Recently, a student told me that she hadn’t done her homework because she didn’t know there would be so much to do when she signed up for the course. Looking at the syllabus ahead of time might have helped, but she didn’t do that.
She told me that she worked full time, had a husband, a few kids, and had to have some time for herself. In addition to that, her husband’s birthday fell on the due date of a major assignment and she needed to make him a very nice birthday dinner. She was sorry but her hubby took center stage ahead of any silly assignment. (Okay, so she didn’t call it “silly” but she might as well have done so. The bottom line was that the assignment was not getting done any time soon.)
When we talked about it, I said that I was always surprised by people who waited until Christmas Eve to start their Christmas shopping. Didn’t they know it was coming?
It was at that point that I shared how I made it through two degrees at the same time, kept my house reasonably clean, cooked for my family, was active in my church, and home-schooled my younger son.
It was by being organized. I purchased a month-at-a-glance calendar and, as soon as I got my syllabus from an instructor, I color-coded each class’s homework assignments. Major assignments were highlighted in bright yellow. When you are taking 21+ credit hours every semester, it is the only way to fly.
Everything went onto that calendar, including date nights with my husband, church activities, and family-related stuff. Dental and doctor appointments were also entered, so that there were no surprises. (And I could take my hubby out for his birthday without guilt because I worked ahead, to allow for the time off.)
To this day, I still keep a similar calendar, though now my notes are from the other side of the computer screen, as I note assignments that my students have coming up.
In 13 years of higher education, I personally only missed one assignment (I forgot to enter it on the calendar. My professor was so shocked that I turned the essay in one day late that he forgave me for being tardy. He knew it was completely out of character).
Yes, a standard calendar is old-fashioned, but it never crashes, never requires Internet access, and never has low batteries. I suggest you buy one- I get mine at Staples every year. No, they didn’t pay me to say this.