Academic Toolbox #5: Staying On Top

26 July 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. 



Love it! 


images sources: 1//2//3//4//5


  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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