They lie across your desk: six different syllabi, each outlining a demanding schedule of reading, tests, assignments, papers, and speeches. Every assignment you will complete in the next four months staring, daring you to make a move. Where do you even start? There can’t possibly be enough hours in the day to accomplish all of this. Your mind spins.
It’s hard to not be overwhelmed by that moment, but there are many ways to ease the pain. The idea for most is to keep organized by writing the entire syllabus in their planner as soon as they get them. Through trial and (mostly) error, I’ve come to completely reject this idea. It is simply tedious, and leaves no room for syllabus changes (which I can promise will happen).
So what is a better solution?
First of all, mark all due dates of major assignments for the semester – but only major assignments. Don’t drown yourself by writing down every little detail. Then, sometime over each weekend, look over you syllabi and write down all the assignments due that week. It is much more manageable to work in small chunks. It also is much easier to remember when you have just written it down. Then, as you go throughout the week, you can cross off assignments and keep your mind focused on what is important and imminent.
Other students have different preferences for keeping their syllabi organized. Some hang them all in a row on the wall, visible from their desk, and mark off assignments as they go. Others use their phone, computer, or planner, varying how far into the future they plan. Some even create large wall calendars to offer plenty of writing space. It is truly a matter of preference. Just remember, any step you take is absolutely better than nothing.
Most importantly, allow yourself to breathe and find a way to get your assignments organized, because that will be the best stress reducer.