Right-handed by chance, left-handed by choice

November 16, 2021 — by Vicky Bai
Photo by Annie Liu

My process of taking class notes looks like this: I skim the presentation or whiteboard quickly, copy the words onto my paper, then proceed to blank out for the next five minutes as the teacher explains bullet points and key terms. No thoughts, head empty. 

But recently, I decided to spice up my notes and homework by writing everything with my nondominant left hand. The struggle of trying to keep my writing aligned, homogenous and readable means that I have to more actively focus on the words I’m writing.  

Now, my eyes remain laser-focused onto my papers, and I repeat words in my head again and again. I’m a perfectionist, so if I mess up anything at all, I erase the entire sentence to rewrite it. Rewriting the same academic material down onto my notes helps me subconsciously remember the material more … or at least, that’s what I tell myself to feel better about wasting time. 

Research shows that writing notes down actually helps with memorization, so by writing with my non-dominant hand, I’m only forcing the information into my brain more. Plus, the challenge is kind of fun.

Practicing writing as a leftie also strengthens neural connections in my brain. That’s right, I’m actually growing more brain cells. 

That’s a claim I don’t think my AP English Language and Composition teacher would agree with though, considering that I decided to write a timed 40-minutes, possibly graded, rhetorical essay with my left hand. Did I try my best? Yes. Was the essay good? Debatable. (I’m sorry in advance to the classmate who will have to peer review this essay.) 

Slowly but surely, I’m going to start doing normal, everyday tasks with my left-hand, like frying Twinkies or splitting my dead ends. Let’s see how that goes.

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