As a student, I was always looking for the perfect planner system. I tried so many planners, devices, and organization tools throughout my time at school.
Unfortunately I did not discover bullet journaling until my last semester before graduating! I truly wish that I had found out about it sooner, because it would have been an amazing tool throughout all of my college years, especially those semesters which had especially intense workloads.
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Since summer back to school season is upon us, I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to use the bullet journal to help organize school assignments, schedules, and more.
By far my most used school layout is what I called my semester dashboard. On one page I printed my class schedule, along with professor names and locations. Most of my classes my last two years of college were in one of three rooms so even at the end of the semester I often had to refer to this page because I would forget which class was in which room!
If I were to make another one of these, an addition to this page might be contact information for each professor, as I often needed to look up email addresses and office hours.
Opposite the schedule and general information I had what was essentially a future log adapted for a school semester. My issue with using weekly layouts for school was always that assignments early in the week would always sneak up on me. Having a calendar view really helped me get a better feel for when major assignments, tests, and other important events were coming up.
Additionally, I found it useful to have a specific school calendar as opposed to combining my school and social calendars into one because I could focus on planning my work without the distraction of thinking about other things I needed to do. I used a color coded system in which I marked priority assignments, tests, and deadlines, so that I could quickly tell what was coming up at a glance. I added specific details to the side.
I did find myself to be short on space, and I believe this would especially be a problem for a busy semester, so I would recommend using more space for this portion, perhaps even a whole page for each month of the semester. That way, there is space for notes about assignments as well as enough space to write them all down in the first place.
I used the syllabus for each class to fill these out ahead of time in pencil, and would color the days and add the events in pen as the assignment was actually discussed in class. This way, I had an idea of what to expect, but was easily able to make changes if a due date was altered.
Finally, in the spirit of keeping my personal and school calendars separate, I incorporated the dutch door technique (folding or cutting a page in the middle of a layout) into each of my weekly layouts. (Note: This post on steal-worthy bullet journal spreads has ideas for more dutch-door style options.)
On these, I made a smaller weekly layout dedicated to the readings and assignments I had to get done each day of the week.
This way, it was there when I was planning my personal week as a reminder, and again, I was able to have a dedicated schoolwork plan to help me focus.
For larger scale study plans, I would use a full layout to write out my plan in order to have a reference and hold myself accountable. I did not get the opportunity to use this technique very much, but it was useful for studying for my board certification exam, so I imagine it could be used for smaller exam reviews as well.
Having spent my entire career as a student planning, writing, and organizing, I really cannot stress how much having a bullet journal would have helped me in earlier years. If you are a student who uses one now, I strongly encourage you to try to adapt it to use as a study tool – it makes a huge difference!
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