Students during video shoot

Our Story


While I began teaching in 1991, it has been in the last ten years that I’ve noticed students struggling MORE with getting their work done on time. They also openly struggle with intense anxiety. 

Research shows that about 28% of students drop out of college and cite time management as one of the main reasons.

  • The bottom line is that not all technology is good technology. It turns out that writing by hand activates the thinking part of the brain, improving memory and retention.  When students write notes by hand, they do better.  When they plan their time in a paper calendar, they do better because it is ACTIVE, not passive. 
  • Scrolling through a phone to input an alarm or due date is not going to help a student learn how to parcel out their coursework so that they can stay on top of all the self-directed learning required at the college level.

As for happiness, modern life and college in particular are intensely focused on the FUTURE.  I found more and more students not enjoying the experience of learning in college but ENDURING it so that they would be successful down the road.  The key to happiness is learning to stay in the moment, so I wanted students to learn some easy habits to improve their daily sense of well-being.

I could not find an existing paper planner that would teach time management with an effective layout while incorporating some simple happiness habits, so I created The Centered Student System for academic success, with the Centered Student Planner as its foundation.  The picture above is from our last video shoot for the exclusive video tutorials that come with the planner.  This year, students share their tips for college success!



Every academic tool we offer is handpicked by me based on 30 years of teaching and my own success as a student in both undergrad and graduate school.



The Planner – This planner is unlike the typical college planner that lists days without times; that’s great if you are just listing things, but it doesn’t help you SEE all your commitments and assignments IN ONE PLACE.  We are all visual learners in varying degrees, so seeing your week laid out and identifying chunks of time to get your work done is essential.  Weekly to do lists help you gather everything in one list, that you can then portion out during the week. 

Exclusive weekly video tutorials: by scanning the QR code, students have access to 52 videos on everything from studying for exams to navigating their social lives. Here’s a sample:




Tapping on a laptop will not help the typical student do better in school. 

Writing by hand is the foundation of Centered Student System, so we include colored markers, quality pens, and other fun writing tools. The best learning is ACTIVE and has a tactile component. Writing by hand slows you down so you absorb more of what you are learning.

Liking the feel and flow of your pen makes a difference when you are taking notes. Color coding your notes makes it a more active process that will result in you remembering MORE. Annotating your textbooks with our Smarter Sticky is also more active than highlighting, and will help you retain the information you need for tests, quizzes and projects.



The Penultimate Pen – we named this because it was the second to last pen my husband tested and we liked it the best.  It’s the right weight, feels great in the hand and writes beautifully.  It’s also gorgeous and the perfect gift for a new grad.



Fine Line Journal Markers – This handy tube of 12 colored fine line markers is the direct result of me finding the markers and using them to grade papers.  The ink doesn’t bleed, there’s a wide range of colors and I also use them to fill in my planner.  Color coding is ACTIVE.  You can use these to take notes, or go back into your notes and reread them, emphasizing important points using your markers. 



Click It Pencil Pens – Everywhere I go, people ask me about this pen! It looks like a thicker pencil but is actually a ballpoint pen. Just click the eraser! It’s fun, writes great and is the perfect conversation starter! (Note: these are not erasable pens).



The Smarter Sticky – Can you imagine life before sticky notes?  As much as I love them, I don’t always want to cover up the page or document that I’m marking.  These transparent sticky notes are a rectangle, not a square, and perfect for annotating textbooks or adding items to your planner without covering up other commitments.   Mark pages with a reminder of WHY you marked the page, or use them to clarify your own notes with additional information.



Sassy or Classy Stickers – True story: my students love when I put stickers on their papers.  It’s just a fun reminder of our early days of learning.  I use stickers in my planner because it is more ACTIVE.  Not only am I writing down an item, I can put a sticker next to it for double emphasis in my brain!  I sprinkle these throughout my planner in advance, too, for a personalized look.  Choose from our Centered Student Classic academic stickers or our Sassy Motivation pack – better yet, get both!

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