Going to school over quarantine has presented new challenges. Staying on top of everything has become a lot harder, especially with asynchronous courses. With an unspecified meeting time and the inability to know you can reach a professor at a specific time, it is difficult to keep everything straight. This semester especially, professors are making it harder for students to stay organized since they lack that skill themselves.
- Get a Calendar
With the asynchronous courses especially, it is a great idea to set time aside for each class, just like a regular class day. Having a calendar that will keep you organized and will allow you to write out what days are scheduled for which courses. I personally love using Google Calendar. Google Calendar allows you to block out scheduled times for your classes and add notes of what is due that day or the topic you need to cover. You can also add Zoom links in the description so that all your Zoom links are in one place. It also allows you to sync it with the calendar on your phone for easy access.
Google Calendar has been so helpful this semester, and it is very user friendly. Remember to try not to overdo it every day, though. Make your schedule realistic so that you can keep up without feeling overwhelmed. It is also important to schedule time for yourself, whether that be scheduling time to eat, since some of us forget, or do something mind-numbingly senseless because you want to.
- Check Your Email Every Morning
My professors, for the most part, communicate heavily through email. I have gotten into the habit of checking my emails every morning and periodically throughout the day since this is practically the only medium that professors can communicate through these days. Emails are also the main way for you to communicate with your professors. Unfortunately, some professors simply suck at emailing back, which means it could take days for you to receive a response. Something I have found to speed up that process is to “CC” your TA’s or SI leaders.
They will either get back to you or notify the professor that they have an email from you. Checking your email every morning, checking your class pages (whether that be Blackboard or Canvas) and downloading the Blackboard and Canvas app can be a lifesaver. These tools will notify you when grades are posted, an assignment has been added or an announcement has been made.
- Start Your Day With a List
Before you start your day, write down everything you need to do that day. You can get a plain piece of paper or a weekly desk calendar and write it all out. This way you have an idea of what you need to do and what your day will look like. This is extremely helpful if you are anything like me and have a scatterbrain. I have also found it can get you in the mindset to start your day. Seeing your tasks listed out in front of you sets you in the mindset to fulfill your goals, and checking them off each time you complete them gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Staying organized when everything around you is in complete and utter chaos can be challenging. It is easy to get distracted and ignore your responsibilities for the day. Fortunately, staying organized does not mean you have to take hours planning out your week or having color-coded folders.
It can be as easy as knowing what tasks are due when or just checking your e-mail daily. Of course, there are different levels of organization, but do whatever makes you feel comfortable, prepared and organized. Organization is a form of self-care since it does help you succeed no matter how small the task is, so take the time to help yourself succeed for you.