**This article was first published in July 2020.
In my humble opinion, online calendars, tracker apps, and digital planners are a tad bit overrated, just a tad. Handwritten, drawn, and personalized planners are the way to go. If you’re anything like me, your Bullet Journal and/or your planner is your best friend. It’s not just something handheld that helps keep track of your goals, events, habits, assignments, and the like, it’s also perfect for memorializing those amazing moments in your life. Case in point: your first year of college!
And if you’ve never heard of it…
a Bullet Journal, or BuJo for short, is equal parts planner, journal, or even diary, designed to help you track and organize your past, present, and future, and encourages you to live an intentional and meaningful life.
My absolute favorite thing about the Bullet Journal is that you can make it entirely unique to you. Many people choose to make it really minimalist, much like the original version by Ryder Carroll, or if you’re like me (and you have a bit of extra time on your hands), you can dive deep in the world of doodles, themes, washi tape, and all the works.
Additionally, if you’ve never done one before, always be open to experiment and figure out what works for you. Don’t include things that won’t be useful for your way of life. Also, don’t feel pressured to use the most expensive materials out there. All you need to start is a blank, dotted journal and your favorite pen.
No matter how you choose to do it, your Bullet Journal is the absolute best way to collect your thoughts and maximize your productivity.
Here are 10 Bullet Journal Spreads to Help You Conquer Your First Year at NYU:
1. Yearly Goals Planner
This speaks for itself! What do you want to accomplish in your first year? Maybe you want to land an on-campus job or an internship the following summer? What actionable steps can you take to accomplish this? Maybe you can have your résumé reviewed, or ask your professors if they know of any open opportunities on-campus or otherwise. A Bullet Journal is the perfect place to lay out any and everything you want to accomplish in your first year, both personal and professional goals.
2. Bucket List
Hello? You’re starting college! I’m sure there are so many things you want to see and do. If you’re starting on the New York City campus, you could add the classics like walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, visit Top of the Rock, plus all the other traditional New Yorker things.
3. Future Log
A future log is simply a fancy name for a calendar. This will easily help you keep track of upcoming events, birthdays, deadlines, and the like for the year.
4. Month at a Glance: Goals, Events, Tasks
What events do you have coming up this month? Whose birthday is fast approaching? This Bullet Journal spread is a more manageable way to help you accomplish your big-picture goals as well as smaller goals that you would like to accomplish each month.
5. Monthly Game Plan
The Monthly Game Plan is a great way to help you organize and plan for various areas of your life. At the start of each month, simply come up with a number of action steps/tasks related to each area. In my case, a lot of these were art or career related, such as networking, social life, art, workouts. To tailor it to your first year in college, your task for social life could be to go to five new on-campus events. Think of the Monthly Game Plan as a very specific breakdown of your projects or things you want to accomplish.
6. Habit Tracker
As the name suggests, a Habit Tracker helps to keep track of certain things that you want to make sure you’re doing on a regular basis or even on a daily basis. For example, wake up by 8 a.m., take vitamins, and no spending. Be realistic about this!
7. Ideal Weekday
This one is a bit extra, and not totally needed, but it really helps if you find yourself with a lot of commitments, from schoolwork to on campus activities, like clubs or job(s), plus finding time for yourself and your friends and making sure you are getting enough sleep. Remember this is the IDEAL—it won’t always happen, but it’s good to set a standard.
8. Stuff to Check Out
We all have a list of shows, movies, and books that we really want to get to. This Bullet Journal spread helps you keep track of all that, and it is a great one to turn to when you’re looking for something new.
9. Budget/Expenses Tracker
Ah, yes, budgeting….Starting college…you’re on the brink of adulthood here people. It’s really important to keep track of your expenses, bills, and subscriptions (Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and the list goes on), so you know if and when you might be spending a bit too much money.
Oh, and please remember to get student discounts when you can!
10. Year in Polaroids
Highly recommended. For each month of your first year, take a polaroid (or print out a picture) of your favorite memory! Feel free to label each month or add the date as you go along. This would be so nice to look back on at the end of the year.