January 18, 2017

How to Plan Like a Pro in College

Hey y'all!

Today we are talking about one of my absolute favorite things, PLANNERS!! Don't worry, I'm not an over organizer where I decorate my planner with stickers and such (been there, tried that, too much to keep up with), but I'm definitely a huge believer in writing things down.

Since it's the beginning of a new year AND the beginning of a new semester, I thought it would be super fun to share with you how I use my planner. 

As everyone begins with their New Years Resolutions, I know a lot of people have "get organized" on their to do list. Hopefully my tips can help you out since I'll also be sharing how I stay organized during the school year. 


This January marks the beginning of my second semester of my sophomore year, so I would like to believe that I have a pretty good system down!

I started using this planner system my freshman year of high school, and it has been really effective! I do think that everyone likes to organize differently, but this way really draws your attention to your homework, due days and assignments. It's such an easy way to hold yourself accountable for everything you have to get done!

The Planner + Pencil Bag
In high school, as well as my freshman year of college, I used a Lilly Pulitzer Large Agenda, and I loved it! I'm sure you've seen them before since everyone and their mother has had one at some point, but there's a reason why. It has so much room to write down everything you could possibly need to do in a day and then some.

My only complaint is that since those planners are 17-months, they leave an awkward time gap. I do definitely plan on purchasing a new Lilly planner whenever they release the 2017 ones, but I was left without a planner for a few days and I felt lost. I found myself searching for something similar, but not wanting to shell out $45 for something sub-par. I checked out Amazon, Target, Walmart...

And then I found this simple Mead Weekly/Monthly Planner. It's the perfect size for me to just carry around in my backpack, plus it's super affordable, so there's no excuse to not have one! I just added my own "Life is Good" sticker that I purchased from Redbubble, and I was good to go! 

As for my pencil bag, I bought this longchamp dupe from Old Navy a few years ago. I personally prefer cosmetic style bags instead of regular pencil cases, because they fit more! 

Here are a few cute options: silver cosmetic bag ,  iridescent cosmetic bag , black cosmetic bag

Pencil Bag Essentials
Okay confession time, I'm kind of pen obsessed. Is that weird? Oops, my bad.

My absolute favorite pen is the Pentel Energel Deluxe in the color 'blue medium', but it does come in quite a few other colors as well. They write so smoothly and never bleed through paper. I refuse to use anything else! 

As for my highlighters, I use the Lilly Pulitzer pen with highlighter set. Honestly, they aren't anything special, so using the basic Sharpie highlighters is another great option, especially on a college girl budget.

In my pencil bag, I always keep some sticky notes or a lined note pad to write short reminders or longer to-lists! Writing things down help you to remember what you need to do, and it's also such a satisfying feeling to finally be able to check something off once you've accomplished it!
How to Color Code
I personally use a color coding system for my planner. I think it's the most straightforward approach (besides from just writing it of course) because you can just glance at the week ahead, and see how much work you have to do.

Basically all you have to do is grab yourself some highlighters, assign each color to a different event, and then plan! I like to write my plans in pen first and then highlight because it really draws your eyes to it. But you could always just use different colored pens! It's really up to what you personally like.


Because it's the beginning of the semester, I don't have any assignments. I didn't think that would make for a very fun planner spread, so I skipped forward a few weeks to show an example of what a typical week will look for me in the upcoming semester.

I'm taking 15 hours this Spring which is normal for most college students. Thanks to my color coding, the yellow highlighting shows that I have quite a few due dates this week!


Here's an example of what my planner looks like whenever I have a break! Since it is spring semester, I'll have Spring Break off (woohoo!!!🎉🎉). For situations like that, I just like to use washi tape to make it obvious that the vacation lasts the full week.

I also like to leave a little bit of room so I can still write things on the days! This is super helpful for when I need to write things like flight details, travel plans or anything else like that.

Organization Tips + Tricks
The key to keeping up with a planner is staying organized. I recommend buying an accordion folder to help keep on top of all of your classes. I label a section for each one of my classes. Since I'm taking 15 hours this semester, I have 5 tabs.

It also doesn't hurt to accessorize / personalize! My sister made me this super cute Lilly Pulitzer monogram. Check out her store here!

It also helps to plan things ahead of time. I recommend to print out each classes syllabus at the beginning of each semester. I personally choose to highlight the required materials (books, access codes, etc), the due dates, and quizzes / tests. Then I transfer that over to my planner to make sure I know ahead of time when I have something important for that particular class.

Another helpful tip is to create your own pdf version of your schedule. I personally use picmonkey to create mine every semester. Then I print it out on a note card and use a paperclip to attach it onto my planner. That way I know when each class is without it being obvious that I'm checking the room number 100 times.

I really hoped this helped! Using a planner is such a simple way to make your life easier. Once you start, I promise you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. If you liked this post, let me know! I think next, I would really like to do a "what's in my backpack" style post to show some of my every day essentials for college life! 

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