Emma Hartman (ENG’23)
To many people, Google Calendar is just one of the several apps that sits untouched taking up space on their crowded iPhones. However, to college students across the country, and to me and many of my friends in the Kilachand Honors College, Google Calendar is a revered organizational tool without which life would never be the same.
When you first get to college, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you want to do and things you have to do. You’ll have a new class schedule, new friends (and with those new friends, a million plans for lunches, dinners, nights out, nights in, study sessions and everything in between), office hours and tutoring appointments to attend, Kilachand co-curriculars, club meetings, and a million different events happening on campus to choose from at any given moment, from BU hockey games to art nights to musicals.
With so many responsibilities and so many choices, it’s easy for important deadlines and meetings to slip your mind. You don’t need to schedule your life down to the minute, but it can be helpful to write some of these things down in Google Calendar so you don’t forget! Here are some of the most helpful tips for staying organized with Google Calendar that I’ve gathered in my time at BU:
1. Put all of your classes, office hours, KHC co-curriculars, & important academic responsibilities in it.
Not everything has to go in your calendar, but there are definitely some things that should. Make sure to write down when you have class and office hours. It sounds like basic common sense advice, but trust me, it’s popular advice for a reason! In your first week of classes, you’ll also receive a syllabus for each class with info about homework assignments, lab reports, essays, discussion board posting, exams, quizzes, and more. No matter how good you think your memory is, once things get busy, these can be really difficult to keep track of. I like to put due dates and exam dates in my Google Calendar to ensure I don’t forget anything. It’s definitely saved me more than a couple of times…
Also, don’t forget to put KHC co-curriculars in your calendar. They’re talks given by guest speakers and you’re required to go to two of them every semester. Oftentimes, some of the co-curriculars conflict with classes, club meetings, studying, or even plans with friends. I use Google Calendar to figure out which of the co-curriculars are most feasible for me to attend at the start of every semester, which saves me from scrambling to fulfill the requirement at inconvenient or stressful times.
2. Write important details about each event in your calendar.
For all of my classes and office hours, I like to write down information like what building and room the class is in. This is especially helpful at the beginning of every semester when you haven’t settled into a routine yet or when you’re new on campus and haven’t really developed a sense of direction. It’s also helpful when you’re running late and can just glance down at your phone to see what floor and classroom you’re speed walking to. Additionally, I like to write down information about who “Lunch at 12:30” is with or what class the “2pm Office Hours” are for. It’s just easier when you’re glancing at your phone mid-day not to have to think too much about these things.
3. Check your Google Calendar daily!
It’s helpful to write down your schedule, but none of this will be useful if you don’t actually check your Google Calendar on a regular basis. I check my Google Calendar every night when I write out my next day’s schedule in my planner. I usually wind up finding info like a meeting that I scheduled three weeks ago is happening tomorrow or I’m reminded that I have an exam coming up next week so I should start studying soon.
4. Don’t always follow the calendar
I know firsthand that it’s really easy to overschedule yourself in college. Sometimes, some of the best experiences you’ll have happen when you break out of your daily routine. If your friend wants to hang out and get lunch, but you had planned on getting some non-urgent work done, it’s okay to push the work back to a later time. It’s good to plan, just don’t let the planning get in your way of enjoying college! Your Google Calendar should help you, but it shouldn’t ever control you.