I can’t guarantee that I am always focussed and organised with my university work, but I can guarantee that I always look like I know what I’m doing. Here are some of the things I do at the start of each semester of university to make sure that I am fully prepared to start off the new term.
Get a planner
It doesn’t matter if you are a digital person or a paper person, I think that the only way you can possibly remember all your appointments, schedules and deadlines is by making a note of them somewhere safe. As soon as you know what classes you are taking this semester, make note of the times and rooms somewhere. Some classes even tell you when your deadline are, so get them noted down too… even if you’ve not started learning anything yet! Paper planners do not have to be expensive at all, you can pick them up for as little as £1 at a high street shop. But if you want to splurge out, then I would definitely recommend my Erin Condren Life Planner. If you are more of a digital kind of person, I love my iCal calendar too, especially because you can make multiple calendars in different colours. I organise one for each of my classes, as well as a work and social life calendar.
Become an expert
No, I don’t mean in your subject choice (although that is hopefully what you’re at uni for!). One way that I feign knowledge in classes is by becoming a total expert on the classes. By that I mean knowing information like class times and room, lecturer name, deadlines and most importantly how the class grades are broken down. Particularly for classes that have lots of essays or assignments, you may find that work is broken down into different percentages. For example, you may do two essays worth 20% of your final grade each, followed by an exam at the end of the year to make up that other 60%. I’m no maths whiz though, so I keep track of my grades using a handy app called GradeCalc. Knowing information like this off the top of my head allows me to prioritise my work and decide if it’s really worth it to skip a certain lecture (usually it’s not!).
You may think I’m mad, but I start working towards deadlines as early into the semester as I can. There’s nothing worse than those people who lecture you about starting an assignment the night before it’s due, but trust me when I say your life will be so much easier if you don’t do that. Some of my classes tell me what the essay questions will be for the class before I have even had my first lesson. I pick which question I want to do as early as possible and begin saving all my notes to a special document. Colour code, of course, and add small pieces of research to the essay plan. By the time things get hectic at the end of the semester, all I have to do is type the essay up… all the work was already completed weeks ago!
Just a short blog post today, funnily enough I made the error of leaving a bit of university work later than I meant to, so I have been devoting time to that instead of blogging … learn from my mistakes!