Preparing for Next School Year + New “To-Do” App

Once the summer vacation starts, it’s so tough to think about school. I know I definitely don’t miss the times in high school when we got assignments for fall and they were hovering in my head like an enormous debt. What’s worse, putting that brain to work after a long vacation is no easy task. There are a few simple things I’ve been doing for the last couple of summers that really helped me stay toned for work and ready for school in the fall. The key is to do them throughout the summer vacation, not a week before school begins.

1. Wake Up Earlier

This will make waking up for school easier once it starts and will give you more time throughout the day to explore and be productive! I don’t know how early “early” is for you guys, but for me 10 a.m. is still pretty early in the day. If you think about it though, the average adult needs about 8 hours of sleep. So if you get yourself used to waking up slightly earlier than your normal ‘sleep-in time’, you’ll get yourself used to it for the upcoming school year.

2. Stay Organized

No need for a fancy planner or anything like that, since there are rarely any homework assignments (thank goodness). Instead, plan your days with an app in your phone and stay up to date with all appointments, work and trips. I recommend a great (and free!) one called TickTick, my recent discovery. It has a super clean, easy-to-use interface with one huge “+” button in the middle that will make it very easy to write down your reminders in one place. In addition to it being a great option for a calendar on-the-go, there is a way to print out all your tasks, attach photos and even share the lists with friends and family.

I’ve also been using TickTick for school lately and it’s been helping me fabulously in keeping up with all my homework assignments, tasks, appointments and even work shifts. There are amazing options for reminders, calendar view, and synchronization over multiple devices, so I’ll be sure to keep this app for my travels and the next school year. Because all versions, mobile and desktop, are very user-friendly, I just have them open on all devices so I can glance there every once in a while and check off what I’ve done. (I think I got my little sister hooked on it, too)

To get to the point, it’s good practice to keep that agenda handy and get yourself in the habit of writing down reminders and making to-do lists. Even if your summer isn’t too busy, it never hurts to stay organized.

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Find TickTick here: WebsiteiOS App, Android App, Chrome Extension, FireFox Extension

3. Read

This is kind of a obvious and cheezy one, doy. With the huge amounts of homework throughout the year I’ve barely found time to sit down and enjoy a good book. Reading will keep your eyes and brain sharp and ready to process information, as well as give something intelligent to do on besides sitting in front of a computer screen 24/7. I for one, am very excited to get to that (right after those exams…) and my current reading list is taped on the wall in front of me for months: Paris by Edward Rutherford, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert , reread Unmasking the Face by Paul Ekman and perhaps something else I will most likely dig up in a bookstore.

~Some personal news: I’ve been accepted to an Exchange program in the UK for next winter/spring, but haven’t reached my final decision yet. The commitment is huge in terms of finances, so there are still a million things to consider and calculate. Nevertheless I will be exploring the topic of study abroad in the next few weeks as I’m planning my own exchange, so do expect some posts on that topic!~

What are your plans for the summer and how do you keep yourself sharp for the next school year?

Before our Classes Begin: A Checklist

A quick checklist to prepare for the upcoming semester.


1. Office supplies.

The most important step of all (probably not, but why can’t it be?). Go out and get yourself some cute stationery! Journals, pens, pencils, highlighters, extra paper, sticky notes, etc.

2. A planner.

I don’t know about you, but a few weeks into any quarter I stop using my planner completely. I feel confident enough in my memory, despite the numerous times I’ve forgotten to turn in assignments. A new year is the best! time to go out and get a new planner. Some posts: Free printable weekly to-do templateplanners online, filofax love, chronodex planner, bullet journal.

3. Check the classes
Make sure to take a look at the class websites and read the syllabi (syllabuses? that sounds weird). Take a look at the textbooks and see if there are any assignments that need to be completed prior to the first day. See some reviews on, get an idea of what to expect from a class.

4. Have some note-taking options

Note Taking Methods
This is my favorite part of all. Lately I’ve been using my iPad to take notes. I must say I’m very pleased with how it turned out, although you definitely can’t do this for every class. There is no need to decide on a note-taking method right away – it would make sense to attend the first one or two classes to get the feel for the way it’s taught. However, once you do decide on a method, try to stick to it. There is nothing worse than having to figure out disorganized notes on the night before an exam.

Good luck to everyone in this coming quarter!

The stars in the spotlight this week:

Mostly Morgan
Nitty-Gritty English
By Hannah Joy



My friends, it is here!

This week I’m giving away a box of office supply cuteness- folders, sticky notes, to-do lists, fancy pens, decorative boards, and a 2015 Weekly Planner! The poll will close in exactly a week, but until then you can enter as many times as you like.


Anyone is welcome to participate, no matter where you’re from. You can get points in by signing up for the weekly newsletter, sharing this post on your social feeds and Tumblr, and commenting on any article on this site. All I ask of you is to be considerate of your followers and not go overboard with the sharing. Just please make sure to use your email and/or Facebook so I can reach you in case you are the WINNER! 

As a bonus, the first FIVE participants will receive a free monthly subscription to– an online tutoring center. You can see my review of it here, it’s quite nifty! 

*Note: if you clicked subscribe to newsletter, you actually need to enter your email in the left sidebar to actually subscribe!

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Shopping for Planners Online


Trying to figure out the situation with planners right now, so here’s a list of some nice ones I’ve found online:

1. Whitney English Planner
Very minimalistic, elegant and practical. I’ve seen it being used at my university, and the reviews are wonderful!

2. Filofax
A great little system that allows you to keep everything you need in one place. A bit on the higher end, however, but people use it for years. You can refill with whatever sheets you need (monthly/weekly/daily/to-do’s/meals, notes, etc.), use a ton of sticky notes, stickers, etc. The whole website is magical.
Check out also: Filofaxomania, Filofax, Filofax & Planners on Pinterest

3. Moleskin
A planner and notebook classic. Would love to get one at one point. Moleskine is also used in the Bullet Journal system

4. Papyrus
Gorgeous vintage-style planners and paper supplies. Awesome quality and also available in stores!

5. Amy Ruth Designs
Very pretty planners, notebooks, phone cases etc.

6. Erin Condren’s Life Planners
Great planners! Customizable, also on the higher end, but come with tons of accessories filofax-style.


Comment below and tell me about your planner!