How I Stay Organized in PT School!

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Hello, hello! Today I am sharing 7 ways I stay organized in PT school. Being a PT student can be a bit hectic at times (or all of the time… actually), so staying organized is one of the key things that will help keep you on top of your game. Keeping track of important dates and deadlines is so so important with all of the assignments, quizzes, exams, practicals, meetings, and more that come along with PT school. So, if you’re interested to see how I stay on top of all of these things (as well as how I like to organize my notes), just keep reading!

1. Binders

I’m a very tangible person, so I like to be able to physically touch and hold my notes. I hand write and draw a lot of my notes and use binders with divider tabs and transparent sheet protectors to keep them organized. For the notes I don’t write or draw myself like typed-up lectures, PowerPoints, and study guides, I print them out. While I’m studying, I will add extra notes, remarks, or highlighting to my printed notes. When I need to do so, I just take them out of the sheet protectors, add what I need to, then put them back in. It’s so satisfying flipping through each page, finding exactly what I need based on the labeled divider, and having all of my notes organized colorfully and neatly!


2. Notability App for iPad

Notability is such a fantastic way to keep all of your notes organized. Although I do love hand drawing notes, I write/draw a great deal of my notes on my iPad via the Notability app. You can import lecture slides or full PowerPoints, documents, pictures, drawings, audio, videos, and web pages AND write/draw directly on any of these different items. I have a folder for each semester i.e. fall 2018 and spring 2019. Within each semester folder, you can add subject dividers within each folder and that’s what I did for each class. Then, within your specific class folders, you can save of all of your notes (PowerPoints, PDFs, documents, pictures, etc.) just for that class. Notability also has a split-screen feature where you can look at two different resources at one time. I utilize this feature all of the time and it’s great in instances when I want to look at a lecture PowerPoint at the same time I write or draw my own set of notes. It's not only a very powerful and savvy note taking app, but it will help you keep your notes organized.


3. Google Drive

Google Drive is such an amazing way to stay organized with your classmates. I created a Google Drive folder as a way for us to keep a bunch of different documents, PowerPoints, and different resources all in one place. The folder is just titled “SU DPT Class of 2021.” The folder is further organized by year, semester, class, and units within in each class. We upload word documents, excel spreadsheets, PowerPoints, pictures, and videos to this folder. Google Drive is awesome because we can all collaboratively work on different things together at the same time and they save as we go. We can also chat and add comments directly to the documents, as needed. Pretty cool stuff!

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4. Google Doc Calendar

Another tool I created to help my classmates and I stay organized is a calendar in the form of a Google Doc. I started with one blank table for each month of the semester and added in the dates for that particular month (starting with Sunday and ending on Saturday). I added a color-coded key to the footer so we can easily match up a certain color with each class. Since it is in a Google Doc format, everyone has the ability to add to it during the semester and keep each other accountable. We keep track of our dates and deadlines for exams, quizzes, and assignments. We also add reminders for meetings, days we do not have class, and days we need to dress up for guest speakers. If any dates or deadlines are added, removed, or changed, one of us is on it right away!


5. Gmail School Calendar

My program provides us with an online calendar that can be accessed when we are logged into our Gmail accounts. This calendar is great for a general overview of class times. If our scheduled class time or assigned room changes, it will be posted on here. This calendar includes our scheduled exams, meetings, and special events like the APTA advocacy dinner pictured below. My program consists of two separate campuses - a main campus located in Winchester, VA and a secondary campus located in Leesburg, VA (about an hour away). There are 40 students at the Winchester campus and 20 students at the Leesburg campus for a total of 60 students in my class. We have most of our lectures together, which are delivered through video teleconferencing to one campus or the other. So, most of the professors are usually at the Winchester campus, but sometimes they are at the Leesburg campus. This calendar keeps us updated on which campus our professors will be at each day.


6. Wall Calendar

You can never have too many calendars, right?! I have a cute little wall calendar hanging above my desk. I like to keep this calendar pretty clean and free of my crazy list of school assignments. I use it more for personal things like the volleyball tournaments I will be traveling to, appointments, upcoming family events, or fun weekend plans with my friends. Having it at my desk while I study is always an inspiring reminder that once I’m done studying for hours on end, I will be rewarded with some me time and fun personal plans.


7. Planner

This really should be listed first because it’s my holy grail - but I decided to save the best for last. I use a Happy Planner to keep my life together and I would be so lost without it. I love arts and crafts and their style of planners closely resembles cute little scrapbooks which I absolutely LOVE! Before each monthly view, there are two fun pages. The first is a page for you to fill in birthdays, goals, important dates, and notes for that month and it also includes all nationally observed holidays for that month. The second is a page reserved for a quote for the month. Throughout the weekly views, there are all sorts of cute pictures and quotes scattered about. I jazz mine up with stickers and washi tape and this style of planner makes me so much more eager and excited to stay on top of everything. I also love adding in random polaroids here and there! I keep everything in this planner - deadlines, daily lecture topics, assignments, homework, tests, appointments, volleyball tournaments and matches, meetings, vacations, coffee dates, bills, payments, chores - you name it. I make ‘to do’ lists for school, shopping, chores, errands, etc. and it’s such a great feeling when you get to check off one item after another!


Thanks for reading! :)

What strategies do you use to help you stay organized in school?
What is your favorite and most beneficial way to stay on top of heavy course loads?