Planners and Colored Pens // Katy Temple

By: Katy Temple, Features Editor.

  1. Buy a Planner- I know it sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t use a planner! A monthly and weekly planner will help you remember when assignments are due, and help you visualize what weeks may be tougher than others.
  2. Use the Planner- You can buy a planner and pretend that you have your life together, and if that works for you, I envy you. However, your planner will be a lot more helpful if you actually use it. If you’re an insane organizer like myself, or involved with things other than school, color coding is going to be your best friend! School reminders are one color, extracurriculars another, appointments, events… you get the idea. Again, it helps you visualize what you have going on, and helps you prepare accordingly
  3. Make a Master Syllabus- Having a syllabus is great, but it doesn’t do you any good if it sits in the back of your folder for the entire semester. Be sure to mark down important due dates, exam dates, and readings in your planner, but remember that they’re tentative – a class could move quicker or slower. To help keep everything in one spot, create a new document with all of the assignments from all of your classes. Instead of looking for four or five pieces of paper, you can instead have one document saved on your computer, and you can reprint and edit when you need to.
  4. Schedule Your Unscheduled Time- It’s so easy to spend your random chunks of time between classes and work in an endless Twitter or Instagram scroll. But, if you have 20 things to do and an hour between english and math, dedicate that to getting ahead in history, or reviewing your math notes. It’ll help you get a head start on studying, and keep previously-taught information fresh.
  5. Use Your Professor’s Office Hours- It may not seem like it, but the professors here at Bergen are willing to help you, but you have to ask for it! Most of the time, office hours and locations are going to either be announced on your first day of class, or on your syllabus (probably both). If you’re struggling, have questions, or need an extra set of eyes, send out an email and make plans to meet up with your professors. I can assure you that asking for help is much better than suffering in silence. Most professors will recognize the effort you put into their class, and that effort will be reflected in your grades. (Disclaimer: Going to office hours doesn’t guarantee you an A, but it might bump you up from a B to a B+)
  6. Keep Your Notes Separated and Dated- You don’t need chemistry notes when you’re studying for a psychology exam. Whether you’re a binder or notebook person, make sure class materials stay together in the same spot. Keeping dates on your notes will help you find what you’re looking for when you go back to review, and help identify what days of class you might have missed. Try keeping extra space below concepts or terms you may not understand, so you can go in and fill in missing information later. Laptops are also great for note taking, but it’s hard to draw diagrams or concept maps on a laptop. Make sure you know which classes you’d be able to use a laptop in, and which ones are better off with a pen and paper.