Hi everyone!

 

Now that we’re all back to school from winter break, it’s time to get organized again. One tool I’ve found myself using a TON, especially in college, is the Calendar app on my phone and computer. Between classes, extracurriculars, jobs, family responsibilities, and everything else life is throwing at us nowadays, students are BUSY! Using a virtual calendar is an easy way to manage your time and make sure you don’t miss anything important.

 

I’d recommend setting up your calendar at the beginning of a new semester/quarter, but it’s never too late! First, choose the calendar platform you’d like to use. Most devices have Calendar apps built in, but there are also others available for use online or as downloadable apps. Choose one that you’d like to do and stick to it!

 

Next, you have to enter all of your commitments into your calendar. When I make my calendars, I do it by “type” of commitment. First, I’ll enter all my classes, then my work meetings, then extracurriculars. Of course, you can add new time commitments as they arise. In fact, meeting invitations often come with ways to automatically add them to your calendar! Be sure you get the time and date of your activities right in your calendar and use the daily/weekly/monthly scheduling functions when applicable to ensure there aren’t any mix-ups.

 

Finally, keep up with your calendar! I check my calendar often throughout the day to check how much time I have before a meeting or plan out what I’ll accomplish and when. Add new meetings or activities as soon as you find out about them to ensure you don’t forget or create scheduling conflicts. Overall, while a good calendar takes some work upfront, it can really simplify your life and boost your time management!

Hi everyone! As finals season comes to a close, I hope you’re all doing well and taking care of yourselves. Also, happy holidays! It’s been a crazy year and hardly feels like winter here in Texas, but I’m excited to see what the holiday season brings.

 

In this week’s blog post, I’ll be covering ways to stay productive and active over winter break. Keeping busy during school breaks is a good way to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed when school resumes in the new year, but it also serves as an opportunity to learn something new, develop a new skill, or engage in a new hobby.

 

Some examples of things to take up during winter break are an online course about a subject of interest to you or to develop proficiency in a skill that you find fun or useful. This could also be a great time to work on learning a new language or read a book! These options are all very flexible and do not require much time, so they are an easy way to continue learning even when school is out for a few weeks.

 

Some more time-intensive ways to stay active during holiday break include finding a new hobby, finding a seasonal job, or starting a seasonal small business. Without the stress and pressure of school and extracurriculars, you’d be surprised by what you can come up with! Keep an open mind and find something that challenges, interests, and benefits you.

 

Overall, finding ways to stay active and continue learning, even when school is out, can have major benefits for you in the long-term. You may be able to develop a whole new skill, give a presentation on a topic you knew nothing about, or even have some extra spending money by the time you return to school! Of course, winter break should also be a time of rest, but it doesn’t hurt to use your temporary free time to work towards your goals, even in small ways!

This week’s blog post is going to be about the importance and benefits of using a planner. I’ve used a planner consistently since I was in elementary school to keep myself organized and on top of my responsibilities, from schoolwork to extracurriculars to even personal tasks. Over the years I’ve shared this strategy with my siblings and my peers, and now it’s your turn!

 

One of the most important factors into using a planner is actually purchasing one that you like and will want to use. My middle school and high school provided students with school-branded planners, so I always used those, but once I got to college I had to find and choose one for myself. You can find the planner I currently use herebut you can find all sorts of sizes and designs on the internet or in stores that sell school/office supplies. Be sure to choose a planner design that you like and that suits your needs! If you don’t enjoy looking at it, you’ll be much less likely to actually use it.

 

The second key to transitioning to using a planner is deciding on an organization system that will work best for you. My strategy has always been writing down assignments as soon as I find out about them. Most planners are broken down on a weekly basis with sections for each day of the week. If an assignment is due on Wednesday, I will write the assignment down under Tuesday. As a result, on any given day I can go through the assignments I have due the next day and cross them off as I complete them. For larger assignments, I often put reminders on the days leading up to the due date to encourage myself to work ahead if possible. There are many ways to organize your planner, so choose a strategy that works best for you and your workload!

 

Finally, be sure to take advantage of the other tools that planners may have to offer. Many, including  the planner I use, have pages dedicated to each month. I use these pages to keep track of major responsibilities such as midterms or project due dates. Planners also usually have a spot to keep track of contacts, goals for the year, and other information that can be very useful to have written down! Above all, be sure to have your name and phone number or email address written in your planner in case you lose it. I know I’d be lost without my planner, so be sure to keep track of it and store it in a safe place!

 

Overall, using a planner will help you stay on top of your assignments and responsibilities in an organized and manageable way. While it may take some getting used to at first, you’ll quickly catch on and learn to love the process!

 

 

While they may seem outdated, “Thank You” notes are still a very important part of academic, professional, and social culture today. In this post, I’ll be covering reasons to give a “Thank You” note, methods to deliver your message, and things to be sure to include in your note for several different scenarios. I’ll also include a more general template below. Being thankful doesn’t have to be scary or a secret, let people know that you are thankful for what they do for you!

 

Reasons to give a “Thank You” note:

  • You met with someone to learn more about their college/work and get advice
  • You attend a college/grad school/company info session
  • You received a letter of recommendation from someone
  • You had a college/job interview with someone
  • Your teacher/professor agrees to be a supervisor for your research project
  • You received a gift from someone

Ways to deliver your message:

  • Email
    • Most universally applicable
    • Can find email address on business card
  • Handwritten letter (mailed or hand-delivered)
    • Great option if you have a personal relationship or live in close proximity to them/their work

What to include in your message:

  • What the person did for you
  • How their help contributes to your academic plans/future/success
  • If there’s an outcome associated with their help: (you get accepted to a school/program/club), be sure to let them know!

Logistics:

  • Email: within 48 hours of the meeting/agreement/submission/etc.
  • Hand-delivered: drop off within a week
  • Mail: send out within 48 hours

 

 

A sample “Thank You” note could look like this:

 

Dear ________,

 

Thank you so much for meeting with me last week to discuss your role at _________. I really enjoyed learning about ______. I am looking forward to being considered for ______ and appreciate your help throughout this process. I hope to stay in touch and ________!

 

Thank you,

 

___________