"You need to help me organize my life” This was the message a received a few weeks ago from a friend. They recently went back to school and felt overwhelmed with this new chapter in their life. Going back to school is the easy part, the real challenge is staying organized for a year. By now many students have settled back and are into the swing of things. This is also the time when those bad habits start creeping back in: submitting assignments late, forgetting to complete homework, or running late for class. You know, those usually not productive habits. It is not too late to start the school year strong, and nip those bad habits in the butt.
It does not matter if you are starting first year of post-secondary or first grade, organization is key. Yet it is this basic skill that many students struggle with. Staying organized throughout the school year is a skill that takes practice, discipline, and patience. If you are wondering how to stay organized this school year, here is where to start:
1. Look Ahead. Most teachers provide an outline or syllabus for the course. Make note of deadlines, projects, test, exams etc. Write the deadlines down in a spot where you will see it often. The calendar on phones (there are thousands of apps for that), old fashion agendas, even on the fridge. Do what works for you. The point is to make note of the key deadlines to be proactive to semester.
2. Make a plan. –Plan your work/study schedule out. Once you know the key dates, and deadlines, work backwards and set smaller goals. Block out time in the weeks preceding to study for an exam, or make a date to conduct research for the final paper.
3. Schedule some Fun. – Ask any professional trainer, rest days are just as critical to working out. Having fun is essential, all work and no play make the semester seem long and boring. Always schedule a day of a moratorium, and after a marathon of exams schedules a week of fun, you will be grateful that you planned ahead.
4. Ask for feedback often- Classic teacher moments: When students wait until the last minute to ask what they need to do to improve their grade the eve before a final exam. Do not wait until the night day before the big test to get feedback. The first mark on your assignment for class serves as a benchmark, read the comments, understand your mistakes and ask for clarity if you are unsure. A critical step that many like to skip. Making mistakes is essential to the learning experience and where the real magic happens in building a higher understanding. Do not be afraid of reading what is in red. Use it to your advantage to leverage yourself to the next step.
5. Get Help- If there is an area you are still struggling with despite taking in the feedback do not wait until it’s too late, ask for help! Raising your hand, or raising your voice can make a big difference.
Have patience with yourself along the way, nothing happens instantly. The key is to stay focus and remain committed every step will take you closer to your goal. Learning is a journey and we are on this journey together. There are#NoLearningLimits to what you can achieve.