PLP’s Guide to a Successful School Year
We know, we know… the last thing you want to think about right now is the first day of school, but as summer winds down, we can’t help but bring up the inevitable. Before October rolls around and you realize that all of your assignments are no where to be found and your metaphorical ship is sinking, take some time to get organized and start the school year the right way. Here are PLP’s 9 tips to get (and stay) organized all school-year long!
1. Pay attention in class
Don’t be that person who goes home and has to message everyone else at 3am asking if your essay is due tomorrow or a week from now. The first step to being organized actually knowing what’s due and when it’s due!
2. Use an agenda, but do it your way
Not everyone likes carrying around a calendar or an agenda everywhere they go. If you do, that’s great! But if you don’t, find the method that works for you. Use your Google calendar (it’ll send reminders to your phone or computer), use the calendar on your phone, or use a whiteboard in your room. Any method is the right method…as long as it works for you!
3. Write everything down… literally. everything.
No matter how good your memory is, you will never ever remember all of your assignments, tests, club meetings, doctors’ appointments, uncle’s birthday dinners, etc. without writing these events down. You can easily keep track of what you have going on by writing (or typing) it out.
4. Create a schedule, but be realistic
Just writing that you have a Biology exam isn’t going to help you prepare for it. You need to implement the time it will take to prepare into your schedule so you won’t be blindsided on the day that it’s due. If you know your bio exam is on Monday, you can schedule a few hours each day to make sure you have enough study time. It is also important to be realistic in how much you are scheduling each day. If you say you’re going to study 2 units, write an English essay, make a poster for your student council, and go to soccer practice all on one night… it might not actually happen (and then you’ll be playing catch up).
5. Be kind to yourself
When we say create a schedule, we don’t just mean for school work. Schedule some YOU time. Whether it’s watching Netflix, hanging out with friends, or going on a walk, it’s important to tae some time for yourself each day. Taking breaks will keep you feeling happy and healthy, which will actually make you work more efficiently.
6. Hold yourself accountable
It’s one thing to say that you’re going to follow a schedule and get all kinds of work done, but it’s a whole other thing to really do it. Find a way to hold yourself accountable, whether it’s highlighting each task as you complete it, finding a buddy to compare notes with, or posting sticky notes around your room with reminders. Whatever you do, just make sure that it really works for you.
7. Make a backup plan
Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned. Don’t panic! Things can and will go wrong sometimes. All that really matters is how you handle it. Take a look at what you weren’t able to get done that day and see where you can realistically fit it in your schedule. If you can’t find the space you need, be creative with your problem solving. See if someone else can help you out, if you can get an extension, or if there’s something that you can cancel.
8. Give yourself a daily check in
Each day, give yourself a little check list to make sure you’re on track. Ask yourself questions like:
Do I know what I have due?
Did I write everything down?
Did I accomplish my goals for today?
If I didn’t accomplish my goals, did I re-organized my schedule?
Did I do something positive for myself?
These check-ins will help you hold yourself accountable, and keep you consistently aware of what you have to complete.
9. Treat ‘yo self
After all this hard work, you deserve something awesome. Find a way to reward yourself after you’ve completed a goal or finished a certain amount of work. You will be much more successful if you are happy than if you are constantly working without a light at the end of the tunnel.
Now while there’s still plenty of summer left (and believe us, you should enjoy every second of it with these tips), it is never too early to get yourself ready for the upcoming year. The more proactive you are at the beginning of school, the better you’ll be all year long. So kick this year off the right way! Until then, we will be buying cool floaties for those last few pool parties and waiting for those school supply coupons to hit the market.