening, how can you take notes? And how can you attest that you are fully listening without taking notes?

Thus, if you have doubts on the importance of taking notes in our lives, please get your cellphones: Do you notice by default there’s an app for notes? I am an Apple user since 2010; and I can’t remember a version of iPhone, or iPad and iPod that doesn’t have notes as one of their default apps. Again, it’s because, taking notes is part of our lives. It is integral to our growth: it boosts our productivity; and it supplements our recollection and/or memory.

Lastly, public service is not a show. It involves lives, real lives, including those of generations to come. Public servants (be elected or appointed) must have some reverence to the trust endowed to them. And the least that they can do in exchange of that very precious trust, is to take notes of people’s concerns and to genuinely find time; to ponder and dare to act; strive to make a difference in people’s lives.



Please bear with me; I’m behind on yours. Forgive me. I’d make it up this weekend. Happy blogging to you all. I love you, WordPress!