This past week I started my 4th semester at college. I’m currently taking 4 online classes. This is the most online classes I’ve ever taken. I’m hoping that I have enough discipline to finish and pass these classes but odds are there will be bumps along the way. I’ve decided to share some steps I took to plan out my semester and hopefully decrease amount of said bumps.
My first super cliche and 100% important step is to acquire a planner. This one above, I bought at Marshalls for $6. It’s super fucking cute but also pink and gold which is one of my favorite color combos. It comes with stickers to label the months and also for important dates and appointments. I bought more stickers because the planner doesn’t come with nearly enough and I need more school oriented ones. I don’t know about you but it’s fun and a lot easier to just put a sticker in place of for example, an advisor meeting, instead of writing it down.
I like to start setting up my planner first before I move on to organizing each of my classes individually. I usually mark my start date and end date for each semester. Any college should have a calendar on their website that includes what week you are starting class and having your final exams. Then I’ll look through my syllabus for each class and write down any assignment due dates, midterm/quiz exams, days off school, etc. Since I have only online classes I think this isn’t as important because I’ll be looking at the assignment list every day but I still want a ‘rough draft’ of what my semester is going to look like.
For example, my government class is actually ending in February because the teacher planned it that way but my other classes don’t end until April. It’s important you know dates for anything major but the smaller assignments you don’t necessarily have to write down. If you’re like me and are known for doing things last minute then you should probably mark everything down. Plus, if you don’t have a laptop and you can’t get access to a computer it’ll be vital to have a planner with you that has everything laid out. I also write down what kind of textbooks I’ll need to purchase.
Next step is to for people who have a laptop or have access to a computer, which if your college has a library and free computer access then you can set this up whenever you go on campus. For those who don’t have a laptop or even if you do but don’t have printer access a.k.a me, you should buy a USB drive. I have one with a little hole at the bottom so I can add it to my key ring so I never forget it. It’s important if you need to print something out and for people in classes on campus, most teachers will ask that you bring all your essays printed out. It makes for easier grading, even if it kills a bunch of trees in the process. (:
Once I have my USB, I make a folder in it for each class and label it and then I put the syllabus and assignment list from each class in there. I will say that some teachers only give out a paper copy of your syllabus because they want you to highlight important parts or write something down in there. If that’s the case, your library should have scanners with their printers if you ever need to scan a paper to make it digital and they should have a library attendant available to help you with that.
If you are secretly an 80 year old man and just despises anything digital then you should probably obtain a binder and dividers. Throw some paper in each section for each class and label the dividers. I always put them in order from hardest class to easiest. So, that if I’m going through my binder my eyes will always pass over the harder stuff first. The easier stuff is probably easy because I know it or have heard it million times before in other classes so I don’t need to study it as much.
Aside from getting the basic supplies like pens, pencils, and highlighters. You should also always have snacks. I know this sounds odd for planning but you will be hungry. Studying and homework can sometimes last hours and it can be hard to focus on an empty stomach. So, go to the grocery store and stock up on as much as you can within your meager student budget. The grocery store is also much cheaper than the vending machine just ask my bank account. Stay away from things like soda and little Debbie cakes. Lots of sugar can slow you the fuck down and make you wanna take a nap. Try water or gatorade and chex mix or chips.
I hope anyone who reads this has a good semester and passes their classes. Turn your assignments in and don’t worry too much about getting an A on everything. College is important and some professors don’t give any fucks about you but others will work with you to help you succeed. Communicating with your professors whether online or in class is super duper important when planning out your semester and I know it can be daunting because they are often trying to make your life more difficult but if you establish a conversation with them from the beginning, then it’ll get 100x easier as you go through the semester.
Finally, cheat as often as you can and don’t take anything too seriously.
xoxo Darcy Mae Modica