As another semester begins, many students will feverishly attempt to get their lives in order. Here are five simple organizational tips that can help you to start off the school year right.
Use a planner
Planners are your loyal friend when it comes to getting organized. It is completely worth it to purchase one and actually use it. To make the most of your planner, map out when you have exams or presentations, and when papers or other reports are due right when you get syllabi at the beginning of the semester.
To heighten your planner game, follow this method: when you see that you have a major exam during a certain week, go to the previous week in your planner and write that the exam is a week away. Then go to the week before that and write that the exam is two weeks away. This way, you will always know what’s coming up and be able to prepare for it well before the due date.
You can also use your planner to keep track of club meetings, your work schedule and any on-campus events (e.g. Study Abroad Fair, Career Fair) that you plan to attend.
Get ready the night before
For many students, waking up and getting to early classes on time can be a struggle. Getting ready for classes the night before can really help you out and save time in the morning.
This tip is pretty simple: the night before your classes, just put all of the materials that you need for the next day out on your desk. Make sure you have all of the right papers, notebooks and textbooks, as well as any other materials you might need, like a graphing calculator for calculus class or lab goggles for chemistry. Additionally, you can put your keys, ID, wallet and phone next to your materials so that you can conveniently grab those items too. Make sure that your planner and writing utensils are also included!
Keep syllabi and course calendars
When a professor gives you a syllabus, please, please, please read it thoroughly! You’ll want to make sure that you understand all of the professor’s policies regarding make-up work and absences, as well as all of the assignments for the semester. (If you’re sick on an exam day, you will want to know how to make up something that could be worth a high percentage of your course grade!) Keep the syllabus somewhere safe so that you can reference it throughout the semester.
Color-code class materials
For many students, the simple act of color-coding class supplies can really help to keep those materials organized. Think of getting a color-coordinating folder, notebook and binder for each class. You can even get highlighters and post-it notes to match your color scheme.
To take it one step further, color code each class’s materials to match the dominant color in that class’s textbook cover.
Make to-do lists
You can use your planner, a notebook or even a sticky note for this. At the beginning of each day, write down every task that you want to complete by day’s end. This can include readings, written assignments, work, chores and on-campus events or club meetings. As you finish each item, cross it off. This helps keep your productivity in check and allows you to see what you still need to do for that day.
Stephanie Santillo is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.