Academic Toolbox #5: Staying On Top

Friday, July 26, 2013
Since I get such positive feedback on this mini-series, I decided to discuss another topic on scholastic success. Staying organized is one of the most important methods of doing well in school & it is a tough habit to crack if you're a procrastinator. I thought I'd share some of the ways I keep on the straight and narrow once my first quarter rolls around. 

 1) Agendas/ iCal

 I keep a physical agenda to marks important dates, write lists, and jot down fun memories. It almost doubles as a life journal (like the young lady's book above), and I can't wait to look back on them 20 years from now. There's a blank section before each month that allows me to write down all the activities and goals I have for the following 30 days.  [Check out this pinterest account for great sources and ideas for planners.]

My iPhone's iCal is what I use on a daily basis. My entire curriculum schedule is loaded onto it, all my exams, due dates for essays/projects/presentations, clinical evaluation days, and tuition payment deadlines. I also add in birthdays, special social events, meetings, doctor/dentist appointments, and library book due dates. Before I go to bed each night, I always check my schedule for the following day and the rest of the week. 

Golden Tip--- what really keeps me on my toes and very organized is something I like to call "pre-reminders". A couple weeks before an exam or project, I have a reminder go off telling me to start studying/researching. I always add these in whenever I'm putting a new event into iCal. I only put in pre-reminders for school. Do it!!!! 

2) Physical Calendar 

I print out 4 monthly calendars and stick them on the wall above my desk. It gives me a great long term view, and prevents me from forgetting certain special days are coming up. I have a bad habit of not realizing how close a birthday or dentist appointment is, because iCal and agendas only show one month at a time. I can never see what's on the first or second week of the following month. Avoid the panic!  [Link to pretty printable calendars.]

3) Computer: Folders 

Like most people, I have one folder per course. But I like to subdivide it in a way that helps me find information quickly without resorting to the "search" function. I always end up with 50+ results on lymphoma that I didn't even know my hard drive was holding. Here's what I do for each course: 
1 folder for Admin - syllabus, lecture schedule, contact information, etc.  
1 folder PER exam - holds all the lectures and notes pertaining to that exam and nothing else.  
1 folder for past tests- it's really necessary to find these easily the day before a test. 
1 folder for misc - PDF versions of important textbooks, or supplemental notes that the professor has provided. 

4) Binders 

For those of you that need to put pen to paper, organize your binders like I do my folders above. 

And that's how I keep on top of my school work!! Hope it's helpful to at least one or two of you. 



For those lovely ladies and gentlemen that are also in the medical field, I have a recommendation for you regarding Medical Scrubs. My friends over at Uniformed Scrubs sent me a little something to test out, and I enjoyed it immensely. After a year of getting used to donning scrubs in the anatomy lab, I feel I have enough experience to recommend this product. It's a Dickie's enzyme washed scrub top #84757 (which you can find in their Nurse Scrub tops section in different patterns - but mine was solid blue and I can no longer locate it), and to make a long story short, I love it because it is SO SOFT. I detested the material of all the scrubs I went through this year, and I always wore a tank and leggings underneath everything because the material was rough. This baby was awesome, and the front pockets were double-lined and nicely done to protect any spills from leaking through. Love it! 


images sources: 1//2//3//4//5
12 comments on "Academic Toolbox #5: Staying On Top"
  1. I love organization and stuff like that and I really like your blog. Enjoy reading posts about medicine (it's my dream). Hope I will get to know you :)

    Best wishes!

  2. I really need an agenda and those calendar print outs are gonna help me immensly! Thanks :)

    xo Ashley

  3. awesome tips!

  4. such a cool blog! lovely post<3
    followed u! let's keep in touch!

  5. what's your ethnicity?

  6. Lovely post, and lovely blog! If you like mine do you want to follow each other with bloglovin? I start following you with gfc,kiss,Paolo

  7. You're so organized! I buy a yearly planner from Gallery Leather. I can't live without it. I still love writing all of my activities and notes in one planner. I can't get used to a computerized one.

    Every year without fail, during Christmas, I search for the same planner and I buy a different colour every year.

  8. This post makes me ridiculously happy! One of my favorite things about starting a new year of school is getting a new planner ;)

  9. I love how organized you are - it reminds me of me! Haha. I just bought a new agenda and can't wait to start writing in it! :)

    Lindsey | Zip & Zeal

  10. Nice post! Being organized makes me happier!


  11. Where did you find the first image for that planner? I like the style of that planner and I'm curious if you found the image on a site that sells them or if it was just an image online.


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