We are more than half-way through January (how is that possible?!) and many of you are gearing up to head back to school. That means a new semester, new classes, and of course, new syllabi. For me, a new semester meant a fresh start—a time to get reorganized and try to stay that way! One of the things I really struggled with in college was scheduling. In terms of getting assignments done, I always felt like I was keeping up, but never ahead of the curve. Something about getting five separate syllabi with a bunch of deadlines seemed so overwhelming.
I’m a big-picture kind of person and a visual learner so I need to see things in front of me. I came up with a system my sophomore year that helped me stay organized and on top of my academic and social life.
At the beginning of every semester I’d make four calendars (like the one pictured above)—one for each month of the semester. I’d sit down with my syllabi and put all the major assignments for each class on the calendar. Eventually I also started adding each professor’s office hours to them so I’d know when to schedule time to go to their offices and ask questions if I needed to.
Then I’d print out all four calendars and pin them on the bulletin board in my dorm room. This way, I could see the entire semester laid out in front of me. I could see which weeks would be the busiest, which assignments overlapped, and how my extracurricular commitments and plans would impact my schedule. For example, if I had an event on Monday night and a paper due Tuesday morning, then I’d aim to finish the paper that weekend.
I know so many people use different apps to keep organized—I do as well (more on that in another post), but I also found it so useful to be able to glance at my wall instead of pulling up my Google calendar or flipping through multiple syllabi to figure out which deadlines were coming up.
This system helped give me a sense of calm because I always knew what was coming up—just make sure to double (and triple!) check that you typed all the deadlines in correctly and that you update them as the things shift during the semester!