Planning your Term for Academic Success
As a new term is underway, it’s important to get organized and set yourself up for success. We are going to outline 4 easy steps you can take to plan for your term and set achievable goals.
1. Set up a hard copy or digital calendar
Whether it’s an old-fashioned paper planner, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, or some other website or app, use some platform to schedule your school, work, and social commitments.
- Input your lectures and seminars for each week. Check your syllabi and Moodle pages and record all the key dates (assignments, exams, presentations, projects, etc.), taking note of especially busy weeks.
- If you have three formatives due in Week 7, for instance, this is a good thing to know ahead of time so that you can manage your time and get everything done
2. Create weekly plans
While some things on your schedule will change from week to week, it’s nice to have an outline for how you wish to organize your coursework. What days will you be busy in class, and what days can you dedicate to readings, watching lectures, etc.
Having a general idea of when you will have time outside of class to participate in other things will help you manage your time and keep you from getting overwhelmed throughout the term. Again, pay attention to which weeks have lighter or heavier workloads and adjust accordingly. Try using Friday to sync your calendars, plan your week, and create to do lists.
3. Break down big assignments into small, manageable chunks
It’s very normal to look at your formative and summative assessments and freeze a bit at the enormity of the tasks ahead of you. Instead of stressing about the project, paper, or exam, set intermediate goals for studying, finishing readings, and writing long essays. By breaking down the bigger assignments into smaller bits, they feel less overwhelming, and you get the satisfaction of checking more things off your to do list as you go.
4. Schedule time for friends, rest, and self-care plans
It’s vital that you take breaks and allow for balance. You are your best as a student when you are taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. The easiest way to guarantee that you do this and don’t get swept up into schoolwork is to schedule it in. Block off time in your calendar or planner to go to the gym or for a walk. Make reoccurring plans with friends—schedule a game night or try out new lunch spots every week. Give yoga or meditation a try. It does not matter what you do for yourself, just that you do something!
And finally… remember, everyone is different! Your system make look different than your friends and classmates, and that’s okay. Find what works for you and roll with it.
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