The Power of a Four Month Dry-erase Calendar

If you asked my friends most would say I’m an organized person, however there’s been times where I had things I could improve on.

Back in grade twelve, I was having increasing difficulty keeping track of dates and deadlines that came up months ahead of time. Extracurricular activities were easy to remember because they stayed consistent week to week and I only had to keep track of scheduled shifts at work for two weeks at a time. Weekly timetables gave me the essential information without having to dig around too much. Things like grad information nights were much harder to remember without a regular schedule.

I didn’t like the set up of digital calendars because I couldn’t see all the details like exact times right away, just colour coded lines over a month-long spread. While some swear by paper planners, I found it challenging to find one with the right layout and to stick to using it. Squares in the month-long spreads were too small, weekly pages just weren’t laid out right, or precious space was taken up by quotes that I didn’t find all that inspiring.

I’d tried every planner out there, but different things work for different people. Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

Writing in dates from course outlines and syllabi is now my beginning of semester ritual. Photo by me.

My mom was the one to suggest a calendar. We ended up going for the type that looks like a large notepad that can be hung or placed on a desk. It had plenty of space for writing out significant due dates and deadlines but looking for something outside of the current month required flipping these huge sheets of paper which more than a couple times led to me accidentally tearing a page.

The weekend that I moved into my dorm room, I picked up a four-month dry erase calendar from the UVic bookstore. Months later I can safely say that it is the most functional thing I have ever stuck to a wall. Thanks to my professors sending out course outlines several days before class started, I was able to write out every single due date, deadline, residence activity, and event.

All the information I wanted was now visible at a glance. Before I even stepped foot into my first lecture ever, I knew when my first assignment was due as well as when the midterm was for any given class. This way of organizing proved itself when I got sick the week leading into the day when I had two midterms, a meeting, and a project due. Even though I was not feeling my best physically that day I had had adequate study time and only needed to do minimal work on the project, so I was as stress-free as I could be.

I can safely say that last semester I never missed a deadline. While using a calendar will not eradicate the stress of being a student entirely, it helps with time management and planning how you prepare for tests and assignments.

What I learned besides how to improve my organization strategies was that what might work for others may not necessarily work for you and that it’s okay to explore strategies until you find the right fit.

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