4 Lessons: 1st year in grad school
1. Organize all your assignments into your planner
This semester I'm taking 4 classes, 3 of which are online so I need to be as organized as possible. I pull up all my syllabi and my planner and write down every assignment in my planner week by week, day by day. It takes some time, took me 3 hours last time, but it's worth it. This way, I am never surprised by any assignments and I can plan to complete them in a timely manner. Planners aren't for everyone but another option is to use your iPhone or Android calendar to organize your assignments, put a reminder for when paper, projects, and quizzes are due.
2. Set aside time to do your homework
Setting aside time to get homework done helps me balance work, personal life and, school responsibilities. I used to do my homework whenever I "felt" like it which did not help with my productivity levels. Now I know that I have this much time to get these assignments done so I can plan accordingly.
3. Set up a comfortable environment to do homework
I have created the cutest desk area because it's easier to focus and get assignments done when I'm comfortable. It helps dramatically to have a designated space for work. Trust me, it feels very different to work at a desk compared to working in bed or on a comfy couch. I have my calendars and to-do-lists right in front of me so I usually get stuff done back to back and I know that once I leave my desk, I'm done with work and I can relax. To create my perfect workspace, I got this white Linnmon study table from IKEA.
4. Buy eBook
I switched from buying physical textbooks to renting ebooks online because it makes my life so much easier. I'm tired of ordering or renting textbooks from Amazon because I always have a problem. The books either take too long to get to me and I miss the first week of assignments and have to beg my professors for extensions. Or, they don't receive my rentals back even though I shipped them and I have to waste money.
But with ebooks, I download them right to my laptop and I no longer have to log all my heavy textbooks back and forth. It's also more convenient because I can copy and paste quotes when I'm writing papers or just search things I'm looking for when I'm studying. You should have seen how silly I looked last semester carrying 3 to 4 heavy textbooks from one class to the other along with my laptop, backpack, lunch bag and, coffee. Now I gracefully walk into class with only my purse, laptop and, dinner.