college, productivity, school, Uncategorized

How I Prepare for a New Semester of College

It’s that time of year again! After the winter break, my backpack is a disaster, my handwriting is garbage, and I am no where near ready to be stressed again. Classes are here and I am far from prepared. Here is a list of things I do to prepare for a new semester of college.

Google Calendar Setup

I always find the most satisfying (and stressful) part of my school prep routine to be setting up my Google Calendar. I am very much a planner and love being able to visually see what each week will look like for the next few months. I’m not going to lie, seeing how busy I am also definitely stresses me out… so lots of mixed feelings about this. I use Google Calendar because it is easily accessible on all of my devices and I love the fun features like the color coding, repeating events, and more.

First off, I insert my classes into my calendar. My entire day will always revolve around my classes so its important that they are the foundation of my calendar. I make each class a different color, this way if I ever have a group meeting, class presentation, exam, etc I can color code so I know exactly which class each event is for. Then I go ahead and insert my ideal work schedule. I am grateful in that both of my jobs are incredibly flexible, but I like to get an idea of how many hours I am hoping to work each job each week. At the beginning of the semester it is important that I start off with minimal hours. It is much easier to add hours than take them away, and I want to ensure that classes are my focus. From there I fill in smaller events like clubs, filming time, when I am workouts at the gym, and more. I finish off by adding about 3+ hours a day of study time in. Some days I will not need this much time and other days I will need more, but having time blocked out specifically to study each day encourages me to sit down, focus and find something to do. Very rarely do I have to “find something to do” – oftentimes I am struggling to keep my ahead above water and feel that I am constantly playing catch up. But when I do have extra study time, I like to fill that time with extra homework questions, Quizlet, and more!

I do like to stick to a sleep schedule as much as I can. I find that when I am going to bed and waking up at different hours everyday, my body never adjusts. Each semester my goal is always to get my body to find its “body clock” – ie. waking up naturally at the same time each day after its gotten used to my routine alarm times.

If I ever have a time conflict, I do my best to move things around without compromising my sleep or study time. Having my days and weeks laid out hour by hour makes scheduling so much more convenient and keeps me on track!

iPad Pro Notability Organization

One of the easiest and fastest ways to get prepped is to setup my notability for the semester. As quick as it is, this step is crucial! The worst situation is when you show up to class with your notes not organized, you create a random notes page in some random location, and it is lost forever… moral of the story: set yourself up for success and just do it early. It takes like 5 minutes.

Pretty simple: I create a new category for the new semester – I’ll call this semester “Spring 22”. Then you go ahead and add your classes! You can even color code them to match your Google Calendar!

P.S. Notability is the app I currently use to take notes on my iPad Pro!

Organize Google Chrome Tabs

A few months back I learned how to organize my Google Chrome Tabs and y’all… y’all… this is game changing. Did you know you can organize your Chrome tabs? You can create a name for a category (I sort mine by each class), assign a category a color, and drag and drop tabs into a category. You can even “minimize” a category allowing your tab dock to stay neat and organized!

This is a super simple way to keep yourself organized and on track without losing anything important or getting too overwhelmed.

Organize, Prep and Clean my Backpack

Its just inevitable that at the end of every semester my backpack is kinda… nasty. Wrappers and papers squashed at the bottom of my bag, broken pens floating around, and packs of fruit snacks and granola bars randomly tossed in. And of course I never take the time to clean it out at the end of the previous semester – so it becomes a chore for the start of the next one.

To start off, I of course just clean all my junk out. The papers, pens, wrappers, and whatever else I find gets thrown out, recycled, organized, and put where it belongs. I, then, like to ensure I have everything I might need on a given day on campus – a few pens, lip balm, an extra mask, my favorite snack (soy nuts!), deodorant, and more. I like to top it off with a few cute charms and keychains to make it my own. This year I went with some cute bows and a “Remove before flight” tag from my aerospace engineering department. In the past I have made beaded key chains and put cute pins all over!

Create Class Folders

And as always, you’ve got to deck out your computer and Google Drive with class folders. I personally like to make a semester folder in each and then add a folder for each of my classes inside. This way I can easily store and organize files that may be shared with classmates and can be shared with my iPad, and I can sort files that I create outside of Google – MATLAB files, coding files, etc.

What do you do to set up and prepare for the new semester?

xoxo, Madison