Tag Archives: Organization

Brace Yourselves, Finals are Coming!

Finals week is fast approaching.  My finals start the first week of May.  So now is the time when I create my study schedule.  I know everyone is barreling toward summer at supeLast Minute Study Schedule For Finalsrsonic speeds.  So when I create my schedule, I try to keep that in mind.  I block out my classes as they are scheduled
.  From there, I write in major projects and homework due in each class on each day.

My schedule is laid out so it shows EVERYTHING on a single page (from April 15 to May 4).  That way I can see it all without having to flip pages.  I always start by assessing my grades in each class, and whether or not it is of significant importance if I happen to slack on the c
lass a little.  You can make one on Excel or any spreadsheet program, but since I like a single page, and Excel refused to shrink everything to a single page, I just made a table in Word, and smashed it all in.  I also throw this thing into my Google Calendar, so my SectoGraph app will give me a clear view of my schedule for that day.

Since I have a paper due on the 19th and a quiz on the 18th and 20th as well as an exam on the 20th, I have to devote some serious time to those particular classes along with doing all of my other work.  If this paper weren’t such a huge chunk of my grade, I’d probably slack a little on it (to be honest, I did put it off to the last minute sort of).  I don’t recommend anyone putting off a huge paper until 4 days before it’s due.  However, this is how I work best.  It seems counterintuitive, but I have done all of my research and have notes and outlines that I’ve done.  I just haven’t actually drafted my paper yet.

As you can see in my schedule, I’ve blocked out times with breaks to work on my paper, and other things.  Having this type of schedule is handy.  It forces focus and if you stick to it, you should have plenty of time to study.

As you can also see, I have plenty of blank space in the evening to just decompress and vegetate in front of the television or computer.  My gym times aren’t on here, because I Finished Study Schedule for Finalswork out at an ungodly early 4:00 in the morning.  Some people study or listen to lectures when they are working out, I use it to get my pent up stress out and focus on other things that have nothing to do with school.

These are the three weeks where my diet goes more to hell than anything.  I try to keep fruits and veggies to snack on around, but I also tend to grab bags of Twizzlers and tootsie roll pops and go through them while I’m reading.

Anyway, I hope this has been helpful in getting you motivated to create your own finals study schedule!  Happy studying!

Planning for Next Semester

It’sPlanning Fall Semester 1 that time in the semester when all the projects are coming down to the wire, exams are constant and I want to tear my hair out.  So, why not think about fall semester classes on top of everything else?  Since I go to a satellite school, I have a very limited amount of classes I can take, and I sometimes have problems fitting exact classes in my schedule.  So, the first thing I do is meet with my advisors to make sure I’m taking the right classes.  Since my physics advisor is on sabbatical this year, I’ve been shuffled to another brilliant advisor,
Dr. Levine.  He’s currently researching dark matter.  He is Planning Fall Semester 2brilliant, and also very nice.  I had a conflict with my upcoming physics 3 class and my linear algebra class, and he was kind enough to move the physics class.  This is wPlanning Fall Semester 3here small universities can sometimes be more awesome than large ones.  We have tons of research opportunities at the university.  I met with my math advisor to ensure that I was on track with taking 3 math courses next semester:  Linear Algebra, Calculus 3, and Differential Equations.  (I love me some math.)  So, knowing that I needed these courses, I created a new time table that has fifteen minute steps and started it from 8 in the morning to 5 in the evening.  None of my classes will go past that this nePlanning Fall Semester 5xt semester.  My classes only run Monday-Thursday, but I keep Fridays in the layout because it helps me plan out library blocks.  This way, I can record the class and section number, the
professor, the room/building (if there is one), and time blocks.  This gives me a visual to look at so I can figure out where I will have study blocks and library time.  Three math and two physics classes are a heavy load to take, but I am happy with it as long as I have time to decompress and study between classes.  This semester, once my classes start, they are back to back, and I don’t get a chance to eat lunch or really do any processing of notes and lectures between classes.  It’s frustrating.  I have to remember things through four to five hours of classes.  I am happy next semester I will have more than 15 minutes to gather my brains together and prep for the next class (not to mention GRAB LUNCH).

Merry End of Semester!

whole-planner-1I am finally done with the semester!  Sorry I keep neglecting everyone.  I’ve had my nose in the books for the last three weeks.  I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season.  I’ve been decompressing from academics by creating things for next semester.  Since it is so close to Christmas, I have created a new 2017 planner with matching note paper!!  As usual this particular one is geared toward students, just because I am a student.  I don’t make things I won’t use.  I am really excited about this particular one because it is a neutral color with gold and black!  I hope you all enjoy it!matching-note-paper-1

 

 

Neutral 2017 Planner

Matching Note Paper

I Made a Thing!

Sorry everyone for the lack of posts.  I have been so busy with school!!  It’s 5 weeks until the end of the semester.  Between exams, homework, papers, etc. there has been little time for me to write anything.  My time is spent doing calculus and physics.  I don’t like to leave you all hanging!!  I do think about you guys.  Even when I don’t post.  I always feel bad.

Elec
tions are over.  If you are upset, I understand.  If you are scared, I understand.  If you need someone to talk to, I’m around.  Feel free to drop me a comment or a tweet.

So, what I have been doing recently in what bits of free time I have had, is making a new 2017 planner to upload!  It is finally finished.  If you want a different color, let me know so I can add them.  These planners are full 12 month, Monday start planners with SpiralDex at the bottom instead of my regular Chronodex.  The vertical two page-per-week layouts have boxes that are similar to the size of Erin Chondren Planners.  So, if you glam/scrap plan, you can find stuff that fits. new-2017-vertical-calendar

Aqua Planner 2017

Blue Planner 2017

Grey Planner 2017

Purple Planner 2017

Sage Planner 2017

Sand Planner 2017

I also have managed to finally get a bubble map template created so if anyone has professors that jump around from topic to topic, it can be a great hbubble-note-pictureelp.  It is only bubbles, you connect lines yourself, so you can have as many or as few tangents as you want.

Bubble Map Notes

As always, if you want to share my stuff, please link your friends to my page as opposed to just sending them the file.  Don’t try to pass my stuff off as your own.  Yadda yadda yadda.  You know the fine print drill.

Feel free to drop me a tweet or show me what you’ve done on Instagram by tagging me @CoffeeConfessor.

First Week!

Ok, so the first week of the semester is always busy.  Homework, and getting back into the routine of getting up at the crack of dawn to go to get to class on time.  I didn’t get all of my class syllabi in time to plan my semester before it started.  So, I am playing catch up.  However, it allows for me to take more pictures, and slow down a bit as I go.

So, in order to plan, I go through a single syllabus at a time when planning the semester.  This way, my brain has a single focus, and I can ensure I don’t miss any deadlines for the class.  I always color coordinate my classes.  This year the code goes like this:  German- blue, Physics- pink, Calculus- orange, Computer Programming- green.  I make sure I have proper amounts of sticky notes in these colors as well as page flags.  So, basically by the end of my Semester planning session, the monthly layouts are covered in sticky notes before I ever put pen to paper.

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As you can see, I chose to use the peach vertical planner this year.  It was so hard for me to decide.  I thought about rotating through ALL of the colors, but I wasn’t sure I’d like that too much.  I might try it eventually.  I sometimes get bored easily.  However, since I decorate my planner, I really don’t worry much about most of the color.

So, this weekend, my project is to ink and place planner stickers on the important monthly dates on what is due.  I will then add these to my assignment lists, both my master list and my individual class lists in order to keep track.  From there, I will keep a project planner in order to keep track of progress on each major assignment and exam.  As I do this I will keep track and post the photos on instagram if you are curious.  Follow me @coffeeconfessor to see more!

Beginning to Prepare

School Blocks Quarter Inch cool colors-1@0,5x
Cool School Calendar and Grade Trackers

With the start of the fall semester just around the corner, I have been working on a way to keep classes and their assignments more organized in my planner.  I am constantly wanting to know what assignments, quizzes, exams and projects are coming up in order to better prepare for them.  I also like to keep track of my grades throughout the semester so I know how to adjust my studying or ask for help if I need it before it is too late.  Since I decorate my planner, I’ve found that double writing of information is kind of a pain in the butt.  So, I have created some cutouts to put on my planner as I go, as well as a full page assignment/grade tracker.

School Blocks Quarter Inch Brights-1@0,5x
Bright School Calendar and Grade Trackers

I color coordinate my classes and assignment trackers.  I have found that it is the best way to glance at things and see what is due.  I am thinking of changing a few things, so the colors are in families and the darker it is the more important it is (i.e. deep teal or deep berry means exam or final, while pale magenta or pale aqua mean I only have homework).  However, I’m not sure how it would actually work.  I know some people use the color red to denote exams, yellow to denote homework, orange to denote quizzes, etc. for all of their classes.  I just happen to like to know which class my exam is in at a glance, as opposed to noticing that there is an exam, but not sure which class it is for, so I have to turn around and look at my syllabi to figure it out.  It really doesn’t work for me.  However, if it works for you, I did create calendar stickers for it.

Cropped Assignment and Grade Tracker Picture
Assignment Tracker

By using an individual assignment tracker for each class School Littles@0,5xI can file away the syllabi and just have the important stuff in my ARC notebook.  This way I’m not  wasting valuable notebook real estate on 5-10 page syllabi for 5 or 6 classes.  The assignment tracker pages coordinate with the bright school calendar labels and grade trackers.  The reason I use both ways to track my grade is because I can write down the individual grade of my assignment in the full page assignment tracker, and I can keep track of my weekly grade in each of my classes with the smaller trackers.  I know it seems a bit obsessive, but I like to know what my grade is at all times, and if something is wrong, I can always double check, and I have information as to which grades are wrong in order to get these things changed if necessary.  I also keep a seven pocket file folder for the semester to put my class assignments, tests, and quizzes in so I have them handy if I need to show them to the professor.

I wasn’t always this organized, I learned the hard way that one should have information in triplicate in order to prove something is wrong.  Trying to scramble to find an assignment that I had thrown into a drawer in order to double check that I was getting the correct grade became a pain.  So, when in doubt, triplicate the information.  I haven’t resorted to digitizing my former assignments and exams just because I’m afraid that my computer will die with all of my assignments I scanned in and I realize that a grade of mine is wrong at the last minute.

I hope you enjoy the things I created for you.  Remember that these creations are for personal use only, and aren’t to be sold.  Send people a link to my site for them to download these printables!  Also, if you have any questions, comments, requests, please feel free to drop me a line.

Class Assignment Tracker

Bright School Calendar Labels and Grade Trackers

Cool School Calendar Labels and Grade Trackers

Other School Little Printables

 

Sharing the Love…

Dr. Who LayoutI am a planner addict.  I love to decorate my planner.  It is a little bit of creativity when I am crunched for time.  I have also found that decorating my planner makes it something I want to look at and use more.  For some, this isn’t the case.  Some people like fairly plain things, especially if they are using it for only work.  If you want to start decorating your planner, there are several sites that you can go and get free printables to cut out.  As a college student, money is tight and I don’t get to spend a ton of money on Etsy shops—so free is the way I go.  Remember to thank these people for their hard work.  Printables are time consuming—and time spent on the product shows.  So, without further ado, here are ten of my favorite sites to go to for cute printables!

  1. BEaYOUtiful Planning                                              IMG_20160522_140624
  2. My Planner Envy
  3. Planner Addiction
  4. My Planner Life
  5. Planner Problem
  6. Uncommon Plans
  7. Vintage Glam Studio
  8. Pretty Paper Designs
  9. Lavender Garden
  10. Mein Lila Park

IMG_20160531_230731This is only a small portion of my bookmarks, and there are a lot of places to get free
printables.  You can also toy with making your own.  I sometimes do, but I am nowhere near as creative as these bloggers.  I stick mostly to creating functional stickers for myself because I have specific things I look for.

Note Taking 101

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Note taking is an important part of going back to college.  Whether one uses a computer or paper, it is important to learn to summarize as one goes and then re-write the notes after class.  While I don’t record all of my class lectures, I do record lectures from my harder classes.  If the class is more visually based, I have been known to set up my computer to record the lecture through its camera while I take notes by hand.  I recommend taking notes more by hand than I do via computer when in the classroom because it allows the brain to be engaged more than typing words on a screen.  I do tend to re-write my notes on a computer just to organize them after each chapter.  There is no one way to take notes.  In fact, depending on the teaching style and type of class, my note structure changes.  In my math classes, I tend to use a draw it out method.  In classes where I have professors who do what I call tangential-popcorn lectures (jumping from different topics and then going back) I use a mind mapping technique.  In anatomy I used a specific printout I created that was a Cornell method hybrid.

Basic Cornell notes work for classes that rely heavily on lecture.  How it is set up is that the paper is divided into three part:  a small skinny part for questions/verbal cues/vocabulary, the larger part for outline-type notes, and then a bottom section for a summary of the lecture.  These types of notes are good for teachers who are linear.  They are also good for book notes.  I used a type of hybrid of this type for my Anatomy and Physiology class.  The front was an entire page to write outline notes.  The back of the page has a place for summary, key points, key words, and a place to draw things out (ATP cycle, muscle types, tissue types, cell types, etc.).  If you have a class that is heavily visual with processes or concepts, these are the types of notes one should use.  Note taking is highly individual.  It is why when you ask for someone else’s notes from class, you may or may not understand them.  However, having a semblance of organization helps if you are letting someone borrow your class notes.  I rarely gave out my organized notes because I felt that if I did all the work, someone else shouldn’t benefit.  Also, when it came to my note taking I used specific colors for lecture notes, book notes, and clarified questions I had were all on that topic’s notes.  So in the end, my unorganized notes were three different colors before I typed them up.  It really helped for exams and quizzes.

Most people will tell you to read your book before class.  I say skim the chapter to get an idea of what is going to be talked about.  Make sure you write down any immediate questions that pop out.  During the lecture, as they get answered make note of this.  If questions aren’t answered, then ask them in class.  Then go back and summarize the lecture notes—pulling out key concepts.  Only after that do I go back to the book and read/take notes from the book.  Sometimes books are wrong—it is a fact of life.  I had a book in a class that we barely used because of information that was wrong/out of date.  So, remember to make note if the professor says that something is supposed to be the way he/she teaches it and not what is in the book.

So below are some print outs for note taking that I use.  I don’t have a mind map yet, I tend to just wing it on plain paper.  If you want me to make one just drop me a line!  Remember that these are for personal use only, so please do not try to sell them.  Also, direct people to my website as opposed to giving them the direct link for this and all other printables that I have created.  I hope you enjoy them!

Here is a copy of Plain Cornell Notes

Here is a copy of my Plain Hybrid Cornell Notes

Here is a copy of my decorated notes:   Decorated Hybrid Cornell   Decorated Cornell Notes

Here is a copy of the printout I use for Math

Facebook Enabling and Reading Challenges

So, I have come across this Facebook group that basically is a bunch of planner addicts enabling each other and it is great!  There are several on Facebook as well as Tumblr and other places.  I have found them to be a mecca of ideas, free printables, and encouragement.  Having a positive environment for people who share the compulsion to buy tons of washi tape and stickers for the sole purpose of putting it into a planner that becomes obsolete in a year is important.  Not many people understand the excitement of flipping on YouTube and finding out how people set up planners and how different types of planners look from cover to cover.  So, if you are on Facebook at any point and enjoy finding free printables and ideas for your planner check out We Come in Planner Peace.

*Now for something completely different…*

I have been an avid reader since the age of three when I first picked up a book no one had time to read to me and taught myself.  By fifth grade, I was reading (and understanding) Shakespeare.  I learned to hate Romeo and Juliet at a fairly early age.  Finding it to be nothing that girls should be swooning over.  I have read classics, mysteries, horror, pop literature, and even a few bodice rippers with Fabio on the cover.  I even slogged my way through the train wreck of the Twilight series.  I wanted to know what the hype was about.  Girls kept swooning over this mysterious Edward Cullen.  More like creepy stalker that no one should ever want to date.  It isn’t romantic, it is gross and creepy.  One could make it a drinking game:  every time the words “white,” “marble,” or “stone” appear, one takes a shot of whatever grain alcohol you have on hand.  However, be warned, you will need an ambulance on standby because you will get alcohol poisoning before the ending of the first book.  I have yet to lower myself to read 50 Shades of Gray.  Since I started school, my focus has been on education and learn, learn, learn!

I have been slack on my reading since I started back to school.  I haven’t read any book that wasn’t a text book or something assigned for class.  So, I have challenged myself to get 30 books read before school starts on August 22 (Seems ambitious doesn’t it?).  I have Reading Challenge-1also created a printable to share for anyone who wants to challenge themselves to read more books.  The file has 5 colors (because I can’t decide on a color on any given day): green, pink, blue, orange, and yellow.  I hope you enjoy them and they encourage you to read more for enjoyment rather than just reading for classes or work.  Remember, reading doesn’t just need to be done because it should be but it should be done because you can.

You can find the reading challenge printable here.

Remember that these are for personal use only, so please do not try to sell them.  Also, direct people to my website as opposed to giving them the direct link for this and all other printables that I have created.  I hope you enjoy them!

Scheduling at a Glance

So, I am a person who uses an electronic calendar like Google Calendar as well as a paper one.  I have tried out several different planners—and none quite fit what I needed.  This is why I have managed to take the time to combine elements from many different planners and smash them into a single planner. Cat calendar preview

I created a horizontal planner all of last year as well as through the fall, only to find that it
didn’t quite give me the strict organization space that I was looking for.  I spent a semester without a Spiraldex/Chronodex/Doubledex in the horizontal form.  It was basically a block of lines with a date.  All well and good when you have no need for specific organization.  It basically turns into words on a page.  It bored me.  So, I added different time indexes to my planner, and found that it was a start.  Each has their strengths and weaknesses.

The Spiraldex was the first one I tried.  I like the spiral pattern (what can I say, I am a 1254bd6f6522e7fe938c7cba8c378f91sucker for Fibonacci Sequences).  It was very simplistic, and it allowed me to mark off times in colors to eyeball what my true schedule would be like with only a glance, rather than having to sift through what I had written down.  My classes are all given specific colors, every other thing is also giveunnamedn specific colors.  This is good if you have linear progressions during the day.

The Doubledex is good if you have multiple areas to look at during the day such as work and home—or if you have to keep track of a couple of people’s schedules.  It is good for the multitasker.  It basically is a two tiered wheel.  You can either use the twelve sections as a whole, or use them for A.M. and P.M. in each level.
The standard Chronodex tends to be used in a linear fashion.  It has 3d9a22fa02ad5411afa3493cc0e5b54bdifferent sections with different heights of varying importance.  Usually the inner circle takes the early morning sections.  Not many people are extremely active in the hours between five and eight in the morning.

Really, it all comes down to preference.  Some people like to have their days set out in an agenda layout.  I prefer to have my days in a more compact visualization of a time index.

If you like the look of my horizontal weekly planner, you can download it here.  Remember that this isn’t to be sold, or distributed without my permission.  If you wish to link your blog up to this particular piece of work, please link to this post.