The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday August 3rd

Column: Having trouble staying organized? Ditch the agenda

<p>DTH Photo Illustration. For many students, there is pressure to stay organized and caught up on assignments for their classes. This can be challenging for students who are doing their classes online.</p>
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DTH Photo Illustration. For many students, there is pressure to stay organized and caught up on assignments for their classes. This can be challenging for students who are doing their classes online.

The beginning of each semester brings around a lot of stress. Switching from lazing around in bed all day to having to attend classes and extracurricular meetings can be a difficult transition.

Pre-semester preparation differs for everyone, but I usually end up watching “StudyTube." StudyTube is a niche corner of the internet dedicated to exploring organizational resources for students while providing motivation to complete papers and assignments. Cue the hours spent falling down YouTube rabbit holes, watching video after video of aesthetic bullet journaling, color-coded note systems and calligraphy pens.

StudyTubers sharing note-taking methods, such as Jack Edwards and Vee Kativhu, have attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers, mainly encompassing students looking for motivation to complete their work. StudyTube is the side of YouTube dedicated to school-related content. I like to think that if I watch people study enough, it’ll eventually rub off on me.

These aesthetic videos are the epitome of what we’ve been taught successful organization looks like. However, that’s not necessarily the truth.

From the outside, it always seemed as if all of my peers had their academic lives perfectly in order, which boded well for their upcoming semesters. At some point, I stopped to ask myself, is everyone like this? Why wasn’t I the same way? 

Every single year, I buy myself an agenda. It feels like those weekly and daily spreads are supposed to magically organize life. However, after about three weeks, it disappears into the depths of my backpack, never to be seen again. This made me question whether there was something wrong with the way that I organized myself. Though my grades are decent enough, I always felt guilty about ditching the agenda and resorting to last-minute stress and all-nighters to complete assignments.

In school, we’re taught organization is the key to success, and productivity tools have become indispensable in the technological age. Years into my academic career, I have finally figured out that this just doesn’t work for me.

The reality of fact is that these kinds of systems don’t work for everyone, and that’s okay. Some people thrive on the pressure of writing an entire paper before the deadline, while others simply need a small to-do list to keep up with their responsibilities. At the end of the day, whatever gets the job done and keeps you sane works. 

It is imperative to stop normalizing the need for expensive utensils and laser-focused studying sessions. Everyone learns differently, and by extension, it cannot be expected for these methods to work for everyone. It’s one of the reasons that unconventional teaching methods are becoming more popular in primary education, and it's something that applies to students regardless of their educational level. 

If you’re someone who struggles to keep yourself organized with calendars and agendas, look for other creative ways of finding solutions. From Post-It notes on walls to even writing reminders on your hand, don’t feel pressured to use conventional methods, regardless of what the internet might tell you.

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