You could just take those syllabi professors are passing out like popcorn this time of year and shove them deep into the bowels of your backpack, forgetting about them until necessity forces you to resurrect them from their linty tomb. But that’s a surefire recipe for cramming, all-nighters, and mediocre grades.
Instead, go over each syllabus with an eye towards due dates. Add major events to your semester calendar and then break each assignment/project/major-exam-prep into hour-sized chunks. Now schedule the chunks on that same calendar.
You’ll quickly see which weeks turn it to eye-popping, caffeine-fueled, study-thons. Sweeeet. So easy now to reschedule and lighten the load. You’ll be panic-free and well rested come finals time.
[hidepost]But don’t stop there. Add any other major events to your calendar. Parties, mud-football clobber fests, major shopping extravaganzas, protest marches, Mom’s birthday–you can even put down something on the calendar the week BEFORE Mummie’s Bday–so you’ll have time to actually buy her something special and get it to her by her birthday. CAUTION: Not advisable if your mum has a pre-existing heart condition. The shock might be too much!
Every day, pull out the old semester calendar and update it. Are there new events to add? Do you need to reschedule something?
Quickly scribble tomorrow’s events on a piece of paper and schedule them. For example…
Research “Porcine Alopecia” in Library – 1:30 to 2:30p
Take notes on Chapter 7 of Otoliths and You – 4:20 to 5:00p
Giving each task a time will provide structure and prevent putting-it-off-itis. Fold piece of paper in two and place in pocket. Reference throughout the day.
Now just stick to the plan day-by-day and wait gleefully for finals. The week before finals, gloat and hit the sack early whilst your cronies desperately guzzle double espressos in a bid to get-it-all-done.[/hidepost]