As someone in their senior year of college, I look back at my freshman self and think about what I wish I knew coming into college. I didn't always know how to go about organization for classes and it put me under a lot of stress back then. So, as I get ready to graduate within the next few months I thought I'd share organization tips that helped me through my college career.
1. Print Your Syllabi Out + Highlight, Highlight, Highlight
When your professors post your syllabi it's important to highlight any key dates for major assignments. Sometimes a professor will include the intended schedule for homework assignments and class readings, so it's important to take note of those too, especially if the material will be on quizzes or exams. Highlight the important dates and jot down those assignments to keep track from the beginning of the semester. This also gives you the opportunity to work ahead, to prepare study times, and work around appointments/if you happen to need to miss class one day.
2. Always Have a Planner
Going off of that, I found that having a planner made it much easier to remember all of my assignments. During the first week of classes try putting down all of these dates and assignments in your planner in order to have all of your coursework for all of your classes in one place. You can use different color pens or highlighters in order to see which classwork you have for each course. It may seem to be a bit much, but honestly, it's helpful when you have three classes that all have a major assignment on the same day. That way you'll know how to split your time between the work to get it all done w/o overlooking it by mistake.
3. To-Do Lists
This is the one thing everyone has told me I'm ridiculous for and honestly, they aren't wrong, but if you're like me and get overwhelmed by an insane amount of coursework weekly to-do lists in addition to the planner may help. I normally use a mini legal pad or a random piece of notebook paper, but I just write my assignments and homework for the week for each course. I highlight or do the pen method and then I just cross them off as I accomplish each of them. This is especially helpful if you're forgetful. I'm someone that has to set reminders just to text people back, so having a concise list of my weekly tasks helps me remember to do it as well as not overwhelming me as much.
4. Time Management
Time management doesn't have to be difficult. As someone who used to procrastinate everything, I can assure you that anyone can do it. What I found was after doing the three things I mentioned above, I felt more motivated. Once you get an idea of your classwork you can normally judge how long certain assignments will take you. Utilize your breaks between classes to do readings and homework. Set up allotted study time, and don't wait until the last minute to study.
5. Allow Yourself a Break!
And finally, the most important part of staying organized and doing well in college is knowing when you need a break. Everything I mentioned had worked for me but I needed breaks in order to not burnout. As college students, some working part or full time, some with families, and other obstacles that arise, burnout is inevitable without a break. Even if that means watching a half an hour show before bed after you've finished your work or taking a break between studying to chat with your friends, mentally it is needed to do well. Because we're people, not robots. We need to take care of our mental health just as much.