Sunday, January 13, 2013

Successful Spring Semester!

School is back. I start my final semester of college tomorrow morning at 11 am. Totally crazy! The past 7 semesters have taught me a thing or two about how important organization is, but last semester definitely taught me the most! As a result, I've compiled a little list of tips and other things that help me immensely (especially since I'm insanely busy!). 

 Plan ahead!
I've always used some sort of paper planner and I still swear by them. After I get all my syllabi, I write down all  major due dates (tests, papers, presentations, etc). I usually leave out anything that can change because I hate crossing things out!

I now swear by my Google calendar! Our school e-mails are Gmail accounts so I sync my mail and my calendar with my iPhone so I always know where I need to be. It's all colored coordinated and I can pull it up to edit at anytime or place. Here's what mine looks like for the first week of class:


For classes that rely heavily on PowerPoints, I print these out ahead of time in 3 slide per page handout format and keep them in a 3-ring binder. This way, I can take my notes right on the slides and highlight the most important things. This also means I spend less time writing and more time paying attention to the lecture. 

For classes that don't have PowerPoints or they're not posted before class, I use a 3 or 5 subject spiral notebook. I know some people like one for each class but I have way too many classes to tote that many every day!


Now, you  may think I'm crazy that I'm including pens in a post about having a successful semester. But for me, this definitely applies. I hate hate hate when my notes don't match. I've even been known to rewrite notes if my pen went missing in class. As a result, I always keep my favorite pens in every spot possible (purse, backpack, desk, kitchen, coffee table, apron for work, etc). Therefore, I buy a new pack for every semester. One semester, I used a different color for each class and that was fun too. The only issue was when it came time for studying and highlighting my notes. So, I suggest you find a pen or two that you love and use them for everything!

A charged laptop

Again, maybe a weird thing to talk about along with this one. But, I always have my laptop with me on campus. The first reason being my Google calendar that I mentioned before. It is always pulled up on a tab in my browser. Another being note taking, some classes are easier with typed notes (although I usually stick to notebooks). Also, you never know when a class will get cancelled or let out early. By having your laptop charged and ready, you're always prepared to do some extra studying (or go crazy on Pinterest for a bit...). 

Use your time wisely!

I mean, we've only been hearing this since middle school (or maybe sooner), but it is so important! Since I work at night during the semesters, I have to get everything done during the day or sacrifice my sleep. I love sleep way too much, so I get as much done in between classes as I can. This is also where that charged laptop helps. I always bring something to work on for another class in case something lets out early. 

Eat right.

Like I discussed here, I don't eat the best normally. As a matter of fact, last semester I was so busy I averaged one meal a day and it was usually take out/drive thru or something else not good for me. I would also end up starving while sitting in class and unable to pay attention. So I definitely learned how to solve this problem (which should be pretty obvious):  pack a lunch! And snacks. And 3 drinks. And a coffee. Basically, come prepared. 

Here's an example of how I'm solving this problem: 
  • Breakfast burritos: I'm pre-making and then freezing sausage, egg and cheese burritos that can be heated up and eaten on the way to campus. 
  • Large crock pot meals: I'm in the process of making chicken and rice that will last me a few days for dinner so I will be able to walk in the apartment and be eating within 5 minutes!
  • Fruit smoothies: fill you up, healthy and you can take them on the run. Bonus points if you pre-make and freeze the proper serving size and you can just throw it in the blender!
  • Apples, bananas, any easy to eat fruits as snacks throughout the day. 

Do you guys have any good tips on how you survive the semester? 


Unknown said...

Wow! This is great. It definitely needs to be given out to freshmen every semester. Great tips.

Have fun in you last semester!

Leslie said...

Thank you! :)