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How Buying a Planner Saved My College Career

Managing the stress of college can be an extremely difficult task, and keeping up with everything you have going on can often feel nearly impossible. I used to think I could remember everything as if I was some kind of supercomputer. It seemed to work pretty well until I got to college. This is where it all changes. This was the moment in my life when I realized I wasn’t a supercomputer. In fact, I was more of a Macintosh. 

The reality is none of us are supercomputers (no matter how much we wish we were).

After asking a few friends, talking to some professors and searching the internet, I finally found a solution to my struggles: a planner. I’m not talking about a digital planner. I’m talking about a physical, paper planner. It has become a college essential for me, and I don’t go anywhere without it. 

Although we live in an era where everything is digital, a paper planner can drastically change the way you organize your day for the better! I have never done well with an electronic planner; I can’t seem to stay completely focused when my Instagram feed is just a click away. If you can relate to that, I would definitely recommend a paper planner.

After a few years of perfecting my paper planner organization skills, I have found some great tips, tricks, and reasons to plan out those goals, track those assignments and keep those upcoming weeks stress-free. 

  1. Paper planners help us remember

Your parents can probably vouch for this. They know best that people used to write down everything in their calendars in “the good old days” before our electronic world came about. They’ll probably tell you it can possibly help you more than a computer. Although it can be hard to admit sometimes…they’re right. This is because writing stimulates certain brain cells to increase our ability to focus.

Research conducted by Pam Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel Oppenheimer of the University of California Los Angeles, suggests that writing by hand increases memory retention and understanding. In their research, Mueller and Oppenheimer compared students who took handwritten notes to those who typed notes on their laptops.

The study concluded that there are benefits to physically writing notes, while typing actually impairs learning because of the way our brain processes information. In their research, Mueller and Oppenheimer explained that “there is something about typing that leads to mindless processing and there is something about ink and paper that prompts students to go beyond merely hearing and recording new information.”

Taking the time to write down your assignments, activities and classes into a planner can ultimately set you up for success and can assist you in remembering your upcoming weeks better! 

  1. Paper planners give us a moment to be tech-free

As students, we are almost always on our laptops. When we are spending countless hours in front of our screens, it can be difficult to find time to pull away from it. Having too much screen time isn’t healthy for us. When you have a paper planner, you have that opportunity to be offline and also to continue being productive. Planners are a great way to lay out your life in front of you and take the time to appreciate the events that we look forward to. Some people even experience this as a form of meditation!

  1. Paper lets the creativity flow

Paper planners give you the freedom to get creative! When we use online methods, we are really limited in the ways we can make our calendars unique. With a physical planner, you are free to make it yours without limitations. You can draw, sketch, apply stickers, add glitter—whatever your heart desires! Publications such as Seventeen Magazine have also expressed how fun a paper planner can be when we take the time to make it fun and unique.  

  1. Do not disturb mode is always on

With a paper planner, you are notification-free. With an online planner, we are constantly shifting our attention to other things like unread emails, software updates and social media notifications. With a paper planner, you can escape those distractions and take some time to just focus on you and your life ahead! 

Paper planners have truly saved my college career. I feel more organized, I am happy when I have a little bit of time away from my computer and the planner lets me see all of the amazing things I have to look forward to each month. I feel as though I have established a safe space within my planner, and I am thankful to have all of my activities, goals and notes in one easy place. Having a planner is one of the best decisions I have made thus far in college. With this year nearing its end, I can already tell you that I am looking for my next planner to use for my days of 2022!

Madison is a student at The University of Florida majoring in Journalism with a minor in Graphic Design. Madison is a positive individual who loves astrology, Harry Styles, and any kind of iced coffee. When she isn't writing, you can find her shopping for plants, playing Mariokart with her friends, and perfecting her strategies for making the perfect avocado toast.
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