Monday, August 27, 2012

Stop Blaming the Dog, Already

Students are headed back to school, and we all know what that means--The "H" word:


There, I said it. The great dread of all people in school.

There's no way around it, so how do you keep it under control?

A planner is probably the best way to stay on top of your schedule. Planners are just calendars which you write in to keep track of your tasks. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, in fact, you can probably make one yourself, or simply use an ordinary notebook. Sometimes schools will furnish a simple planner free in the first weeks of school. If that's the case, by all means take one!

As soon as you know about an event, a due date, a deadline, or anything else that will be happening in your life, put it in the planner. That would include family events as well as school test dates. Here are some examples:

  • Study times
  • Assignment due dates
  • Test dates
  • Appointments with anyone
  • Family get togethers such as birthdays, etc.
  • Sign up deadlines
  • Dates of SAT or ACT tests
  • Due dates for fees
  • Application due dates

You can color-code different subjects if you wish, or whether an assignment is going to be a major time commitment, or color code by month due. You can even name the planner to give it more importance.

A planner you can carry with you is great, as is a large calendar you might place on your desk. Whichever form will make you check it daily is the right one for you. You can do both, but be sure they look just alike.

You can put one on your computer, as well. The important thing is to USE YOUR PLANNER. Refer to it at least every day to see what's due and what's coming up soon.

Give yourself plenty of time: If the due date is the 10th, pretend it's the 3rd. This way, if you have some obstacle to get over, you still have an extra week. If you are done early, that's great!

Break down larger items into: 'Get to Chapter 12 by this date' if reading a book, or 'Finish #16 by this date,' or 'Get outline finished by this date,' etc. It will make big assignments seem less overwhelming. If you try to cram it all in right before it's due you aren't going to do well because you won't remember what you need to. But then, if you're using your planner, you won't be cramming, right?

Some general tips to keep you ahead of the game:

Put all your financial aid stuff in a folder. Your FAFSA application AND PASSWORD go in the folder. Your award letter, loan papers, any communications about financial aid you receive: it all goes in your financial aid folder. And the folder goes somewhere you can always find it.

Put your phone in another room. Turning it off, or on vibrate, won't really let you ignore it. You really can go for a stretch of time without checking it...or texting someone that you're doing homework.

Homework should be on your schedule, as in: 4:00-6:00 every day is homework. Then a break, and homework again from 7:00-9:00...or whatever you need. Maybe you have to work on it more hours one day in order to go out with friends the next day. Check your planner: Are you on top of things?

Be sure your notes on your planner are legible: They're no help if you can't read what you wrote.

When you have an assignment done, have a box or a particular place to put it--a safe place but not where you won't see it. It's not fun panicking when you want to turn it in but can't find it.

We interrupt this blog for some interesting excuses given to teachers as to why students didn't do their homework:

  • I have a solar powered calculator, and it was a cloudy day
  • I was kidnapped by terrorists
  • The dog ate it and we had to take him to the vet and it was really late when I got home
  • Aliens stole it to see what human handwriting looks like
  • I lost my hour to do homework due to Daylight Savings Time
  • I only had a green pen and you said it had to be in black pen
  • My brother took the paper and made an airplane out of it and it landed on the roof of our house.

Here is a planner sheet with times during the day:

Here are some planner pages to give you an idea of what your planner might look like-keep scrolling down for the current date:

You can download an academic year calendar from your school's website, as well.

You are a student, so homework is part of your life. Remember--it's how you're going to reach your goals. Do your best, and make it a little easier by getting organized.

Have a great year!!

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