New Semester, New Start

The new semester is here. It’s time to change out of your pajamas and head back to school. While the shock of going to class again is reverberating throughout many students this week, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal that leads to disorganization and further pain as the semester rolls along. I borrowed a few study and organizational habits from high school students and my experiences in college to help you all prepare for success in 2018. Let’s look at a few ways to start strong again at Pickens Technical College this semester:

Do What You Have to do to Stay Organized
Everyone wants to be more organized. Everyone puts that down as a New Year’s Resolution. But how can you do it? Many thought leaders in this subject have all kinds of specific products and services they use to keep their deadlines straight and the schedule together, but in the end, every organization plan is different.

It depends on you as much as anything else to find a good organization plan and utilize it every day. For me, I use several methods to keep everything in order.

First, I have a master calendar. It’s a cheap desk calendar that I hang on my wall with thumbtacks. You can find all kinds of fancy wall-hanging calendars, but for a simple, no-frills calendar with plenty of space to write in your events and deadlines, I find the desk calendars are the best. They also cost a fraction of what the large wall-hanging calendars with pretty decorations cost.

Using different colored Sharpies, I create a calendar with all the deadlines, ‘life events’ (such as doctor’s appointments, reminders to call my mom, etc.), and important dates recorded in one place where I can read it at a glance. I try to plan as much of my month in advance, but since more deadlines and important dates will inevitably come up, I set aside some time every Monday morning or Sunday night to plan my week as best I can. But the write-in calendar isn’t the only way I keep track of shifting deadlines and ever-changing ‘life events.’

Make it Easy to Plan
Part of what makes planning ahead so onerous is the time it takes. For quick additions to my calendar, if I’m on the move or don’t feel like writing everything out on my wall calendar, I use Google Calendar. It’s easy to access and add to on my phone, it automatically sends me notifications of events in advance, and it catches everything I don’t write in Sharpie. I try to make these calendars match up at least somewhat to avoid confusion, but as long as you have some record in advance of deadlines for tests, papers, etc., you have the power to prepare adequately for them.

When it’s Time to Study, Make a To-Do List
Did you know there’s a free template for to-do lists in Google Sheets? It automatically crosses things off your to-do list when you mark down that you’ve completed a task. I find it’s very helpful to organize my time daily to make sure I’m getting through all the work I need to complete. I can use my Google Calendar and my wall calendar to prioritize projects, get started on things enough in advance to do them well, and fit my tasks into my day every day.

The bottom line is to find a system that keeps you on task and organized. There are a million ways to use all the various programs for organizing your time. Research what services might be useful to you, and stick with it. If you have everything you need to do and when recorded in at least one place, you’ve won half the bat

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