Bullet Journaling For College Students: 6 Steps To Get You Started

One of the big challenges of college is creating an organizational system that makes sense to you. In elementary school, you were probably given an agenda each year so that you could copy down homework assignments each day. A bullet journal follows a similar idea, but it is not limited to just homework assignments. You will not believe how helpful a bullet journal can be for college students, mostly because bullet journals are so versatile. There are so many spreads that you can do in a bullet journal, from class schedules to homework to project trackers! Below are six ideas for how to use a bullet journal to keep up with college classes

Create a spread that shows your class schedule.

Turn one of your pages into a weekly overview where you can write in classes, professors, room numbers, and course codes. This way you can look at the page and instantly see that on Mondays and Wednesdays, you have English 202 with Professor Brown in the English building, room 312, from 11:00-12:20. You will not have to worry about looking like a lost and confused freshman, wandering the halls.

Create a ‘Semester at a Glance’ spread and copy down EVERYTHING from the syllabus into it.

‘Semester at a Glance’ is similar to the ‘Future Log’, but it is specifically for classes. You will not migrate your doctor’s appointments here. Instead, all papers, exams, class-free days, and finals prep will go here. The second you get your syllabi, sit down and write in the important dates. To reduce confusion between classes, see the next tip.

Color-code your classes to ensure that you never mix up or forget assignments.

Pick one color per class and using that color to note due dates, homework, and anything else related so that you never get due dates mixed up. This will be especially helpful when you start your upper-division classes when you might be taking two or more classes from the same department.

Plan out your study time.

Use your journal to budget your time so that you finish your readings and your drafts in a timely manner. Adjusting to college means adjusting to new homework and different expectations, but once you get in the rhythm of classes, you should be able to accomplish your work and still have time for fun things. While there is a running joke that in college you cannot have enough sleep, good grades, and a social life, it is actually doable. It does require some planning and time management though.

Alternatively, set up an ‘Ideal Day’ spread in your bullet journal.

If having multiple spreads is too complicated, dedicate a page to an ‘Ideal Day’. This way you can plan out your morning routine, see when your classes are, and set aside your study time all on the same page, and set some realistic goals for how you want to use your time. This way you can have a better idea of what your free time looks like. Maybe you do have a bunch of time that could be better served in the library rather than binging Netflix, or maybe your Tuesdays are really hectic in which case fitting in one more thing might not work.

Create trackers for ongoing projects.

By the time you are taking upper division classes, you will definitely have long-term projects that you will be expected to complete. Some of your professors will have concrete due dates for certain parts of the project, but many will not. In order to stay on top of projects like these, and to prevent yourself from procrastinating until finals week, set up a spread in your bullet journal to track your progress. If you have the luxury of concrete due dates for drafts, use these as your starting point and create goals for each day. If you only have a final due date, break the project into pieces and be realistic about your time. If you are fairly fast at research, do not budget half your time for it. Instead, have your first due date be relatively soon and make it your goal to have all of your sources by then.

Hopefully, these tips have given you some good ideas for staying organized and on top of things once classes start. College is a new experience and requires some adjustment, but you will do fantastically well.  Just remember to cut yourself some slack and do your best to connect with your professors. If you get into real trouble with homework, your professors are the ones to talk to about it.

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