So another year is starting, but of course, it’s not like anything we knew before. Starting a new year can be exciting and scary, and that’s why I’m here to give you some tips to succeed. These five tips helped me keep up (and catch up) my first semester of college because it’s definitely different from high school. Some things in this article may be obvious, but some might not, so I hope this helps!
- Get a Planner
Getting a planner will help keep things in one place and will make it way easier to stay on top of things. If you find a cute planner (and maybe some stickers) and make sure it’s something you like, it will help to keep you motivated. Make sure it has all the sections you need, as well. Personally, I make sure my planners have both monthly calendars and weekly calendars to write everything in.
- Gather Your Syllabi
Whether you download, print or just view them, familiarizing yourself with your syllabi is essential. Not only do they help you know what assignments are coming up, they also help to keep track of all of your professors’ emails and office hours (well Zoom/Webex/Microsoft Teams hours), and let you know exactly how many points that midterm is worth.
- Get Colored Pens and Markers
Getting colored pens and markers will help organize your planner. This way, you can color-code your classes, and everything won’t be in one color. This will help you focus on one class’s assignments, but also won’t hurt your eyes and get confusing. It will also make your planner pretty!
- Copy All of Your Assignments Into Your Planner
First, start with your month layout. Add all of the due dates to this part of your planner. Next, copy these dates to your weekly layout and organize what you have to do when you have to do it. I don’t always look at my month layout, but I like to have it so I can look at the big picture. If I just have the weekly layout to look at, I sometimes get jumbled up. And of course, color code everything! Personally, I write the due dates in colored pen on both the month and week layout. I then draw a small line in the week layout in the colored marker and write the class over it in black ink. This helps me separate what I have to do on each day and not get the due dates and assignments confused.
- Keep Track of Grades
Some extra things I do to help me organize my thoughts when I really can’t focus is taking a sticky note and writing all of my homework for that week. While this makes my planner look messier, it puts everything in one space, instead of spread out on the weekly layout. One thing I do apart from my planner is to create a Google doc with all of my classes and assignments. Essentially, I make my own grade book. This helps me stay on track and have an idea of what my overall grade is in each class. This can be helpful if your professor does not regularly update your overall grade online.
I hope you are able to take something useful from this! Remember, college is much different than high school, but there are tons of people surrounding you that can and will help. Good luck this semester!