So, tomorrow starts my 3rd semester as an Info Sci Phd Student. I’ve been in school for so many years that I have developed several habits on the eve of the semester that help me get focused and get organized. Realizing that there are a few students that read my blog, I thought I’d share just a few of these things that others may find useful as well.
1. I make sure I already have all my books
Yeah, this may seem like a “well duh” statement, but I take this one step further in that I put tabs sticking up off the top of the first page of each chapter. This helps me understand when the syllabus says “Read chapters 1 – 4”, I have a good idea ahead of time just how much work that is. Additionally, I can easily flip to any chapter I need to in an instant when I need to study.
2. I create my file structure
This is perhaps the IA coming out in me, but I like to have a place for everything from the beginning. I create a parent folder for the semester Fall_2011 and then I create a folder for every class. Once I get the syllabus and the class materials I create a folder for every week inside each of the class folders, as well as a homework folder so all of my assignments are in the same place.
3. I setup my Omnifocus database
Each class gets its own setup where I put in all of the assignments based on the syllabus once I get it. This way both my computer and phone go off to tell me when I have something due. I also get that bit of excitement when I get to check something off as done.
4. I setup my Evernote notebooks & tags
Each class gets its own notebook that all get stacked together in a notebook for the semester. I then setup tags for each class and the semester overall.
So there you go. It’s not the most exciting stuff ever, but it helps me stay organized which is very important for online classes – especially in grad school.
For those who want a little more in depth look into all of the tools I use check out my Signal to Noise post I made about 4 years ago.
Good luck this semester!