Friday, September 25

How do you write and go to college without going nuts?

*Question from B.E. Sanderson*

Who's to say I haven't already gone crazy? LOL! Alright, but in all seriousness, I do think I've lost it a few times. I've had several meltdowns over the past few years, more so during my first year when I was stuck with 3 bimbos masquerading as college students. Oh wait... I just described most of my peers...

Anyway... I haven't had any meltdowns recently, but that has to do more with me being mentally prepared for the task at hand, rather than my work load diminishing. It also makes a huge difference if you live with people you can stand. With this being my 3rd year, I generally know what to expect and therefore can prepare for it before it happens. And although that makes perfectly logical sense-- at least to me-- I know a lot of post-secondary students in their 3rd year who still look like lost little freshmen. They still don't do their homework on time. They still don't know how to properly cite a paper, whether in APA, Chicago or MLA. And they still skip 50% of their classes. ARGH! And they wonder why they fail?! Why they keep coming back, I'll never know.

So, to answer your question B.E. I am probably the most organized person you will ever meet when it comes to school. My first week of school I got all of my outlines together and colour coded each class. I then went through each outline and added the exam dates and due dates of things into my organizer; highlighted of course, in their specific colour. And no, I don't stop there.

I'm a list person. I make lists for everything I need to do. I guess I like seeing what needs doing and I like the satisfaction I get once I cross something out. So once the due dates for things are written into my calendar, I go through each class and figure out what I need to read/do for the next week. I then write that down on a big piece of paper--my list paper.

This week's list

Now, I feel I also most point out that I don't just do my homework one week in advance. No, no, no. My first week back was so hectic because I did the readings for the next two weeks in all of my classes. So by the end of the first weekend of school, I was already doing work for mid September. Yes, I know that seems insane and I must seem like a real go-getter. But think of it this way. If I finish the readings and other work early, I have the ability to start my essays or big projects early, thereby giving me 3 weeks to do each thing without panicking at the last second to do it. It also gives me the freedom to have off days where I can just sleep without worrying that I need to read such and such chapter for tomorrow. And, at the end of the semester, it gives me more time to study for final exams.

Now, because I'm sure you're all so curious, I will give you a rundown of my schedule for next week.

ANTHRO-- Read Chapter 3 (74 pages)
Watch the movie I missed on Monday (funeral day...)

Stupid English-- Write journals (8)
Do a stylistic Analysis of a piece of literature and write essay on it
(Never sure what else is due in this class because it's the crazy teacher and he didn't give us due dates for anything. So I have to do this day by day).

English Theory-- Read Chapter 5 (42 pages)

GNED-- Read Case #1 (63 pages)
Answer questions regarding essay (will take about 2 hours)

HIST-- Read 3 articles on the witch hunt (total pages- 111)
Write weekly reading essay
Start compiling notes about Defiled Trades & Social Outcasts. Basically, write the essay (book review) in point form. This is for my midterm. We are supposed to read the book and then write a book review on it (6 pages).

There is more that I have to do, but I won't know about it till I go to the first class of the week.
So yeah, that's basically how I remain sane. I organize the bejesus out of everything so that I know exactly what I have to do and when. It generally takes me from Monday- Thursday night to complete most of that and then I get the weekends to do whatever I want (ie, WRITE). Plus, if I didn't write, I think I'd be worse off. Although writing can be stressful, it's what I do to relax. Sad, I know, but I figure you guys understand. It's a way for me to escape all the work and disappear. Some people play x-box, some people watch tv/movies. I write (and read, but I think those two go hand in hand...)

Anyway... Unfortunately, I still have some more work to do today, but it's not a lot, so I'm hoping to get that done within the next 2 hours. In fact, I think I'm going to go do that now. I will be back later with another post!


  1. Okay, first I have to say Yay Natalie!! You're doing so great :)

    Next, an observation. I've seen so many posts where the blogger mentions being a "list person" (I am an enormous list person for all the reasons you gave). Maybe it's a writer thing? Words on paper works for us?

    Lastly, all the color coding was totally me in college...but I wish I had started assignments early like you do! I was more of a, do it when it's due type of student. The problem with that method is, sometimes tons of things are due at once-ACK! Your way is SOOO much saner!

    I know everyone tells you this but before you know it this year will be next year, and then, just when your brain is about to unhinge itself from your skull and sprint off to some foreign country under an assumed name, you're done. Tah-dah, you're a college grad :)

  2. I am seriously impressed. (Picture me doing the Wayne and Garth 'we're not worthy' thing.) You're so far ahead of where I was at the same age. Hell, you're ahead of where I am now. ;o)

    I'm going to have Daughter read this post. She's only a couple years away from college, and she could use the pointers on how to stay ahead of the game.

    Of course, this post also reminds me of why I get a little crazed sometimes: I'm not organized enough. It's a habit I should have but never really developed. Time for this old dog to learn some new tricks or forever chase her own tail.

    Thanks, Natalie. Keep up the good work.

  3. Diana- Thanks so much! Huh, you know, I think you're right. Most of the writers I know are list makers. Weird. I wonder if they've ever done a study on that? LOL! Seems like there are studies for everything...

    Yeah, most things for me are due at the same time. So if I have any chance of getting them all done I have to start weeks in advance to give myself enough time. Haha thanks! I know my way doesnt work for some people, but it works for me!

    LOL! Actually, not a lot of people tell me that. Besides my parents, the rest of my family acts like they dont even know I go to school. Unless, of course, they want to make fun of what I'm taking! But thank you for the encouragment! I really want to have that degree in my hands one day. Just need to keep reminding myself of that!

    B.E.- Aww thanks! You're such a sweetie. If she needs any pointers on how to stay ahead just send her on over. I'd be glad to help out.

    Well, because of your question B.E., I think I'm going to do a series of posts dedicated to how I stay organized in my day to day life and with my writing. Maybe starting Monday? Hm. We shall see.


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