Syllabus week might be my favorite week out of the year. Honestly, it’s not even because classes are easy and there are a ton of parties, it’s because I FINALLY get to use my new planner. If you’re a freshman or an upperclassmen who is just trying to get their life together (it’s okay, I won’t judge), here’s my take on what to do with your syllabus.
Print them out.
Here’s the first step. I know that they’re made available online so you can access them whenever your little heart desires, but just trust me on this one. Print them out. You don’t have to print them in color, just print them. Staple each one and then take a sec and admire your pile.
Take it one at a time.
Don’t try to focus on every single syllabus at once. I will just grab one and flip to the course schedule and go to town. Trying to tackle more than one syllabus at once can get confusing and you’ll end up messing something up, trust me.
Big picture and small picture go hand in hand.
I will start out by writing all “big” things like exams, quizzes, and projects in my monthly view pages of my planner. Then I’ll go through and add it into the weekly or daily view as well. It’s nice to be able to look at your monthly view and see what’s coming up easily, and having it in your weekly/daily view will ensure that you don’t miss the deadline. However, the trick is that you actually have to LOOK at your planner and use it. So make sure you do that otherwise this will be all for nothing!
When I write info from the syllabus in my planner, I’ll only do a few weeks at a time and this is why. The syllabus will change and it will change often. Professors have to plan their classes out months in advance and sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. I try to avoid having to cross out and rewrite things in my planner a million times by only writing up until the first exam in my planner. Sometimes even less than that!
Check out the attendance policy.
This is something I’ll find myself referring back to towards the end of the semester when I start to feel lazy (I don’t skip class often, but if I do it’ll be somewhere toward the end of the semester). Highlight the attendance policy within the syllabus or write it at the top so you can find it easily. Or, you can go one step further and keep a page in your planner where all of the policies are listed.
Office hours and contact info.
Check out your prof’s office hours and email address and make a note of that somewhere or highlight it. If you decide to dedicate a page of your planner to the attendance policy, add the professor’s contact info in there too. It’ll come in handy!
This isn’t a necessity, but I LOVE to color code and find that it makes my life 10x easier and prettier. By designating a certain color for my classes, I’m able to see how much has to be done for a particular class and realize, hey, this class is a lot of work… I better get my stuff together.
Keep the syllabus on hand.
Even if you write EVERYTHING down in your planner and check it 10 times, you should still keep the syllabus on hand and refer back to it often. You don’t want to ever miss a deadline!