Starting the new school year the right way

Sunday, September 13

By Ariana Noghreh

Staying home during a pandemic has been our constant state in the past few months and this state has to unfortunately follow us from the previous school year into the new one. Whether you're starting university like I am or are continuing your middle or highschool studies, it's safe to say that we're all in this together. I've been watching MANY Youtube videos about how to properly transition into online-learning (as I've been on a gap year last year) and I thought that it's good to share some tips here so that we can all look forward to the school year amidst everything that's going on in the world.

Use Google Calendar

Or any other calendar app that floats your boat. I really like Google Calendar because of how easy it is to add, move around, and organize events. In addition to using a calendar, you should also work on a colour system. This will help you immediately recognize what group each event falls into. Here's how I organize and colour-code my Google Calendar:

Grey for personal events like gym, family-related events, or plans I have with friends (though the latter has been put on hold for a long time now).

Yellow for birthdays and holidaysI don't really think each one of these deserves its own colour as they're related and they serve as reminders more than anything. 

Blue for university. I'll use blue for classes and events mostly. If I have an exam or assignment coming up for uni, I still add it to this category, but change its colour to red so that I could understand that it's an important deadline. My uni also has a calendar that I've subscribed to and I also have it saved as the same blue colour since they're in the same category. 

Green for work. I'm currently working remotely at two different companies and divide up my work in a way so that I'd work full-time on two days only. Putting them on my calendar reminds me that those days are only for work.

Orange for tasks. Sometimes I like to time-block (put blocks of time aside for specific tasks) or just plan by the hour. This changes every day, but what remains the same is that I add the tasks I need to get done to this category and simply change their colours to the category that it actually is. For instance, I add work-related tasks to this category but change the colour to green. This way I'll know what my task is related to. 

Use Notion

I've only begun using Notion last week, and I like it a lot. I've heard a lot about it for a year but was never in the mood to give it a try, especially when I was using OneNote and Notion seemed too complicated to me. But I decided to check it out and now I've completely transitioned to Notion. You don't HAVE to use it, but it's a great app for you to write things down in. Not just class notes, but your schedules, your assignments, etc. I also use it for recipes and for my movie and TV lists as I like to write down what I've watched and what I want to watch in the future. 

Prepare Ahead of Time

My classes don't start for another month, but I'm working on sleeping earlier and creating a daily schedule for myself now so that I could be somewhat organized when they do start. I try to think of what pen colours I want to use for notes and how I'd take notes. I also organize the files on my laptop into folders to make everything easier to find. Organizing bookmarks on my browser is another thing I like to do. I've realized that we do have enough time in a day but most of that is spent on social media. If that's also your problem, I suggest either deleting the app or using a block app that doesn't let you use social media during certain hours. My favourite app for that is BlockSite, as you can set a password for yourself. And if you're going to uni and have to move into dorms, try to make a list of the things you want and need to take with you, be it clothes, books, or things from your desk. Try to also search for recipes to make once you're there so that you'd save valuable time for when you have classes. 

Stop Worrying 

You're not alone right now. Everyone is in the same position you are and we're all trying to make the best of it. Things are tough, but we'll get past them. Don't be scared when you're confused because everyone else is as confused and as lost as you are. If you need help, ask for it. And don't lose hope. This can still be a great year.

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