Just around three weeks of the Fall 2023 semester have gone by — in a flash. Classes are picking up, extra-curricular activities are in full swing, and work schedules are finalized. Everyone stays organized in different ways, but here are three ways that help keep me prepared:
- Google Calendar
I am a huge advocate for Google Calendar. As August winds down and the Fall semester approaches, I am adding my classes, work schedules, and e-board meetings into my Google Calendar so that once the semester starts, I pretty much know when I’ll have time for other stuff — like eating, doing homework, and office hours when I inevitably need help in one of my classes. GCal has features to add events, but you can also add things like “focus time” or “tasks.” Tasks benefit me, especially during syllabus week, for big-ticket items like midterm exams, significant papers, and final projects. Focus time can help build time into your schedule when you can do work or be productive in another way. Whether it’s exercising, doodling, or painting, finding time for de-stressing is key when the semester is busy! Google Calendar lets you do all of that!
- A handy-dandy notebook
Have you ever been in a big lecture hall when a professor is explaining an upcoming exam? Everyone is trying to get every word down about the exam format, but because of the volume of students, the wifi goes out! There is nothing more frustrating.
Another way I stay organized is by keeping a small notebook — mine’s actually a reporter’s notebook — on hand to write down quick notes. In class, I’ll have it open to write down reminders to myself if an assignment deadline is changing or the professor mentions something I want to remember. The equivalent of this is using the Notes app on your phone, but I love writing things down. Not only is it easier to remember the things you write, but sometimes you can’t always have your phone out in class.
The small notebooks are also helpful for the other random things that come up during the day, like tasks you remember you have to do, grocery lists, and more.
- Writing to-do lists daily
The third way I stay organized is by writing to-do lists for the next day, every night. You could splurge on the fancy to-do lists you find walking around stores like The Paper Source and Target, but I prefer to use my notebook (a multi-talented queen!) to write my list. I start by writing down my schedule for the following day, which includes class, work, and any other meetings or events that may have popped up. Then, I’ll write down any assignments or discussion points I have due. Finally, I write down anything I should do to get ahead of the syllabus if I have any gaps in my schedule. I also write down if I have any errands, like a grocery list or picking up textbooks. This keeps me organized during the day, especially as the chaos of being a student is distracting!
With all sorts of things going on, staying organized is the key to success for your grades, but, more importantly, for your mental health. As my dad (and Taylor Swift) says, “Failure to prepare is preparation for failure.”