The #1 School Supply No Student Should Live Without
Some people are naturally the type to feel like they need a planner, while others try to miraculously remember all the things that they have to get done without one.
Teachers try to drill the idea of using a planner into their students’ minds from elementary school forward and it always comes across as the “adults do this so you should do this” kind of advice.
However, I know first-hand how busy you can get during college and how it feels when it seems like you’ve overcommitted yourself to everything. So make no mistake about it, if you want to make it out of college alive, you will need to purchase a planner.
Reason # 1 – It gives you great perspective on your time management issues if you compile all the things you have to get done in one place.
Do I really have time to go watch movies with my friend?
Obviously your class schedule is a great place to start. I write down all the times that I have class every week, even past the point in the semester that I know my schedule. If you’re working, write your schedule for that in, too. And then I even write in the more vague kind of plans. If I know I have an empty block of time on Monday night, I might write something in my planner like “look over my math work.” Even if I don’t have something specific to study or work on, I’m more likely to use the down time productively rather than watching Daria re-runs on TV.
Reason # 2 – You won’t be as likely to lose track of assignments.
This is a great way to break the habit of scribbling down assigned readings or papers you need to write in the margins of your class notes.
You always tell yourself, “I’ll totally remember this when I get home” but in my experience, that really means “I’ll remember this as I’m trying to fall asleep tonight or when I’m on my way to class tomorrow morning.” Being able to look over everything that you’ll need to have done for the next day (or even the next week) means that there’s one less thing to mentally juggle.
Reason # 3 – You’ll see what you’ve got done.
When the semester gets really busy, those long days can take a hard hit on your morale.
Sure, you finally got that research paper done but you still need to straighten up the citations and then move on to reading two chapters for another class and then there’s that exam in a couple days.
Being able to check off the things that you’ve gotten done allows you to visualize what you’ve already accomplished while still showing you what you need to do.
Reason # 4 – It can serve as a resource for other information that doesn’t have a better home.
Need to talk to someone about that paper you’re writing? Why not put their phone number in your planner, where it will be on hand rather on some long-lost scrap of paper stuffed in the pocket of your backpack. Same goes for the password for the WiFi and the URLs for the website that you have to use to turn in your psychology assignments.
During the first week of classes, I make sure that I write all of the classroom numbers inside one of the covers of my planner so it’s really accessible and I won’t have to fumble with a print-out of my classes.
Reason # 5 – Current technology makes planners even more useful.
The old-school notebook-style planners work just fine, but also consider an electronic planner (especially if you’ve got a smartphone that will sync to it!).
I use a program (iCal on Apple computers) that syncs between my computer and my phone, so even if I add something on my phone, it will end up on the calendar on my computer too. This is great for recording my work schedule (when I probably wouldn’t have my notebook planner with me).
Many programs offer the ability to change the priority level of entries, too, so you’ll have a digital list of what needs to get done and what needs to be done first.