Higher Learning
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Higher Learning

Seeing Your Semester

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash. This picture is not exactly what this entry talks about, but it’s close. And there’s coffee, which helps.

No matter what point you are in the semester, it’s important to be clear on everything you have going on. Ideally you do this right at the beginning, perhaps even before the first day of classes. (But do this one in pencil or dry-erase marker, because we know schedules may change). You can and should revisit the exercise at few points in the middle, to check in, refresh, update, and hopeful re-instill some motivation. Sometimes, that midterms or finals prep planner for the remaining weeks of the semester is just the thing to get re-focused.

The goal, and the product, no matter the point in the semester you are doing this is to create a one-page document that shows major things to take care of. Exams, papers, projects. Shows / performances (if you’re in student performing arts), games / tournaments (if you’re a student athlete, trainer / staff volunteer, cheerleader, or in the school band), conferences / major events (for other student activities). Job interviews, family travel, social outings (music festivals, etc). Anything that you would classify as a major assignment or event should be on the planner.

You can do it in a Google docs table or through Google sheets, or you can get a blank piece of paper and map things there. I also have some templates here in the resources section. Whatever you do, it’s best to hang it up some place that you will see it each day. While the process of typing this up or writing things down will be helpful, the focused visualization afterwards will keep this top of mind.

Two things as we close:

  1. Seeing this map of due dates and happenings is supposed to help you identify points of conflict / overload, and make a plan. This plan could involve starting something earlier and/or switching around whatever you are able to move. This one-pager gives you the power of knowing. Take full advantage of that.
  2. Do not let this document become stagnant background on your wall. Look at it every day. See where you are and what’s coming up next. Adjust your plans and proactively steer clear of danger. Commit and complete. Then get ready for whatever is around the corner, knowing that your full semester view will help you not get caught off guard.

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