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Get the Most Out of Your College Calendar

Use The Reverse Calendar Method

white and black month calendar with the 30th circled in red and red thumb tacks stuck in weeks ahead

Any college student, past or present, will have some great stories of the rollercoaster ride called college. I tend to think that the undergraduate experience is the largest rollercoaster, but for sure, any level of college can be an adventurous ride.

It's a time filled with new experiences, growth, and, yes, its fair share of challenges. Because whenever there’s growth – there’s stretching. One of the biggest hurdles we all face is keeping up with due dates and deadlines. Trust me, you're not alone in this struggle. It’s a struggle for college and in careers – due dates, deadlines, and correspondence – oh my!

Let’s be clear - I'm well aware that life in college isn't just about academics. You've got extracurricular activities, jobs, and, of course, a social life to maintain. Somewhere in the midst of all of that action, you also need to find some time to rest. Balancing it all is like trying to ride a unicycle while juggling flaming torches – it's impressive if you can do it, but it's also a recipe for disaster if you drop the ball.

Of course, there are tools and techniques to help you conquer the chaos. From using digital calendars to setting reminders on your phone, there are plenty of ways to keep those college calendar dates from slipping through the cracks. Well, I have one super useful technique that will help you stay aware of all of the responsibilities, due dates, and how you’ll get it all done. That’s reverse calendar planning.

Grab your syllabi, open your calendar, and let’s get started. I'll walk you through 3 steps.

College Calendar Preparation Steps ...

  • First, take assignments and assessments from the syllabus and add them to a Google Sheet to make an assignment tracker.

  • Second, we’ll transfer the tracker items to a calendar app.

Person holding a pen, in sweater seated at table with calendar and planning sheets

Up next, the reverse calendar ...

  • Third, reverse plan your needed studying and preparation to not only be ready and punctual with assignments and assessments – but also to produce quality work.

  • Take a look at the type of assignments and assessments that you have. Make categories for each type of assignment or assessment (For example, discussion boards, quizzes, essays, annotated bibliographies, weekly reading, or weekly problem practice)

  • Create a process list for each category, the actions needed to go from start to finish to create the product or be ready for the assessment. Estimate the time needed for each step.

You might be saying, “I’m pretty good at keeping it all in my head.” Making a plan with the reverse calendar method helps you:

  • Identify particular steps for improvement when a result is not what you desire.

  • Divvy up your time according to your priorities.

  • Develop self-discipline and time efficiency.

The consequences of missing a deadline can be pretty unforgiving - late assignments, lower grades, and sometimes even that dreaded "F" word – failure.

Reverse Calendar Planning is a fantastic technique to break down your assignments and projects into manageable chunks. It's like having your own strategic action plan to tackle those due dates head-on - right there on your calendar.

So, while the challenge of keeping up with due dates and deadlines in college is real, it's also an opportunity to develop some essential life skills and systems. With the right tools and a bit of planning, you can not only survive but thrive.

Remember, you've got this! College is a journey. Keep those due dates on your radar, take it one step at a time, and don't forget to enjoy the ride.

When you're in need of a thought partner, a listening ear, and an actionable student success plan, I'm here to support you. Schedule a discovery call today to identify your next best steps.

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