Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How I Organize My Student Agenda

One of my favourite things about starting a new school year is getting a new agenda (or day planner if that's what you're used to calling it). I remember back to my first agenda; I was thrilled when our teacher handed the big holographic-covered coil books out to my Grade 3 class. Over the years my agendas have gotten smaller and their covers more boring. My enthusiasm for agendas, however, has not diminished one bit.

Last weekend I looked through Target's selection of agendas and didn't see one that I really liked. On my walk home from the hospital today, I decided to pick up a free one put out by the university's student society. It actually has better quality paper than some of the Target ones and a great pink coil; I'm happy with it (and its price).
student agenda university of alberta
my free student agenda

I've used a free agenda each year during university. The first thing I do is cut out the information pages (I do skim them; I like to know about my campus) and advertisements. That whittles the book down to almost half its original thickness!
student agenda university of alberta
thinned out
Next, I go through and write in the top corner of each page what block/rotation I'll be on that week. This makes it easy to quickly figure out what I'll be doing on any given date. I then write statutory holidays in (but I don't cross the days out, as I still want to be able to write tasks on them; also, who knows if I'll be on call). Finally I look at my academic schedule and write in any important dates (e.g. exams, travel, etc.). I use colours to make it pretty :)
student agenda university of alberta
to-do lists (50 Q means do 50 QBank USMLE practice questions)
I use my agenda as a daily to-do list. I make a list of goals that I would like to accomplish and cross them off as I go (I never used to cross things out because I thought it looked messy, but it's so darn satisfying I'm glad I lightened up!).

Sometimes I need more than a to-do list. Particularly leading up to exams, I need to schedule my days to the hour to make sure I fit everything in. When I wrote my licensing exam in May I created my own agenda, with the days divided into hours. I created an agenda template on Word, printed the pages double-sided, folded them over, added a card-stock cover, and stapled through the spine. It was perfect for me during those busy few weeks.
diy student agenda template
DIY agenda
diy student agenda template
planning my life by the hour
diy student agenda template
printable weekly agenda template (folds in half)
Most of the time I prefer having an old-school paper to-do list to an electronic one. However, I do sometimes use Taskos, a checklist app, on my phone. I like its simple interface and the fact that I can cross tasks off. A fun feature is clearing completed tasks from the list by shaking the phone!
Taskos app

If you're interested, here are other posts I've written about how I study:
On getting organized to study:

On studying:


  1. I recently found your blog and OMG I AM IN LOVE WITH IT.
    I'm a pre-med student who has just applied to a couple of medical colleges. So far, I've cleared their MCATs (passed) and I got rejected by one college after my interview and now I have another interview coming up next. I hope to be starting my first year at medical school soon >.> and I found your blog really helpful and brilliant.

    1. You're so sweet; thank you so much! And congratulations on getting those interviews! Applying to medical school is an annoying process...and honestly I think it's a bit of a lottery and a lot of it comes down to luck, so don't let that rejection get to you and rock that next interview :) Wishing you all the best!

  2. Thank you for share this informative post.


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