In a couple of weeks time you will be galloping around the campus experiencing the thrills and spills of Fresher’s Week, digging through a plastic bag of ‘goodies’ from student societies and clubs, banking establishments, and local eateries (and drinkeries). The Student Union will have optimistically included an academic year wall planner, and a student diary – an excellent piece of equipment that includes all kinds of useful information about places and people to go to for assistance.
Some people work well with paper-based reminders and to do lists. They are concrete, not dependent upon access to wifi, and if managed carefully will be an ever-present staple of your college backpack. Indeed, I have recently returned to using an academic year diary with one young man whose levels of online distraction are stratospheric. If you are a chronic organiser and cannot wait for your freebie from college / uni, I can thoroughly recommend a commercial product from Palgrave Macmillan.
You can download an 11 page sample of the the Palgrave Student Planner from https://he.palgrave.com/resources/sample-chapters/9781137602107_sample.pdf which should be sufficient to give you an idea of the layout and writing style. In addition to all of the usual suspects (timetable and notes pages, contacts list, budgeting tips) it also contains important study skills guidance.
However, online or digital planners that sync with other applications and devices undoubtedly take the work out of having to remember to bring your book. Of course you can sync email and calendars with your phone and laptop through iCloud, Google and Microsoft, but I do like something that is specific to a learning environment. I recently ran a 5-day camp for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder in their final year of school, and we introduced online planners as part of the prep for study module. MyStudyLife is (currently) a free cross-platform app for web or phone. You can add your timetable, schedule assignments and examinations, and the Task List pops up on your ‘dashboard’ so that you know exactly what you have to do each day. Furthermore, you can set a percentage bar to show how much of an assignment or task has been completed. All you have to do is remember to check it on your phone or laptop.
Find out how studying in college works in terms of lectures, assignments and examintions, and visit The Student Toolkit well in advance of the beginning of your course.
Finally, I stumbled across a nice infographic from http://www.stopprocrastinatingapp.com which summarizes strategies for successful study in college. Indeed the tried and tested techniques are all there, give them a try.