In my third year of college, you'd think I'd be a pro at getting organized for the coming year. But coming off a summer filled with working two jobs and doing as much "nothing" as possible, a heavy feeling of "senioritis" takes place. If you're not familiar with the term, it's a slang term for the last stretch of the semester before graduating high school where you just can't seem to bring yourself to work as hard as you have been for the past four years.
College is like one big senioritis, unless you stay organized.
With more responsibility with each year of college, it's important to always make a plan for how you're going to tackle the year.
Using a planner
Speaking for myself, I've always received a yearly school planner to keep track of homework and other obligations. Whether you used it or not is another question. I've found after I graduated that keeping up with a planner is a good way to organize your thoughts better than your phone or a computer.
Writing down the events you need to keep track of stimulates memory and you literally have it in writing so you can't misplace it. I use different colored pens and write as much detail as possible to further stimulate memory. I use a binder clip to keep track of what week I'm on.
I've put myself in the habit of opening up my planner at the beginning of the week to see what I'm responsible for and as soon as I hear of a date or get a syllabus date, I write it down. Walmart and Target sell simple planners with cute designs and large spaces to write.
Reminders on your phone
For iPhone users, Siri can be your best friend. With a simple "Hey, Siri", you can set a reminder for her to keep track of a certain event. Once the reminder is set for a certain time, it doesn't go away from your lock screen until you have dismissed it. This keeps it at the front of your mind until you do the task and can be a back-up for a planner.
Furthermore, you can set your phone up to remind you of something every day at the same time, so it takes away some of the mentality of the task.
A downfall of using reminders that shows that they should just be a back-up to the planner is sometimes the reminders can get messed up by time zone or are lost when you're using your phone. My personal preference is to use both my planner and my phone to keep track of things.
Turn your notifications on
Often in college, we participate in clubs and groups that use some kind of group messaging app. Without notifications on for these apps, you could be missing out on important plans or deadlines. When you receive a notification for a deadline or a plan, your phone has a mechanism for saving dates when they are typed a certain way. Simply press the date and your phone will ask you how you'd like to save it. As a failsafe, you can also write it in your planner and set a reminder.
Communicate with your professors early
While it may seem trivial when you are not yet in the class, putting your foot in the door can not only show your initiative but can also help you prepare for the class. Professors like vocal students who are interested in their class, and you reaching out to them early can put your name at the front of your mind and open that channel of communication right away.
From that point of communication, you can begin to understand your professor's teaching style and what you will be learning throughout the semester. Sometimes you can receive a syllabus early and begin to write those deadlines down in your planner.
Professors are often more willing to give second chances to students they are familiar with, so your open communication might get you a redo on an assignment you just couldn't dedicate enough time to or didn't understand.
Get into a normal sleep cycle
Adjusting to a normal sleep cycle before you start classes can give you not only the rest you will need to make those early morning classes, but will also get your body ready for the strenuous task of college. I've found I don't sleep much at all in college, because there are too many things to do when you don't have class, whether fun or work. This year I want to try to sleep more because it increases my focus and, well, it makes me feel better.
You don't have to follow this plan word by word, but it's a good idea to make your own plan of action. Just the act of making the plan will prepare you to go through your semester successfully. We all know college isn't easy, so anything that can help you should jump on.