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.
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!
Over at The Organized Brain, Tiffany suggests making one master spread for the entire term or semester. This spread should include:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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How is your current journal working for you? We're more apt to pull out our notebooks when we enjoy working in them. Choosing a blank notebook that's well suited to the kind of journaling you do is key. Think about things like:
If you take a little time to mull over your journal preferences beforehand, you'll be able to find a blank notebook that perfectly suits your needs.
You know those days when you struggle with racing thoughts, trying to take everything in, focus, and prioritize? There's a relatively easy way to manage that: a brain dump. All you need is a pen, paper, or dedicated brain dump journal. Then, whenever you need to, take 10-15 minutes to write down every abstract thought in your head. It's kind of like spilling the contents of a purse onto a table. Just dump it all out into a big disorganized pile.