Jamie Capetillo

America Reads Graduate Intern

Jamie is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Higher Education and Students Affairs at USF. She got her B.A. in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Ethnic & Racial Studies from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. As the America Reads Graduate Assistant, Jamie coordinates K-3 literacy tutoring at various school sites in San Francisco and trains undergraduate tutors working with the program. Advocating for equitable and accessible education for marginalized students is what brought her to the America Reads position. In her free time Jamie likes to explore the city, find new coffee/tea/smoothie/yogurt shops, read novels and poetry, listen to music and spoken word, and enjoy other forms of art. Come find her in the lower level of


“What is the chief way in which you prepare for an important task? What person, thing, or situation influenced you to prepare in the way that you do?”


When I left for grad school, my mom told me that it was very important that I stay organized and on top of things so that my life wouldn’t become a huge mess. My mom is one of the most organized people I know, without even having to try. She stays on top of things and never fails to get her stuff done. So this semester I tried to channel her, and I think I’ve been pretty successful.

Soooo….. I’m going to share some of what’s been working for me with you because I find that for me, the best way to prepare means organizing myself before I even start that important task!

Some of Jamie‘s “Major Keys” to being organized in school, Planner Edition:

1. Get yourself a planner!!!! My planner is my life. Planners are different for everyone, some people like to physically have their planner so they can hold it and see, others need to have their planner on their phone and or computer. This can simply be utilizing your google calendar or finding an app that works for you. My friend swears by Wunderlist, I personally haven’t tried it but it works for him. For me, my dream is to invest in a Passion Planner. It’s an interactive planner that allows you to map out your month and week, reflect on things, and most importantly create TO DO LISTS! I love those things.

2. ACTUALLY USE YOUR PLANNER! I’ll be honest with you… this was the hardest part. I’ve always been given a planner from my schools, but I never used them. Then I would go and forget about appointments, meetings with friends, or that I had a project due. Looking back on my first few years of undergrad, I could have saved myself so much time and stress if I had been organized and utilized my planner. Right now, I find myself gravitating towards my google calendar when it comes to a planner. I really like that it’ll buzz a reminder on my phone or on my computer so I am forced to remember things.

3. Schedule in your assignments from your syllabus!!! Sounds super easy right? Take it a step forward and in your planner, use a red pen to mark the day an assignment is due. Write it out in blue pen in the two days ahead; black for three to five days ahead; and green for six to nine days ahead (doesn’t have to be those colors, I read this tip in a different blog once, and I’ve done it this way, you don’t have to.) By doing this you’ll always see when your assignments are coming up! Also, you won’t be caught off guard let’s say when your friend tells you your practicum materials are due tomorrow. Just a fictitious example!

4.  While you’re at it, schedule in everything. If you’re one of the few people I’ve shared my calendar with, you’ll see that literally everything I do is on my calendar. I have when I’m going to workout, when I’m going to run errands, when I’m going to have fun, and when I’m doing homework. I also set myself reminders throughout the day and when it comes close to turning things in. Ex. I’m a procrastinator, so on the day that our reading summaries are due for one of my classes, I’ll have multiple reminders pop up on my phone and computer, to keep me on track, and make me feel bad if I’m actually on facebook or something.

5. One final tip I have for y’all is color coding can save your life. For me, In my planner, I have everything color coded. My work is = purple, Homework time = red, optional events = default color, my side hustle = yellow…. you get the picture. For me, this helps me see a balance, and also know what is coming up. For classes, I also color code. My theory class is yellow, so I highlight in yellow, my notebook is yellow etc… My student development class is green. This helps me know how to organize things in my binder, and when I’m looking for something for a class, be able to find it easier. This way for instance, if I’m in a rush and all my readings fall out in the middle of an airport, I know exactly where each of them goes.

Please know that what works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you. And that for me it took a lot of trial and error to find what really helps me stay organized and on top of things. Find out what works for you by trying different techniques! Also be honest with yourself when it comes to your effort and things that are getting in your way. By doing this you can adjust small things that you could be doing better. Now go prepare, you got this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *