How I Organize My School Life

Welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will share with you how I organize both my academic and extracurricular life at Bryn Mawr College.

I organize everything in one place and then review them on a daily or weekly basis. Having everything in one place allows me to keep track of everything and gives me a big picture. But working with a system with so many to-dos is overwhelming, so I divide them into small pieces and review them on a daily or weekly basis.

Everything

  • Table of Assignments and Reading

I manage all my assignments in a table in Notion. I have a master view of all the assignments from all five classes. I arrange them by the date they are due, with the most recent ones on top. After I I finish one task, I click the check box and it goes to the bottom. I also have individual view that I can see assignments from only one class. I also keep an extra column for notes, such as how many pomodoro I spent on this assignment.

  • Board of Application

Kanban board is an effective tool to keep track of a project with different stages and it’s perfect to manage things. It covers all applications I’m working on, including on-campus jobs, volunteer, and internships. I arrange them in the order of “Not Started”, “Applied”, “Denied”, and “Expired”. For those that are accepted, I have another page dedicated to them. Inside each individual page, I record information like “Application link”, “Deadline”, “Applied at”, and “Last Active Day”.

Daily Review

  • Daily Academic To-Do List and Study Log In

It’s a simple list of what readings and assignments I need to do in a day. I write them down in the evening so when I get up the next day, I know roughly what my day looks like and how much time I need to contribute to studying.

I have the habit of recording my study time before I start and after I finish. It has two effects. First, it functions as a reminder that I’m studying now. As I do most of the work on the laptop, I could get easily distracted. It also gives me a visual representation of how much I study in a week and I can adjust if needed.

Weekly Review

  • Reading and assignments due next week

I don’t have class on Friday so after I finish the last class on Thursday, I take about half an hour to go through all the readings and assignments for the next week. I download all the readings from Moodle and add them in the Notion table I mentioned above. Doing this activity gives me a rough idea about how much time I need to spend on reading and adjust my schedule accordingly.

  • Weekly Extracurricular To-Do List

It’s a weekly to-do list extracted from Board of Application and other academic stuff outside reading and assignment, such as sending email to invite an interview for a class project. I manage it on a weekly basis because it’s difficult to attend to them on a daily basis and reviewing also reminds myself of the upcoming deadlines.

In terms of ways to organize, it takes me a long time to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. When I was a freshmen, I kept everything on a notebook. Yes, I turned in all the assignments on time but I often found myself struggling at the last minute because I didn’t leave enough time for reading. Then I moved everything digital but it didn’t work out either because it takes me too long to get what I’m looking for and when I find it, I often forget what I was doing. I finally settled on this combination of a hand-written notebook and digital table and board.

The purpose of this post is simply to share how I organize my school life at Bryn Mawr and hopefully inspire you somehow. The last thing I want is to make you feel anxious because I find myself in that situation often. But I want to make it clear that this is not a “perfect” system. It’s just a system that works for me now. It might not be good to me somewhere in the future. And I stick to it most of the time but definitely not all the time, and it’s okay. Once I realize I’ve been off for some time, I simply accept it and try to get back on.

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