Schedule Woes for the Online College Student

As you may or may not know, I am a college student, but I am a non-traditional college student in two ways. One, I am not fresh out of high school; I’m 32 years old. Secondly, for the time being, I take online classes. I’m sure there are people out there who are reading this and thinking ‘wow, if that isn’t the easiest thing in the world? You can literally take your classes any time you want!’ About that.

Granted if I have a bad night and don’t sleep well I don’t have to drag my sleepy butt out of bed, down a gallon or two of coffee, get dressed, and head to classes. Bonus. However, online classes still require scheduling and discipline. More, in fact, in that it’s easy to let everything slide until the last moment, and then all of the sudden everything is due for that week, or worse, you’re behind and either points are deducted or your instructor won’t let you turn it in.

Trust me, I’ve fallen into that trap. It’s so easy to procrastinate. There’s no lecture to make, you can just watch it when you have a few minutes. Oh, I can read later. It’s just a chapter. Eh, that discussion board isn’t due until tomorrow, it can wait until then. Then something happens. It’s inevitable.

I have to admit it: I’m the absolute worst at time management, but I’m trying my hardest to overcome that fatal flaw.

The trouble is, finding student resources that aren’t geared towards traditional college students is difficult. I don’t need dorm room essentials. I have a bedroom, thanks. I’m aware of the pressing need for Microsoft Office, pens, paper, and highlighters.

Online student calendars only work right if your class is in blocks at certain times and days. Google Calendar is, quite frankly, a pain, as the monthly calendar’s daily blocks are too small to put everything into and the daily and weekly calendars are divided by hours and half hours. That would be awesome, but again, not really what I need.

WeekPlan.net is close to what a student like me needs, but it’s still not quite there.

What I want and need is a weekly calendar with large blocks for information, daily reminders, and can easily be divided up by class. I typically take two classes per semester (thank you ever so much anxiety and depression), and 90% of my assignments are due on a Monday. Liberty’s week schedule is funky. The week starts on a Tuesday and ends on a Monday, unless it’s week 1, in which the week starts on Monday, or week 8 or 16 (depending on the term) where the week ends on a Friday. However some assignments, typically discussion board assignments are due on Thursday or Friday. Even with just two classes it’s easy to get mixed up about what is due when.

Last term I wrote out memo cards with my daily assignments on it and pinned it to my wall. I used it throughout the term, but I hated it. My wall is already so full of stuff that it made me feel over-crowded and claustrophobic.

This term I want to do something different. I want to devote two days per week to my math class assignments. It’s remedial, because for whatever reasons numbers and I do not get along very well, and I’ve actually taken two math classes before, so I’m not expecting any real difficulty there. Then I want to devote three days (or more if needed) to my American Government class.

So, there is a point to this long-winded post. The point is, when you can’t find what you want, you then must make what you want. Which is what brings me to Excel 2013. I’m hoping that, with enough patience and creativity, I can make a weekly/daily calendar that fits my needs. I can’t make it remind me, but one can’t rely on technology for everything.

Why, you ask, don’t I just go out and buy a planner?

Well, that requires money. Why go out and spend money on something I can make for myself? Sure my planner might not be as pretty or fancy as say the Life Planners found here, but it’ll be just as functional, at least for my needs.

**Time warp approximately one hour**

Here it is filled out for week one and everything.

Daily/Weekly Schedule

Now I just need a way to keep it in my face so every time I go to procrastinate it’s there. Staring at me. Telling me that I have work to do, and that if I just do it, it won’t be that big of a deal and I’ll have free time to either work ahead, hang with the cousin, or whatever.

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[Late] Christmases and Desktop Organization

So, we have a lot of ‘Christmases’ around here. I know Sandra is having four. I’m having… three? Yes, three sounds about right. One with Mama, one with the local family, and one with the extended family. Well, basically one of the family Christmases, which will be held on Christmas Eve at Sonny’s BBQ, is a gift exchange slash please no more cooking or I will die.

The cousin and I are cooking on the 23rd at her place. She’s making Tricolors, a dessert which I have never had before and I am making two dessert lasagnas. One chocolate and the other banana.

I will probably be blogging the making of the dessert lasagnas, and Sandra will be blogging the making of the Tricolors. So do be on the lookout for that very soon!

Another thing that’s been happening around here is that the cousin and I are trying to organize our lives. One thing that we’re doing is using home-made sectioned desktop wallpaper.

Organization RULES

Organization RULES

As you can see I took a simple all over patterned wallpaper and used my image editor program of choice, which happens to be Ye Olde Jasc Paint Shop Pro v.7.04 that I’ve had for YEARS, and added sections.

Puuuurrrrpllllleeee

This is the one I made for Sandra. It’s to her specifications.

To use a sectioned background like this is very simple.

  • Have your background. (A customizable pre-made version is here and here’s one that I made.)
  • Set it as your desktop background
  • Right click on your desktop background.
  • Click on View
  • Uncheck “Align Icons to Grid”
  • Arrange your Icons in their new boxes. It won’t align automatically anymore, so you have to make it pretty yourself. If you’re like the cousin, everything must align perfectly. I have to admit I can be kind of obsessive myself at times, so I can’t tease too much.

Want sticky notes like the Cousin does? Evernote has a sticky note download that you can use on your desktop. This even works with windows 8 and 8.1.