Stay Organized, Wildcats!

28 Aug

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time! There are so many events to attend, new people to meet, clubs to join, and a full schedule of classes to adjust to. As college students, we get to decide how we want to use our time. It can be overwhelming to keep track of everything, but having an organizational system helps make it easier to manage. Ultimately you will have to find out what works best for you. Here are my top 5 tips to stay organized in college.

mike with backpack

Arriving on campus is so exciting!

1. Get a planner- and use it!
It may seem obvious, but having a planner is essential to getting by in college. There are so many types of physical planners to choose from, and lots of templates if you want to create your own customized one. If you’re going to use a paper planner, it is helpful to have one that shows the whole month and then has space for each day to write down homework assignments, meal plans, things that you need to remember to bring, work shifts, etc.

Paper planner isn’t your thing? That’s okay! There are a lot of online options to help you stay on top of assignments. Google calendar is available through your Catmail account to help you keep track of time commitments and you can set reminders. Google keep is also a free service that allows you to keep to-do lists and also has a reminder function. If you decide to stick to a strictly digital planning system, try to stick to one or two that work really well for you so that assignments don’t fall through the cracks.

2. Your syllabus is your best friend

Sully-Mike-Monsters-Inc-3D

Everything is better with support!

Once you get your syllabi, look for the section with your assignments and exams and put them into your planner. With longer projects and papers, it can be helpful to work backwards from the due date and give yourself deadlines to finish certain tasks since your professors won’t be checking in to keep you on track. Remember to keep looking back for instructions on how to complete assignments. I like to cross assignments off each week, and it helps me stay motivated.

3. Keep workspaces simple
Keep your desk surface as clear as possible so that you have room to spread out books and notebooks while you’re doing homework. It’s much more difficult to focus on the task at hand when there’s too much going on at your desk. Consolidate your school supplies to one place that is easy to reach from your desk. I like having a pencil cup on my desk with pencils, pens, and a pair of scissors and keep extra paper and index cards in a drawer nearby. Putting everything away after you’re done working helps keep your workspace feel peaceful.

4. Avoid the mountain of papers

paperwork

Don’t forget to file your paperwork.

As the semester goes on, you will be receiving lots of papers from your professors and getting assignments handed back. It is very easy for those papers to become unmanageable and end up all over your desk, in the inner hidden corners of your backpack that you never knew existed, behind your bed, or under the couch. Some of those pieces of paper could be really important- you could need those tests and papers in case something isn’t put into D2L correctly and get back the points you earned. Even if there isn’t a grading mistake, your TAs do leave useful feedback on your assignments to help you improve the next time around! Set aside a day of the week to sort papers into their appropriate folders, and if you need to take action on something (for example a change of schedule form), keep it easily accessible in your backpack so that you don’t risk missing a deadline.

5. Keep classes separate
In high school, it was easy to use one binder for all of my classes. When I got to college I realized that each class takes up a lot of space and the one-binder-fits-all method was not going to work anymore. Some people are more visual and like to color code, so if that helps you out use it! I like to have a different color notebook with a matching folder for each class so that it is easy to grab the materials for the different classes each day when I’m in a rush!

Getting organized can be a fun process and it’s a great time to try out new things and see what fits your needs the best. Once you have something that works, you will realize that you save a lot of time and can focus on what we’re all here for- to get that degree! Best of luck with the new year, Wildcats!

-Gabriela

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