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College: How to Keep Your Schedule Organized

Updated on June 16, 2011

Students entering their freshman year in college are always excited about the freedoms that this new lifestyle offers, and all the hype about parties and entertainment distracts them from a very big (and sometimes ugly) truth. College requires a lot of responsibility if you want to succeed.

You're going to have classes, meetings, study groups, tutoring sessions, work-study, and of course some parties every now and then. And, especially if you are living on campus, there's not going to be anyone to hold your hand and direct you where to go.

The first few months of college are crucial to the rest of a student's carreer. They set the theme for the next four years. So if a freshman isn't organized from the start, you can bet they're going to have a fun four years of writing ten page papers at three in the morning.

"But if I'm going to be so insanely busy," you ask, "when will I find time to organize my schedule?"

The answer is simple: you won't find the time. You'll have to make the time. Get used to this.

This article should help you out, though. So don't panic. Let's get started, shall we?

The Anatomy of an Organized Schedule:

An organized schedule should have two things- a long term and a short term.

The long term should be filled in with events that occur on a weekly and monthly basis. This would include all of your classes, work-study,etc...the sort of things that have to be done. The long term part of a student's schedule will be relatively inflexible.

The short term includes what the student wants to do on any given day. This would include going out with friends, starting on a big project or attending a guest lecture, etc. Some of these things need to be done, and others do not. In the short term (or daily) schedule, it is important to prioritize.

Now meet the champions for the long term and the short term.

Meet the Calendar:

The calendar is your best friend when it comes to the long-term.

You've probably met before, maybe just in passing, but if you want to be successful and organized in college, you'll want to get well aquianted with this guy.

The best calendar to get for college is not the kind your bank hands out for free. No flippy pages or giant pictures of kittens! What you want to get is a dry-erase calendar, the kind that you can place on the wall like a sticker and change the month and date with a marker as the year progresses.

As you gain more experience in college, you'll find that you want your belongings to be efficient and multi-function. The dry-erase calendar is one such item. Trust me, leave the kitten calendar at home.


Meet the Post-it Note:

The Post-it note is your best friend when it comes to the short term.

You've met this character before as well, and I'm sure the two of you have had fun together, but now it's time to get serious.'s time to make...some Post-it note magic. You're going to need a lot of post it notes. Like...365 of them. Approximately.

Post-it Note Magic:

This is the part where you bring the long term and the short term together into a highly-functional yet low-tech system. No wires or screwdrivers required!

Step one: peel a post-it note from the stack

Step two: place post-it note on the first day of the month on your wall calendar.

Step three: repeat process until all the dates are filled with a post-it note.

Step four: fill in your long term schedule first. If you have math class at noon every Tuesday, then write "math at noon" at the top of every post-it that's sticking on a Tuesday. If you've got work-study, fill out your schedule on the notes.

Step five: fill in your short term as you go. You might know that you're going to a concert at the end of September before September even starts. Or you might decide to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to the zoo. The short term always varies, so make sure to keep on top of it.

Step six: now that you've got your schedule down on paper, it's time to take advantage of one of the greatest inventions known to man: the Post-it note. Unlike a wall calendar, a Post-it is very portable. Each morning, peel the day's Post-it from the calendar, and take it with you. Stick it to your books, your forhead...whatever. As you go through the day, cross out the things you accomplish. When the day is over, toss the used Post-it in the trash.

It not only works as a great reminder, it also gives you a sense of achieving something when your day's to-do list is finshed and you an cross off the last goal.

Of course, you might not always get everything finshed that you had planned. That's where prioroties come into play. As you make your short term schedule, you should always be thinkign about what you would be willing to put off and what is the most important. Long term items like classes and work will obviously be at the top of your list, while things like a CoD tourney should be lower down.


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