Dear Diary – Planning in Paris

Dear Diary,

I always get this feeling when school starts where I feel so motivated and ready to ace all my classes. I’m first in line at the bookstore, I’ve preordered my books for the semester, and I’m perusing the aisles for new (matching, of course) school supplies.

But then, somewhere along the way, that all goes to pot. I’ve let myself get completely disorganized. I can’t find half the handouts I’m supposed to have, and all of a sudden I have three tests in the same week that I haven’t even started to study. But this time I’m determined to break the cycle.

I’m studying abroad in Paris this semester with a French immersion program, and I want to share my adventures with all of you! So I’m starting a new column I’ve dubbed “Dear Diary.” I’m going to be writing about how school works in Europe, my travels throughout the semester, and what I’m learning about the Parisienne way of life! (They just do it right, I can already tell).

Alright, back to the organization. I’ve decided that my habits in this area could use some work. Here are some goals I’m focusing on this semester that might help you too!


I heard this idea from the lovely Brittany Vasseur. DIFM stands for Do It First Method. Too many times when I come home after class I immediately start relaxing and taking a break from the day. The problem is, it’s so much harder to get going again on school work after I’m already checked out for the day. So, this semester, I’m doing it first. My goal is to immediately start and finish my work when I come home. Not only will this guarantee that I’ll accomplish everything I need to before the next day, but I’ll have the rest of the evening to spend how I please!

Day Planner

I want to make it a habit to look at my planner first thing in the morning. I’ve been using a planner for years but forget to look at it. This semester I’m making it a priority to spend 5 mins in the morning looking at the day to see what I need to do. Not only will this keep me on track for school, but also keep straight the events that my program has planned for us.


During my sophomore year, I took a class that required us to listen to the New York Times podcast, the Daily. It was such a great way to keep up with what was happening in the news. Over the past year I’ve gotten used to watching TV while I’m getting ready, but this year I want to integrate the Daily back into my routine.


This is a continuation of a goal that I made last year. When I was asked if I liked to read, I always gave the same answer: yes, but I don’t have time for it anymore. I started thinking about how untrue this actually was, I did have time to read, I was just choosing to spend it doing other things, particularly watching Netflix and scrolling through Instagram. Last year I made it a goal to put my phone away 30 minutes before bed and use that time to read. I’m going to follow that same rule this year! The book I’m reading at the moment.

À la prochaine, Lydia

Lydia Brooks

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