You’re a seasoned multi-tasker, so skilled at juggling your many priorities that you have been heavily recruited by Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“I don’t need a planner,” you say. “In high school, I balanced my duties as captain of the debate team with my weekly trips to the International Space Station, and also volunteered at the White House in my spare time--and I kept all the dates straight in my head.”
But college has a way of sneaking up behind you with a metaphorical baseball bat, and before you know it, it smacks you with your first “hell week:” four exams, two mandatory events, three essay due-dates, a part-time job interview, and a visit from your mom.
How did this happen? When did these things creep up on you, and how did you not realize until Sunday night that they were all happening in the next week?
Enter your knight in shining armor (paper?)--the planner. Although some students have been using them for years, many never needed one before college practically assaulted them with more responsibilities than ever before. Here are some tips that will benefit everyone from the planner veteran to the scheduling newbie.
The first rule of planners is simple: keep your planner up to date. Most planners have a monthly calendar page, followed by a day-by-day breakdown of your semester. It’s up to you to decide what goes where--some prefer to write big events on the calendar page, and use the daily sections for more mundane items like due dates, or “take out the trash day.”
In order to make the most of your planner experience, keep it with you at all times--don’t leave it at home with promises of updating it when you come home from a day of classes. Think of it like a pet: feed it by filling it with your due dates and responsibilities, and it will deliver a full academic year of loving support.
TIP: if you’re a to-do list kind of person, you can write your list on a sticky note and place it inside your planner.
Finally, in order to motivate you to religiously use your planner, it needs to be an extension of yourself, like a really organized third arm. Below are some different style of planners to fit any personality, and links to store websites where appropriate.
1. The Bevo Freebie
UT might be charging you an arm and a leg for tuition, but they sure do deliver on the free planners. A walk on the Drag during the first week of classes can yield you one of the most valuable free items you’ll receive all year--the UT Co-op planner/coupon book combo. In between the events you can pencil in on the calendar pages, take a study break and treat yourself to some discount fro-yo at Red Mango--or the ever-present offer of five free wings from Pluckers.
2. The Simple Plan
Not just a 2000’s rock band anymore, the Simple Plan is the planner we’ve all seen--in several different nondescript colors. Perfect for any student who wants to stand out in ways unrelated to their calendar.
Get it here
3. “Vera” Cute
If you identify with colorful floral patterns and enjoy the aesthetic rush of placing little color-coordinated stickers with phrases such as “exam day,” “game day,” and “date night,” consider a planner from Vera Bradley. These planners come in a variety of patterns to match your floral backpack, wallet, laptop case, etc.
Snag one here
A cheaper alternative
If you’re more of a Lilly Pullitzer person:
4. The “I’m studying to be a lawyer, can’t you tell?”
Take a moment to picture every non-Elle Woods Harvard character in Legally Blonde. If the practical, serious sensibility of these extra-studious students appeals to you, you can be one step closer to a boring--i mean, successful career in a very intellectual field with this scholarly leather-bound planner.
5. I Call it--the iCal
While there is something oddly comforting in an old-school paper planner, the good ole’ Google planner (or Apple planner, or iCal, or (insert windows equivalent idk)) deserves a shout-out. Keep your daily schedule close to your digital heart by using planners or calendar apps on your phone or computer.