It is always a strange sight when our residential campus is empty for summer break. I begin to miss seeing students running to class, faculty milling in the halls and our student atrium empty and quiet. While it can sometimes seem more lonely than normal here in the summer months, it is always a time to plan and get ahead. While students are away, we are planning fall activities and course schedules and working on improving the experience for our students, residentially and online.
I cannot express how important it is to take time to plan and organize whenever you can. Taking a break from the constant hustle and bustle of everyday life to sit down, breathe and evaluate your plans with work, school or life can have very positive effects.
Planning and organization are critical for success in your education. The benefits of planning ahead for future projects are endless but here are my top three benefits of planning and organization in your studies:
1. Ability to establish goals
When you have time to sit down and look at the big picture, you tend to better evaluate your plans for the future. While removing yourself from a project, you can evaluate the overall purpose of the work, your plans and how to get it all done. This will allow you to better establish reasonable, attainable goals. This semester, your goal may be to get a 4.0. Or at home, you may be trying to get your family to do two hours of physical activity a day. No matter the goal, removing yourself from the work will allow you to see what you really can do
2.Evaluate your processes
Once you end a semester and are in between classes, I encourage you to look back on your last course and review your habits. Are you fully invested in the discussion boards? Are you getting a lot out of your readings in each class? Do you use the study strategy that fits your needs best? Review your strategies for classes and make sure you are giving yourself the best possibility for success.
3. Source of Inspiration
As an online student, I am sure you have encountered writer’s block. And as a former English professor, I have seen it wreak havoc on students approaching the end of a semester. While it may seem counter-intuitive, I encourage you to leave your computer when writer’s block hits. Go out and take walk—put your mind in another setting and review the problem from a different point of view. Most of the time, inspiration will come to you. When you return to your computer, write! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Honestly, it doesn’t have to even be good. That’s the great thing about writing, you can go back and revise. This can be a successful strategy with many problems in life. Taking yourself out of a situation, project or problem allows you to view it differently, and many times, find even better solutions. But at some point, you will need to produce. Don’t let the idea of the perfect keep you in the planning stage.
How do you like to plan? How does it improve the quality of your work or your life? I would love to know in the comments below. Have a great June!