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Are you Struggling to Stay on Top of Things at College? Break out Your Bujo

by Jacki Andre March 29, 2020

Are you Struggling to Stay on Top of Things at College? Break out Your Bujo

Adjusting to college life is never easy. It's not just about adapting to a new way of learning, either. You're also expected to start adulting, basically at the drop of a dime. And just when it seems like you have a grasp on things, everything changes.

It’s tough at the beginning when you’re adjusting to being away from home and suddenly responsible for your own well-being. There’s no mom to remind you to take your meds, no dad to change a flat tire, no principal calling you into his office if you don’t hand in a book report. Suddenly, you have to do it all yourself--and remember to do it all yourself--or it just doesn’t get done.

It’s also tough down the road when you’re deep into your academic program. You may be questioning your life choices, your major, and the relative nutritional benefits of ramen vs mac & cheese. You may be bone-weary, with a heavy workload and without much money for self-care.

How to get a handle on it all? 

Break out your Bujo.

The Bullet Journal® (Bujo) system was developed by Ryder Carroll. It maximizes the organizational potential of planner-type journals.  And that, in turn, helps to increase productivity and decrease overwhelm. Bujos are ideal for college students. 

What Exactly Is a Bujo?

Because Bujos are highly customizable, they’re difficult to explain. But, basically, they're personal journals that are used to track things. Bujos are more like planners than writing journals. But, unlike most planners, they don't come with preformatted pages. There are no "built in" calendars or prompts. It's just a blank notebook, like SohoSpark's Birds Journal

If you need a more comprehensive explanation of the Bullet Journal® system, and tips on how to get started with a bullet journal, I have a blog about that!

Bullet Journal Ideas for Student Life

Over at The Organized Brain, Tiffany suggests making one master spread for the entire term or semester. This spread should include:

  • assignment due dates
  • test dates
  • important dates imported from the college calendar (such as the last day to drop classes without penalty)

You could also transfer your syllabi into your Bujo, or combine them all together into one master syllabus.If you’re a college freshman, a bit of a warning: syllabi are typically quite dense with information!

But, as Rachael Smith points out in a guest post at Little Coffee Fox, plugging in all those dates into a blank notebook helps keep them fresh in your mind. Especially since you start by making a master calendar and/or syllabus, and then transfer that information into your weeklies or dailies.

You may find logs like these helpful as well:

  • Information about each instructor, including contact info and office hours.
  • Program requirements, to help you keep track of the classes you need to take and any prerequisites for those classes.
  • Campus/Emergency contact info, especially for security, the health clinic, and, if you’re living in a dorm, your resident advisor (RA).
  • Computer lab information, including locations and how to use campus printers.
  • Campus gym information, including hours and exercise class times.
  • Information about groups, clubs, and volunteer commitments.
  • A list of professors that you’d like to take classes from (and those you definitely want to avoid!).

Finally, college can be stressful. Some days, you might feel overwhelmed or bogged down. When that happens, you might appreciate motivational quotes that remind you how amazing you are and that hard work is worth it. If you’re artistic, you use could calligraphy and/or doodles to make those quotes stand out in your Bujo. But, as Kara at Boho Berry says, you can always make those pages look nice in other ways. Just use things like washi tape, sticky notes, or printables.

Bullet Journal Ideas for Life Life

While you might not have a full-time job or a mortgage yet, you’re definitely on your way to full-fledged adulting. A Bujo can also help you track and manage all the things related to adulting, like:

  • Budgeting
  • Self-care
  • Contact information for support services, such as helplines
  • Contact information for off-campus resources such as police, hospital(s), taxi companies, and Planned Parenthood
  • Medical information, such as your blood type, allergies, insurance information, and contact information for your family doctor
  • Prescription medications, including names and dosages
  • The best over-the-counter medications, and what to use them for
  • Recipes
  • Cleaning (as discussed in the Inappropriate Bullet Journal Inspiration Facebook group, it’s easy to forget when you last changed your sheets)
  • Affordable restaurants that deliver
  • Life goals/bucket lists

A few students chimed in on that Facebook thread referenced above, saying that one of the things they most appreciated in their Bujos was advice from others. That advice can be about campus life or general life hacks. The advice is handy to have, for sure. But more than anything, it’s like a gift from loved ones. It can be calming to skim over the advice, along with the inspirational quotes, when you’re stressed and overwhelmed.  

Are you a college student who Bujos? If you are, and you’ve got tips for me and other readers visiting here, please drop them below in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.

And: hang in there! You've got this. Really.

Photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras on Unsplash

Jacki Andre
Jacki Andre

Jacki Andre has been journaling for over 30 years and still has her jam-packed Judy Blume Diary to prove it. Somewhere along the way, she started writing for reals, and is now a published author and Huffington Post blogger. In her spare time, Jacki supports dog rescue, advocates for disability rights, and educates other drivers via hand gestures about the importance of using turn signals. She keeps in shape by chasing joy (and her ‘80s teen idols) in earnest.


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