Tick tock….

College gives you a lot of freedom, and with freedom comes idle hands, and with idle hands come wasted time. It takes a bit of an adjustment to get into the habit of studying a certain amount of hours a week for each class you take, figuring when and when not to devote time towards outside clubs, and realizing you’ve spent too much time with friends and need to get back to hitting the books again.

Last fall and spring semesters, this is what I had on my plate:

  • 18 credit hours each semester (3 science courses + labs per semester)
  • 6 hours/week of research
  • 4 hours/week of volunteering
  • 4 hours/week of shadowing
  • 4 hours/week of internship
  • 4+ hours/week of dance rehearsals (and I was an officer)
  • I was active in 4 clubs
  • Yes, I had a social life.
  • Yes, I was able to sleep at least 6 hours on the weekdays (weekends, I don’t sleep, I party…just kidding, I slept for 10 hours/night on the weekends)
  • I did not make anything below a 93.

I’m not here to brag and tell you it was easy because trust me, it was NOT easy. It took dedication and grit. Having that said, how the hell did I not die my second year of college?!?!

Two words.

Time management.

You need the right tools.

  1. A Monthly Calendar

This was a DIY calendar that I made before my second year of college. It adds color to my room and pulls my attention every once in awhile.

How to make it:

  • Buy a big frame from Ikea or Hobby Lobby
  • Steal 35-40 paint chips from Home Depot and cut them up into squares (just kidding, don’t steal)
  • Tape/glue it onto the white paper that always comes with frames when you first buy them
  • Make sure to place the plastic glass thingy over the paint chips so that you can write on it with an white board marker and erase easily
  • I use Acetone and a tissue paper to erase everything and start over at the end of each month

**I only write down the super important dates on my monthly calendar: Exams, quizzes, travel days, important meetings, and project due dates.


2. Weekly Template

My ideal week of the fall semester.
This is when I usually start getting looks of bewilderment from people. As a pre-med student, I dedicate a lot of my time to studying. This semester, the MCAT is my priority, as you can see. I love routines, so I make a weekly template at the beginning of every semester. This is what an ideal week would look like for me this fall. I always strive to follow this schedule, so I use it as a guide when I plan my daily doings every week. Of course, life throws curve balls, so I don’t always follow this perfectly, but it gives me a timeline for when new meetings or things pop up so that I can plan accordingly and still get these weekly goals done.


Maiuseful weekly template

  • I got this first one off of the internet, and it’s a bit blurry. However, I like it that way when it prints, so that what I write pops out of the page more, and it’s easier to see my time blocks.

Maiuseful weekly template 2

  • I made this one to have more bolded lines if the blurry template bothers you. You can fill in your own time increments if you don’t like the hourly time frame from 8:00am- 12:00am on the first template.


3. A Planner


2016-2017 Sugar Paper Planner – $13.99 at Target
Last year’s busy September!
I loved this because I could set monthly goals for myself, whether it concerns my academic, health, or financial goals.
Sugar Paper is a genius with this week layout. I had fun writing down everything I needed to buy and everyone I needed to call and email for the week. It also gave me an option to write my weekly top three goals and errands on my to do lists.
I’m sad that Sugar Paper pulled their planners from Target this year because this was my absolute favorite! It literally organized my life. If any of my readers know a planner that’s just like this, or if Sugar Paper is selling at another store, let me know in the comments!

2017-2018 Blue Sky Planner – $8.99 at Target 
This is how I planned my September for this year. I only cross days out once it’s passed. I write out all of my exams, assignment due dates, quizzes, and every other important meeting and date I have to remember.
I plan my daily doings for the week in detail by the hour the Sunday before the week starts. I planned this week yesterday. Throughout the week, if I need to make changes, I will. I use my ideal weekly template to guide me in what I have to do for each day of the week.

Time is money! More tips:

  • Try to stick to your schedule as much as you can.
  • Learn to be flexible and adapt to changes.
  • If something pops up, make sure that you only change your schedule if that something is at a higher priority than what you have planned that hour/day.
  • Make time for yourself and something fun! Last year, I painted every Thursday night; this year, I am taking kickboxing lessons with some of my girlfriends.
  • Plan your naps, driving times, meals, free times so that you don’t burn yourself out. All the blank spaces you see on my weekly schedule are fair game for socializing (this semester, keep in mind that I am cutting down on my social life because I am studying for the MCAT with most of the free time I have, so don’t let my ideal week scare you if you aren’t taking the MCAT this semester).


By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s