Being a college student means you have a lot of responsibility on your hands--and this is one of the first times you are out on your own, independent and alone. The pressure is on to keep up with classes, while possibly having a job, taking care of yourself and your little home, as well as having a social life and time for yourself. There's a lot going on. So here are five tips to help you stay organized in college from the very start to your last final.
1. Have a visible calendar
I'm serious! Have a whiteboard, or a desk calendar, where you can visually see everything you have coming up--tests, meetings, football games. It makes life a lot easier to have a clear cut idea of what exactly is coming up, how much time you have until then (or how much time you don't have), and to know what you have to plan around.
2. Keep a planner on you at all times
This is one of the best tips I can give to the incoming freshman. Good luck remembering everything you need for every class without one (haha!). And beyond that, as the school year goes on and you're stuck in lecture and not paying attention, having your planner at your side is great for when you randomly remember that you signed up for volunteer hours over the weekend and need to schedule them in. Its a life saver.
3. Make a list
Scratch that. Make multiple lists. Groceries, books, cleaning, homework. Write down exactly what you need, or what you need to do, and check off the items as you go. Not only do you get the satisfaction of seeing physically what you have done, you can gauge how much more you have to go. Use certain colors and fun pens for specific goals, while using others for those that are maybe less important. It can get creative and fun!
4. Guard your syllabus with your life
I repeat: guard your syllabus with your life! Your syllabus is your new best friend. Take care of it, love it, cherish it. The second I get a copy of each syllabus for all my classes I read and re-read it. I double check things, I memorize things, but most importantly, I write everything down. Test dates, final times, locations, class cancellations, my entire academic calendar goes into my planner, onto my calendar, and etched into my brain.
P.S. This is especially important to note if you plan on traveling during the school year, whether that be for breaks or vacations, as buying plane tickets ahead of time is a pretty big deal!
5. Have a cleaning day
Now I know most of these points have been academic-based, but what about your home life? I strongly recommend having a day of the week--or a few hours on a specific day-set aside for cleaning. You need to do laundry, wash dishes, pick up your dorm room. And when you make it a habit, it makes life a lot easier and makes you feel a lot better. Its hard to focus on studying as you are surrounded by messiness, give yourself a studying break, and clean up!
6. Make time for yourself
Okay, so this isn't an organizational point really. But, make sure you write down time that can be just for you. For me, its a half hour set aside to read, or an hour to get my run in. It doesn't have to be take up much time, or even be a daily task, but putting in time for you will help you mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Organize time for "you".
Best of luck this year--and stay organized!