My face-to-face college students have asked me to blog about getting and being organized in college. They asked me about balancing work and college and getting assignments done. For the next few blogs, I will break things down, step-by-step and show you how to be more organized. I used these same principles while working on two undergraduate degrees at the same time, home schooling, running a decorating business, and caring for my family. These are tested and true ideas. Let’s get to work!
You will need to purchase the following items: an academic calendar that is a month-at-a-glance, pens that contain different colors for each of the classes you are taking in a given semester (five classes=five different colors of ink), a highlighter, and an oven timer. [With the calendar, you can use a business month-at-a-glance calendar if you want, as long as the squares are at least two inches square. You are going to be writing your assignments in the squares, so a traditional calendar won’t be big enough.]
As soon as you know what books will be used for a given class, buy or order them. You must have the books by the time the class starts because you are going to get ahead of the class (and, hopefully, stay ahead)!
As soon as you have a copy of the syllabus, do the first week’s reading for each class. Do not try to get way ahead or your understanding of the material might fade (or it might simply be wrong). The idea here is that you are going to do the reading for the lecture before you come to class. That way, you will not be overwhelmed by not knowing anything that the professor is talking about. By reading ahead just a little, you will be vaguely familiar with the information before it is presented.
If you do not have access to the syllabus before the class begins, read the Table of Contents, to see what the book covers and then read the introduction to the text. As you read, highlight information that seems important but do not highlight everything. If you are someone who is distracted by highlighting (I am one of those people), you might find it more helpful to underline in the book. Margins are usually pretty large, so you can actually make notes there, if you would also be distracted by underlining.
I see this blog is getting a bit long-winded, so I will put your next steps on the next blog, which I will go ahead and write today. If you have any questions or comments, please use my name in your reply, so that I will know that you are not a robot.