ACADEMIA is more than just a planner - It is a planner-diary-journal book that features academic paper planning, scholarship/conference/library/travel logs, daily health and fitness tracking, and a place to write your homework assignments. The timelines fit to Post-It Note tabs and the grid measures by the inch. It's everything you've wanted in a planner and more!
It's made in the USA and it's ready to print! I also have printers ready in England to serve my international friends. I'd love for you to have one!
Planner Season comes twice a year for students and teachers. We get our own planners that start in August while the rest of the world starts with the New Year.
For those of us who are somewhat addicted to the pursuit of the perfect planner, we often buy both. Why? Because there isn’t much of a difference between regular and academic planners other than the start date. Because our purchases never live up to our expectations and we try something else. Because some of us have an unhealthy obsession with office supplies and want start off a new semester with a brand new planner.
If you've found your way to this campaign, it’s probably because you, like me, are always searching for a better product to organize your busy schedule. If you also happen to be a student or teacher, you most-likely share my frustration with the academic planner industry. I've been searching since my Freshman year of college for a planner made for academics that was actually MADE for academic life.
I need a design that is functional. My backpack is already too heavy - if I carry a planner too, it should serve as many purposes as possible. Each academic season, I hunt for a planner that will work for my lifestyle. And each year, I’m disappointed.
I realized last Fall that I was in the last class of my PhD program and still hadn't found a planner that worked with my schedule. After years of waiting for someone to make the planner I’ve always wanted, I stumbled upon the opportunity to make one myself. And it's in color!
I've used my years of college, months of research, and my own planner-addict knowledge to come up with the best design for students and teachers. I don't need a business calendar that starts in August or a block of blank space that offers no structure. I need more. I need tools to help me reach my academic goals. Lots of them.
ACADEMIA is an 8x10 hardcover paper planner with extra pages designed for anyone living the college lifestyle: grad students, undergrads, faculty, and over-achieving high school students.
It doesn’t just start in August – it takes the standard weekly academic planner and enhances it with tools on the monthly and weekly layouts and more that make up almost 1/3 of the book.
ACADEMIA was designed to be a 2-book life planning system - which gives you a brand new planner each semester! In the Extended Edition, each week gets four pages instead of two - the weekly journal pages can be adapted to fit your needs - I've used mine as a diary, sometimes a food tracker when I'm dieting, but mainly as a place to record homework.
The planner is finished and it's shipping to you directly from the publisher! The excitement has been building since the first prototype arrived - I can't wait to tell you all about it!
Kickstarter Backers Come First: I cannot stress this enough. I am thrilled to have you back my project early so I can make this planner available this school year. I am incredibly thankful for your support and will be transparent with you during the process, offering lots of updates along the way.
You are part of the evolution - this is the first time ACADEMIA will leave my own personal use to be used by others around the globe. You are part of the building process - by helping me begin, I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas to make this a planner all students and teacher will want.
Over time I hope to evolve this planner to have more options - different covers, interior themes, etc. By being a part of this process, you can say you were there for the beginning. And I appreciate that so much!
There are a lot of pages in this planner - more than normal because it's also part journal and it offers a lot of places to store important information. Because of this, I had to choose a paper that wouldn't add too much weight, but would be thick enough to handle highlighters and pens without showing through to the other side - I chose a texture that would be great for sketching as well for those artists and doodlers out there. And I'm excited that it's made in the USA.
It's also made in the UK! After learning how high international shipping prices are, I worked with my publisher to get these printed in England so others in the UK and Europe can have cheaper shipping!
International shipping is still an issue for some countries. Because I chose to print this in the US, the product costs more to make - and I priced it lower here on Kickstarter so you guys would get a better price. Because of this, I'm listing the shipping prices separately so you pay the price based on the shipping bids offered to the publisher's fulfillment center.
You'll notice a slight price decrease if you order more than one planner. I even have customizable bundles for larger groups. So order with your friends and save!
All books will ship directly from the publisher. To ensure a faster shipping time and the highest quality packaging, your books will come to you “hot off the presses” directly from their fulfillment center.
Want a FREE PDF copy? Share this campaign with the world!
Share this campaign on social media, then let me know - email me the link at FreeAcademiaPlanner @ gmail dot com, and in return for your help reaching my goal, I will send you the first PDF pledge option absolutely FREE.
I'm offering the basic version in B&W to help save on ink. If you'd like the full color PDF option, I'm offering it as a second pledge. If you pledge for the color PDF option, you get the basic B&W version for free!
BONUS: All higher pledge tiers will receive BOTH PDFversions for FREE.
- Family/Club/School Customization Options! - If you are ordering for a large group, I've created some bundles that let you add a name and a simplified version of your family Coat of Arms, your school Mascot, or your club logo or symbols (a great option for sororities and fraternities).
- International Friends: Join in with your mates to save on shipping -while prepping for this campaign I've learned more about VAT fees and the expensive international shipping when trying to get a Kickstarter project across the pond. You'll notice the shipping price per books drops the more you order so one option is to get some friends together and make one big order.
- UK Print-on-Demand Option - UK and EU books are now available to print in England!
SO WHAT MAKES THIS PLANNER DIFFERENT?
As a graduate student, I've had years to dream this planner into existence - even the little things are functional: the graph paper can act as a measuring tool - the timeline lines fit 6 lines to a Post-It tabs. And my inner planner addict loves the idea of a brand new planner at the beginning of a each semester.
I can even track my water intake, sleep hours, and Fitbit steps each day. Adding health and fitness elements became important – we grad students are an unhealthy lot. We sit too much while researching and writing, we rarely make it to the gym, we eat whatever we scavenge during long study periods, we don’t get enough sleep and often become dehydrated.
Some students rarely take a break so I created a system that would let me evaluate my health and fitness during the week. A weekly "Me Time" box will remind me to keep my Mind, Body, and Soul healthy.
Last Fall I took the last class I would ever take as a PhD student and was given an assignment: make something new and useful by combining multiple academic disciplines. I went home pondering what I would do.
I dropped my backpack in its normal spot near my desk and it made that *thud* sound all backpacks make when they’re too full. And I didn’t even take my planner with me that day. The planner sitting on my desk. Looking at it, the internal sigh was familiar – you've probably even experienced it yourself – because it was THAT day.
The day your wonderful planner – that glorious purchase that was going to change your life and keep you organized – transforms into a paperweight. I had done it again. I had purchased a beautifully designed planner that offered great features but didn’t function for me as student or instructor. I loved everything else about it – but it simply didn’t work.
Staring at my new paperweight, I was frustrated. After 24 years of school, I had yet to find an academic planner worth toting around every day. I’m in the 23rd grade. That’s a lot of planners.
Solve a problem. Make something useful and new.
I was going to make a real academic planner.
I researched. I interviewed students and faculty. I learned how much local office supplies stores charge to print and bind. I printed it at home. I tested it out. Friends tested it too.
I used it as I took my Core and Qualification Exams - this inspired a section in the back for paper planning because I'm always getting great ideas at random times and jotting them down on whatever I can find. The "idea web" page is paired with an outline guide so the scribbled notes can be shaped into an essay or paper.
I presented it to the class, got an A, the semester ended, and I casually tested it during the Spring while working on my dissertation proposal and defense.
I still had no idea what I was going to call the thing.
When I made contact with a publisher, I scrapped the original design and started over, teaching myself InDesign. Starting from scratch does weird and wonderful things... I logged on, had a blank title page, and I filled in a random, place-holding title: ACADEMIA.
And that was it. I was designing something for people living, studying, and working an academic life. It started as a class project, helped me finish my third year of school, and it would be a real thing I could share with other people like me. And the design looked even better.
Let's Talk Specs!
SIZE. 8x10 inches, 3/4 thick - 21x26 cm, 2cm thick (or close to it - each book has a different page count). I needed a planner that was big enough to write in properly but smaller than my school notebooks - this size is perfect.
Estimated page counts: ACADEMIA - 200 pages, ACADEMIA EXT. FALL - 160 pages, SPRING/SUMMER - 180
PAPER. Quality White uncoated, 70# (105 GSM) with Economy COLOR ink.
I had a variety to requirements when testing out the publisher's paper samples: highlighters and ink shouldn't bleed through, but I wanted it to be great as sketch paper as well. Students are doodlers. We doodle.
LOOK. Often planners are geared more toward women, but I wanted a cover that worked for anyone's style. I came up with a chalkboard design because any rough use will only add to the look and the occasional late-night pizza slice finger-smudge will look like any other fingerprint on a blackboard.
FUNCTION. One thing I've always wished for was a hardcover planner with a smooth surface. I want to be able to use it as a lap-desk when I'm not near a table and I should be able to write on it without my pen poking through or having texture in my writing.
HARDCOVER. And I mean... seriously sturdy. Lay-flat was also a desire but I had to give that up if I wanted this cover - but it still comes pretty close to laying flat - you can see that in the video and pictures.
Oh. And It's a BOOK.
I want my planner to be easily stored with all my other academic books so when I need to look up that presentation from that conference two years ago - I know which planner to grab.
The original color scheme is B&W with several shades of gray, then areas of color: light blue, and a bold red (the colors I used for my Rewards chart). I wanted a choice of colors that worked for both men and women with a variety of tastes. Highlighters and colorful pens add plenty of color while a simple blank ink pen makes the timeline look neat and uniform. You get to decide.
THE DESIGN. As much open space as possible to write in with a variety of spaces customizable to suite your needs. It also offers certain guidelines helpful to students and teachers.
One quirk of monthly calendars is that 2 or 3 months of the year, there's a random Sunday (or Sunday and Monday) that doesn't fit into the 5 week design. Most calendars either squish the whole calendar to create 6 rows or slash the previous Sunday in half, creating triangles that no one can really write in.
I chose a different approach. Thinking outside the box - literally. I invaded the grid space offered in each month - because I'd really like to have an entire small square to write on even if that day chooses to be an "outsider."
MONTHLY LAYOUT FEATURES
- Full Squares for Each Day - even for those pesky months that don't fit the standard 5x7 calendar design
- Holidays and Solar Phases (Solstices and Equinoxes) listed in light blue on their given days
- Lunar Phases - new, full, and quarter moons featured on their given nights
- Week Numbers - featured in circles between Sunday and Monday
- Inspirational Quote - all geared to make education look good
- "Me Time" Monthly Goals Box - students often push themselves too hard - this box asks what you would want to focus on for your own personal mental, physical, and spiritual health
- This Month's Focus - look at the big picture and see what is most important then record it to remind you of you goal
- Light Blue Grid - 8 tiny squares = 1 inch
WEEKLY LAYOUT FEATURES
- Daily Top Priority Boxes - literally at the top, outlined in red, with Monday - Friday in light gray
- Daily Health & Fitness Boxes - 8 squares to track sleep, 8 circles to track water intake, and a space to record fitness or step counts
- Month-at-a-Glance in the upper left corner, that week's numbers in red, six weeks total so you see the first week of the next month
- "Me Time" Weekly Goals - check out the health boxes from the week before and determine what you need to work on this week
- NEXT WEEK'S DEADLINES - one of my favorite features - this box lets you give yourself a headsup in case a big project is coming and you need to get an early start
- 8-box Checklist Space - great for To-Do lists but also good as a space for random notes if you're not a list-maker
- 7am-11pm Timeline with Lines every 20 minutes - perfectly sized for post-it tabs to fit between 6 lines (1 hour 40 minutes)
- AM/PM Space on Timeline for earlybirds and night owls living outside the time range provided
- Visible 6 hour Division on Timeline - missing lines before noon and 6pm create obvious chunks for the current morning, afternoon, and evening planner style craze
- Week Number near the Monday Priority box
- Daily Tasks and Errands Boxes - sometimes we have to do something on a day but it doesn't require a specific time - this is a great space to write a reminder
- 7 FULL Days - each with equal timeline space - no partial weekend days!
ACADEMIA EXTENDED is the only version that has 4 pages for each week. My biggest problem when designing the layout was the same each consumer deals with when trying to choose between the two options: business timeline, or a block of lines. Or maybe even a blank open square.
The benefit to the open square/lines option is you have more room to write assignments. But you lose all structure. You get structure with the business version but you lose any chance of recording homework unless your handwriting is tiny.
My solution: make both, but make them useful - an open-form space lightly divided into 3 blocks per day so that people can use this extra space however they want.
(EXTENDED ONLY) WEEKLY JOURNAL LAYOUT FEATURES
- Daily Boxes divided lightly into three sections so anyone can use the box as a whole or in parts. It was created for homework assignments but you can use it to track your diet, or record things you did that day
- Favorite Moment Box - write the best thing about that week to remember it later
- List Lines - a small column of lines for use with the daily boxes or on its own
- A Half-Page of Lines with Checklist Boxes - Perfect for any kind of writing or quick notes or more list-making
- A Half-Page of Blank Paper - great for drawing, doodling, or more notes
And what about all those helpful tools?
- TimeZone and Capital Map - US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand
- Important Dates & Birthdays - with zodiac and birthstones, solar and lunar phases
- 3 Years-at-a-Glance & Holidays - 2016, 2017, 2018 - many holidays listed for each of the 3 years including some from UK, AU, & NZ
- School Dates Area, Fall, Spring, & Summer - a place to list the First and Last day of classes, finals, and school holidays
- Schedule-at-a-Glance Grid & Class List Info - plot out what your semester will look like and record your class and professor's office hours
- Academic Goal Planning Page - including a space for a bucket list for all things non-academic
- ACADEMIC - August-December, 2017 Page break with "Look back" Page and the last two items on the list above, then January- July, Mini-Months: August-December
- ACADEMIC EXTENDED: FALL 2016 - August-December, Mini-Months: January-August
- ACADEMIC EXTENDED: SPRING 2017 - January- July, Mini-Months: August-December
I've provided a variety of pages to fill out with useful information - it keeps all of the important dates you need to remember in one place, and there's even a few pages to help you plan papers for class.
- Mini-Months are provided so that you can plan ahead after your planner months have ended - instead of a 2-page spread, each month is given half a page with a few lines for notes
- Contacts Page
- Grants & Scholarships w/deadlines
- Items to add to CV and resume
- Conferences of Interest w/deadlines and possible submissions
- Library Book List w/due dates
- Travel Log - track your flight, hotel, and car info and your per diem
- Conferences to Attend - track your conference information, submission, and presentations to see
- Paper Planning Pages - these pages offer a place to write anything you think of while not actually working on the paper - when you are ready, you can begin formatting your arguments with the provided outline - this 2-page spread is followed by a page of lines and a half page of graph squares
- Graph pages with some blank space - all graphs areas provided in my planners measure as 1 inch for every 8 squares
- Line pages for extra writing space
- Blank pages for drawing
Each of these tools vary in each planner based on the number of months - for example, the EXTENDED EDITIONS have a 2-page spread that includes 3 Travel Log spaces and 3 Conference spaces (2 pages total), but in the 1-year version, there are 4 Travel Logs (2 pages) and 5 Conference Spaces (1 page).
About the Production Phase
All of the shipping will be handled by the publisher so you'll get a great, sturdy box (I love them) delivered to the address you provide. I'll keep you updated on any news I receive on the process.
The PDFs will begin heading to your inbox immediately once the campaign ends. We'll start with the largest pledges then work our way down to the free social marketing offers - the order will vary but you can expect something within a week or two after the campaign ends.
My publishers assure me they can ship anywhere in the world but I learned during this prepping process that international shipping rates have skyrocketed since the last time I mailed something overseas.
I'm working on better options but right now you have these:
- Get either PDF option - no shipping necessary
- Tell your friends and create a group order (so far this seems to be the best option)
- Order from the UK Print Option: available to people in the UK and Europe (EU)
- Wait until the planner becomes available on Amazon - I have no idea when this will be because it's out of my control but I do know it will happen after the Kickstarter campaign has shipped.
An order of 10 books is the cheapest shipping option until you get to 20 so that order is the best for international backers - if you get 5 sets of the Extended planner, that's $13 per book.
I have wonderful friends and classmates who let me pick their brains during the process, and my parents are very supportive - everyone deserves a HUGE thank you. To those who helped test out my first draft and emailed me feedback, Dr. Humphreys for giving me the assignment that started it all, my friend Ashley who fact-checked my dates, Alicia who is now my marketing guru, my friend Ryan who took time out of his busy schedule to whip up my main video (even with my horrible sound recording skills), and my publishing rep Melissa, who has been fielding a multitude of questions - I couldn't have done this without you. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!
Thank you so much for visiting my campaign!
www.bexlyn.com will be up as soon as this Kickstarter ends!
Step-by-step guide to assignment writing
When you’re undertaking tertiary study there are often a lot of assignments and writing to do, which can be daunting at first. The most important thing to remember is to start - and start early.
If you give yourself enough time to plan, do your research, write and revise your assignment you won’t have to rush to meet your deadline. Once you've started, you’ll also have something down on paper or on screen that you can improve on.
Using the steps below will help your assignments to become do-able, interesting and even enjoyable.
Step 1: Plan
Step 2: Analyse the question
Step 3: Draft an outline
Step 4: Find information
Step 5: Write
Step 6: Edit and proofread
Step 1: Plan
Planning your assignment will help you get focused and keep you on track.
- Check how much your assignment is worth and what percentage of the final mark it is. This will help you decide how much time to spend on it.
- Check the marking schedule to see what your tutor will be looking for when they mark your work and how the marks will be assigned. This will help you know what to focus on. If there is no marking schedule check the assignment question to see if the information is there.
- Think about what you need to do to complete your assignment (for example, what research, writing drafts, reference checking, reviewing and editing, etc). Break these up into a list of tasks to do.
- Give each task a deadline, working backwards from your assignment due date.
Step 2: Analyse the question
Before you can answer a question, you need to know what it means. Read it slowly and carefully, and try to understand what's expected of you. Ask yourself:
- What's the question about? What's the topic?
- What does the question mean?
- What do I have to do?
To help you understand the question, try rewriting it using your own words using the format below:
‘This assignment is about ______________________ I have to___________________ ’
When you are analysing the question:
- Look for words that tell you what to do (instructional words). For example, analyse, compare, contrast, etc.
- Check the meaning of the words used.
- Look for topic words, which tell you what you have to write about.
- Look for restricting words, which limit the topic and make it more specific.
You can also check for additional information about the assignment and what’s expected of you in the course materials or on your course page or forums.
Tip: When you find something about the assignment on a course page or in a forum save a copy of it. If you save all the information you gather about the assignment in one file you will have all the information in one place when you start writing.
More about instruction words:
List of instruction words - Otago University website (opens in new window)
Question wording quiz - Language and Learning Online, Monash University website (opens in new window)
Step 3: Draft an outline
Drafting an outline will give you a structure to follow when it comes to writing your assignment. The type of assignment you are doing will give you a broad structure, but you should also check the question and marking schedule, as they will help you understand how the lecturer expects the topic to be structured, what must be included, and which sections are worth the most marks.
From there you can create your outline, using headings and gaps for the information you have to fill in.
Types of Assignments
Most of the assignments you will have to do are essays, which generally follow the same basic structure:
- Introduction (+ 10% of the assignment) – This is where you introduce the topic and the main points, and briefly explain the purpose of the assignment and your intended outcome or findings. It is a good idea to write the introduction last, so that you know what to include.
- Discussion (+ 80% of the assignment) – This section is divided into a number of paragraphs. Decide what points you want to discuss and include a new paragraph for each main point. A paragraph usually starts with a topic sentence stating the main idea, followed by supporting evidence and examples. In your outline try and include draft topic sentences and a few ideas outlining what you want to include in each section.
- Conclusion (+ 10% of the assignment) – Conclusions briefly restate your main argument, evaluate your ideas and summarise your conclusions. They don’t introduce any new information.
Step 4: Find information
Before you start writing, you need to research your topic and find relevant and reliable information. You will find some in your course materials and recommended readings, but you can also try:
Once you have found information, the next step will be to evaluate it to ensure it is right for your assignment. For more on how to researching and evaluating information go to:
Step 5: Write
Once you've found the information you need it’s time to bring it altogether and write your assignment.
Write your first draft
- Use your outline and fill in the gaps, writing your main points for each section.
- Write freely, getting as much down as you can without worrying about the wording being 100% right.
- You may find it easiest to start with the conclusion so that you know which direction your writing is heading, or the background.
- The introduction is often the hardest to write, so leave that till last.
- Don’t spend too much time trying to make this draft perfect as it will change!
- Revise your first draft, and check that it makes sense and includes everything it needs to.
- Fine tune the wording, and make sure your writing flows well.
- Make sure you keep different copies of your drafts as you may want to go back to them.
- Leave the writing for a day, read it, and fine tune again.
- Compile your bibliography or reference list.
How to use APA referencing
Step 6: Edit and proofread
Once you've written your assignment, you can improve it by editing and proofreading, but before you do take a break. Even a short break helps you to get some distance from your work so that you can check your assignment with a fresh eye.
Look at the big picture
- Have you answered the question you were set? Check your assignment against the marking schedule as well as the question.
- Is the structure correct?
- Have you included all relevant parts? For example, the title page, introduction, conclusion, reference list?
- Is the content logically arranged?
- Does your assignment read well, with each section flowing smoothly on to the next? A good way to check this is to read it aloud.
- Have you used your own words and acknowledged all your sources?
- Is your assignment well presented?
Check the details
- Have you used academic English (if required)?
- Check the grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Don’t just use a spell checker (it won’t pick everything up).
- Check your referencing - have you acknowledged all work that isn't your own? Is your APA referencing correct?
- Are your pages numbered?
- Have you included your name, student ID, the assignment details and the date on each page?
Tip: If possible, ask a friend or family member to proofread your assignment, as it can be difficult to see mistakes in your own work.
More about editing and proofreading:
Editing and proofreading - Massey University website (opens in new window)
Editing and proofreading - The Writing Center, University of North Carolina website (opens in new window)
Before you submit your assignment, print it out and check it one last time. It’s often easier to spot errors in print than on screen.
Once you’re happy, submit your assignment.
Submitting your assignment
Research and reading
Types of assignments
Referencing and avoiding plagiarism
Copyright and disclaimer information