School is officially here! While I am not exactly thrilled that summer is over, but I am looking forward to my new classes. This semester I was lucky enough to choose ones that I was genuinely in, which is great. At the same time, I need to be more organized than ever before in order to stay on top of all my commitments both in and out of school. Here are some ways to help you do the same.
Organizing Your Classes
You are not going to remember to bring your project in two weeks from now if you do not write it down, and you’re not going to find the notes you that need if they are always crumbled at the bottom of your bag. So make sure to get school supplies that suit your needs. I love planners. I like to use a monthly/weekly planner so that I can write my daily assignments and tasks while planning ahead for exams and trips. For note taking, I prefer to use spiral notebooks, just because it forces me to keep all my papers in one place and I can easily flip between them. I can even pull my notebook out while I commute, and I do not need to worry about my papers falling. I also like to color code my classes. I have been doing this in my schedule and in my planner since middle school, and I find it super helpful in keeping homework and tasks organized.
Balancing Your Course Schedule
Balancing your courses with free time, studying, and extracurriculars can be pretty tricky. I still have not gotten a complete hang of it, but I have found a few things that can help. One is creating a schedule to see how much time you can devote to each commitment weekly. Now, you do not need to follow this schedule perfectly each week, but it can give you a rough outline about how you can spend your time.
In an Excel document make a timetable where you put your schedule including school, work, and any other commitment you have each week. Then you can add in the amount of time you should spend on each commitment outside of the scheduled times. For example, if you know you will spend 6 hours a week studying for a class, and 3 hours a week prepping for your internship put those times in. This may also help you to see if you have overextended yourself, and what you may need to let go of.
Tip: You can have Excel fill in the time intervals for you. Simply enter three values, highlight the three cells, and then drag from the corner of the cells to fill as many cells are you need.
Another important thing to keep track of is your professors’ office hours. I like to create reference sheet in my notebook and planner where I write down the office hours for each professor and their contact information. This way it is always handy. You can also create a time table in excel with this information.
Using the same technique for creating a time table in Excel, create a weekly schedule to see when your professors are available to meet for class.
Related Post: Managing Syllabus Week
In theory, all students are perfect at managing their time and keeping on top of their assignments. Well, you and I both know that is not true. Every semester there is always that one paper that you forget to start early. One way to keep on track with your assignments this year is by creating a spreadsheet in Excel.
Create a column for the due date, class, assignment, and the percent it is worth. Next, enter in each assignment you have for each class. Then, print it out, and put in the front of your binder or notebook for easy access. You can even color code the assignments by class, or add some personal touches to this tracker. Just make sure you will be able to read it easily.
There are plenty of apps out there that can help you track your grades. But if you prefer, you can create your own in excel. Creating one is pretty easy. I did a google search with the keywords “grade tracker in excel” and found tons of articles with detailed instructions. This is a great way to keep track of your grade throughout the semester. You can input your grades as each assignment is returned, and see whether or not you need to improve before it is too late. I have found that keeping track of my grades myself helped me see where I was in a class, and project where I wanted to be. Also, a few times I was able to catch if my professor accidentally entered the wrong grade. If I did not keep my own records and papers, I could not show my professors why I thought they may have entered a wrong exam grade.
Related post: Starting the Semester Strong
Staying organized throughout the semester can be difficult. Especially, when you get stressed during exams, or too relaxed during the holidays. But if you start early and try your best to stick with it – hey, no one’s perfect – you can get through the term in tact. While you definitely do not need to follow all of these tips to stay organized, it can’t hurt to try one or two and get even more organized. Good luck this semester!!!
What ways do you get organized at the beginning of a semester?