As school begins you’ll realize quick how many assignments you have and it can become overwhelming quick. During my time in undergrad, I figured out a fantastic way to keep track of all my assignments and organize for my classes. As a freshman I struggled to keep track of everything; I definitely missed readings and a few assignments snuck up on me. Following this simple way to compile all your syllabi together will keep you on track during your semester and get you the grades that you’re aiming for.
This post was originally supposed to go out ages ago but something happened and there were severe problems with my computer. I’ll explain later in this post about what happened and the valuable lesson I learned from the bump in the road.
For a quick side story about my computer. Basically, I would turn my computer on and instead of bringing me to my login page, it brought me to a recovery page. Something major from my computer was missing and it caused my computer to be stuck like this. So after almost two weeks of trying to get my computer fixed and having the possibility of losing all my photos, papers, research and blogging docs; I relearned a valuable lesson. Always, always, always back up your documents. Invest in a really big and reliable external hard drive to backup all your files.
All you need to get your assignments all together and organized are your syllabi, your laptop, excel and a printer (if you want to have everything printed on hand). Go through your syllabus for each class and highlight your assignments in different colors. One color for exams, one for readings and one for assignments. It’ll just make it a little easier to read as you start entering all the information into excel.
As you can see below, I have my course codes color coded along with the course name next to it. I always get my course codes confused so I decided to include this key to make my life easier. Below this, I have columns for my due date, class, assignment and a row for the month. In my assignment sheet I included my weekly assignments , readings and major assignments (like exams and papers). For readings, I highlighted the names of the authors and for major assignments I highlighted the whole row.
Just a quick note, I have week numbers in my due date rather than actual dates, I highly recommend putting in actual dates.
As you go through school, excel will become your best friend for assignments, budgeting, schedules, and so much more. Throughout the rest of the post I’ll give you a few tips to help you make your assignment sheet look organized and together and help with other documents you might create on excel. Excel gets a little funky when you try to print sometimes so for headings and columns I’ll use the Merge & Center function. What this function does is merges the cells together that your words go over. Under the course names, Project Design, Managing & Evaluation went across many different columns, so I highlighted the seven columns and hit merge & center. This turned all seven cells into one and centered my text. I didn’t want my text centered so I just highlighted the now one cell and hit the left justification. Merge & Center is also a drop down menu and has one action that is called Merge Across. This allows me to highlight rows 3-7 and the columns I want all at once. I’ll hit merge across and each row will have newly merged columns.
I have a lot of readings to do per class so I like to keep each reading assignment within the same cell but on separate lines. If you noticed, in excel if you click enter it’ll bring you into another cell rather than the next line in the cell you’re in. To solve this when you’re typing in the cell hold down Alt and click enter. Problem solved, now you have separate lines for each of your reading assignments.
The next tip is mostly for aesthetic purposes because you can technically be organized with any color but I’m not a primary color girl. You can sit and go through and individually set your colors for your font and fill box or you can just change the color theme. You’ll notice that at the top of excel there are different page headings: Home, Insert, Page Layout, etc. To change your color theme go to Page Layout and then look to the top left of that page(in the image I wrote right side by accident, sorry!), you’ll see a box that says colors. Click on this box and it’ll drop down to different color themes. You can select whichever you’d like and it’ll automatically adjust your font and fill colors. When you save, the next time you open your file, the same color theme will be set.
It’ll take a little while to compile all your assignments but it’ll make keeping track of everything so much easier. I would really recommend printing everything out and either hanging it on your bulletin board or putting it in the front sleeve of your most used binder. What kind of things do you do to keep on task and organized during your semester?