Planning a year of college is an excruciating but a necessary task. It gives you a peek at how your semesters might look like and helps pen down the goals for the year which makes it more achievable. You do not have to write down detail to everything you do, but an overall look at how your year goes by can help you prepare in advance for what lies ahead and how to tackle with it.
When I was in college, my first year was erratic. I did not know what I wanted to do. I was confused about a lot of things. But that year, was completely unplanned for me. As I went to my other years, I started planning out more and hence getting better.
Planning the whole college year in advance? It can be daunting to do so. But with each semester comes a new chance at getting better and achieving your goals. And it is not the difficult really. All you need is around 1-2 hours of a single day and you can plan it out like a pro. In fact, you can download my checklist of the things you must take care of when planning your college year which you get when you subscribe to my email list.
In this article, we will talk about the things you should plan, the things you should not, preparing a schedule, sticking to it, creating a study plan and planning your college year like a pro!
1. Set Realistic Goals and Start Small
This is what many students fail to do. Setting realistic goals is key. What do I mean by that? Say, for example, you want to get on a healthier path. The first few days you’ll be really enthusiastic about it, but slowly you start caving into cravings. When you break this resolution of yours, you leave it be and don’t come back. This is where it goes downhill.
Instead of this, start small. Set your goal that you’ll have healthy breakfast every day, once you get into the habit change it to lunch and dinner with maybe 1-2 cheat days. This way, you won’t give a sudden change to your body but will rather slowly and steadily get into the habit you want to make for yourself.
Setting realistic goals also has a factor of how achievable it is. Say you said that this semester, you will start each assignment early and not procrastinate. But then you schedule yourself in such a way that you have no time to take a break. This goal will backfire and will leave you drained.
So be sure to make realistic goals which are also achievable. I will be writing about setting realistic goals as a college student next Sunday. When you subscribe you get an update as soon as it is published along with a goal setting checklist freebie.
2. Get a Planner and Stick to it
Planners are great. They help you keep track of your time, date, appointments, classes etc. When you start out, you are excited. Love keeping a planner, decorating it, making it all fancy. I too used to do that. I looovveedd fluffing my planner with stickers, decoration, making bullet journals, spending time out of the day keeping it neat and tidy.
But when I went to college, I soon realised how much time it took. I became even more disorganised due to my bullet journal. So what did I do? I created a bullet journal in my winter break and thought ‘Well, now it will not consume my time!’. I was quite wrong. It might be just me, but I love to decorate stuff, it does help with notes because of the aid in visual memory, but I realised for me it was taking more time I could spare maintaining a bullet journal. I was binging videos from YouTube, trying to create the perfect bullet journal, while in fact, I was wasting my time.
Now, that does not mean it is the same for you. It might differ from people to people. If you have the time to spare and decorate your bullet journal, by all means, you should definitely do it. But if you are like me and feel that you have been spending waaayyyy too much time on a planner, then I think you should too change to a minimalistic planner as I have.
The Planner I use
Earlier last year, I started using Muji Weekly Planner and Muji Monthly Planner. Both of these planners are minimalistic and all I use is a blue pen and a pink and blue highlighter to colour code my tasks. This helps me save a lot of time in my day I would have otherwise spent on designing my bullet journal. I have written about them in detail in the article How to Set Up Your Monthly Planner with Free Printables if you want to have a look at how I set my planners.
How To Stick To Your Planner
Once you decide on a planner the next step is often the tricky one; to stick to it, to plan every day. What I found to be helpful to me, in particular, was setting it up the night before. Just before I slept I set up my schedule for the day and saw what I had to do while setting realistic goals for myself. I gave myself more time than I needed for particular tasks so that I don’t overdo the time I had assigned to the task. This gives me the leverage to maybe change my schedule if needed.
This also saved me from procrastination as I had set small goals for myself which did not overwhelm me and made me scared of the outcome. I will be writing more of this in a future post.
3. Use an Electronic Calander
I used to be in love with paper planners. I still am. I thought that keeping one on paper would be enough and considering the fact that I am more of a paper kind of a person I wouldn’t be able to use it.
But one fine day, I thought of giving it a try. I used the calendar on my Macbook and planned a week of my day, just to give it a shot. And I have to admit, but it was my most productive week. I was determined, I was up to mark and I was completing more tasks than I was using the paper planner.
You can use google calendar as that syncs across all devices as well and does not depend on the operating system you have.
Gives You Alert
What is the reason for that you may ask? It was because my calendar was getting synced to my phone. I was getting constant reminders of the things I had to do, how much time I had left, what was the next task. I also NEVER forget to take my phone wherever I go. There were times when I did forget to pick up the planner if I had kept it on my desk in a hurry.
Don’t Have To Remember to Look At
A paper planner also has to be looked at your own will. Sometimes, I was so engrossed in something else that I completely forgot I had planned something else too. I missed many things simply because I forgot to look at the planner, even though I had everything planned.
Do I Still Use a Paper Planner?
As a matter of fact, I do, but more as a desk planner. I still use the Muji Weekly Planner and Muji Monthly Planner to write down the guest posts I have coming up in the week. I use the weekly planner to write out the details of some tasks I do only at my desk in my room. I have stopped using it for the things I have to be reminded about, like assignments, meetings, appointments etc. I use it for passive things which I know are limited to not being reminded to me.
This being said, you are free to use whatever medium you want. The main goal is to stick to it and keep planning.
4. Prepare A Study Schedule
As a college student, this is a necessary task. A study schedule should combine all the classes that you take that semester and merge that with your own timetable for self-study. Maintaining and sticking to a study schedule can help you figure out the free time you have which you can utilise in any way you want.
When preparing a study schedule you must keep in mind to give yourself some slack. You cannot and will not be able to study 3 hours straight, I know I am not. You should give designated break time in between study sessions for yourself and realistically calculate the time it would take to complete a particular topic or section. You can also put in mini rewards for yourself in these sessions where you can say ‘ If I complete this topic by this time I can get a cookie’ or something like that.
Have Snacks at Bay
Also, be sure to have snacks at bay while studying. This way even if hunger strikes you have a snack handly instead of running to the kitchen and wasting time in the process.
Keep the Log in One Place
This is what I have seen many NOT do. Many like to keep two separate planners; one for college one for home. This according to me is a bad practice. If you keep paper planners, synchronizing two schedules take up time and energy. I am guilty of doing this. I loved keeping paper journals and more the merrier. This made me divert my attention to two places at once.
When I started keeping just one paper journal and then eventually turning to an electronic calendar life has been easier. It is simpler to see when my classes are scheduled and what time I can take out for revising or making notes.
I will be creating a separate post on a step-by-step guide for preparing a study schedule, the same one that I use. You can subscribe to get the updates. 😀
5. Create a To-Do List and Schedule It
Let me tell you a thing I learnt way too late in my college, instead of checking things off your to-do list when you are done with the task you should schedule a time for that event in your planner and cross it off when you are done putting it on the planner. That is how it is supposed to be. Since I have turned to this tactic I feel that my chances of completing that task are almost 100%.
There is a reason for this. Say I had a task of writing notes for a chapter in one of my subjects. If I happen to look at the to-do list and started making notes for this chapter not knowing how much time it might take me, I might give up half way if it takes too long. However, if I schedule this particular task in my calendar I will now know how much this it might take me to complete it and plan accordingly.
Not only am I highly likely to finish the task because I know how long I get the results, but I also have the satisfaction of crossing it off of my to-do list.
So this college year, be sure to keep this tactic up your sleeve. So now that you know what to do with a to-do list, let us talk about some of the things it should contain. You can get the detailed free checklist I made for the champs who subscribe to the blog by filling your information below.
An internship is one thing you should have planned each college year. Does not matter if you are in your first year of college or final, doing an internship can work wonders for not only your future but also help you know how is it to work in your field.
You can get my detailed guide for doing an internship by going to this post.
Getting College Supplies
College supplies are something you will definitely require at the beginning of the year. You should schedule a time to create a list of the things you want to buy and what price to buy it so that you do not splurge throughout your college year and can plan your finances well
Now, this is something you might have to work on each week but it is better to keep a designated time to buy and plan your groceries for the week so you do not have to hassle into getting them. This will save you time, space and money you uselessly might splurge otherwise.
There you go! This is the small mini guide of the things you need to do while planning a college year. Now, I have just briefly explained all of the points. But there is so much more to them. I will be posting a few detailed posts on each of these topics explaining how you can plan it out and what steps to take. You can stay tuned for the updates on these posts when you subscribe to the blog and also get a free detailed checklist on the college planning essentials.
If you liked this post be sure to share it with your friends and leave a comment down below. If you want to reach out to me you can either reply to the email you get when you subscribe or just email me.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope this post has helped you in one way or another.
Have a great day!
Some related posts in technical me section are:
5 Online Course Sites Every College Student Should Check Out
21 Ultimate on a Budget Planner and College Supplies
11 Cutest Bullet Journal DIY to Boost Planner Organisation (With Freebies)