By the end of the fourth week, there’s a definite rhythm to the semester. I formulate a daily routine of studying, socializing, and of course—of paramount importance—going to class. With everything getting into the “swing of things”, it might seem that stress should be balanced as well…but it isn’t.
That’s why, I’ve found, the only way to cope with a stress-filled schedule is by having a stress-free study plan. It varies for every student, of course, but I have found what works best for me is to fill up my planner with scrawls and scribbles to every corner. I make daily lists, weekly lists, monthly—well, perhaps not monthly lists. But thorough lists are one way that I lay a foundation for my study time that makes it as efficient, productive, and stress-free as possible.
On my lists, I try to prioritize. If it’s a project due next class or notes for an upcoming test, I underline or circle the item so I’ll know to focus on that first. If it’s a note for “getting ahead”—i.e., outlining a paper not due until finals—then I’ll write it down as an option in case I want to break up my normal flow of work, but I also don’t worry about getting it done immediately.
Another way I use my lists is rather obvious—I use them to organize. Unless I write down test and paper dates, homework assignments, and the like, I probably will not remember them. For that reason, organizing the information in the neat little boxes of a planner is a great way for me to organize the information as a safeguard against forgetfulness.
I suppose the reason I value my planner as a help for study and success is because it gives me a sense of security. Instead of being plagued by that vague premonition that something may be due today or what should I focus on first?, I’ve got a convenient list already laid out.