Written by: Lauren Duffy
To any full-time college student, organization is a total struggle, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few ways to stay organized during your college years:
Buy an awesome planner:
A planner is an absolute must for anyone who wants to stay organized in everyday life. This does not just apply for college students. Everyone who has a busy life needs one to survive. There are so many different options for planners, but you can choose whatever works best. For myself, I like a planner that has plenty of room for me to write down to-do lists and new assignments. I also like to have a planner that includes a full month calendar at the beginning of each month. This is where I write down any important dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, holidays or even future doctor appointments. You may enjoy a planner that has a fun design. Your busy days won’t seem so daunting when you have a visually pleasing planner to look at.
Use a notebook for each class:
When it comes to notebooks, I need one for each individual course. Years ago, I got into the habit of using one notebook for everything. It was total chaos. When it was time to study, I never had any idea where my notes were. When it was time to hand in my homework, I had to frantically search. It made my life much more difficult to use only one notebook. Having separate notebooks for each class was so much easier! I always knew where I left off in my note taking and I could find my assignments no problem.
Keep your electronic documents properly sorted:
As I sat in the LIU Post Writing Center this morning with Kainat, another writing assistant, we discussed our electronic organization when it comes to our education. We both believe electronic organization can not only benefit students in college, but in their future years as well. On the desktop of my laptop, I have three major folders – “Schoolwork,” “Internship” and “Writing Center.” Within my “Schoolwork” folder, I have files for each semester and then for each class. This organization system makes it easy to access old documents if I need to put together a portfolio for a potential employer or if I need to look back on formatting styles.
Color code your life:
I’ve seen color coding benefit students all over campus in many different ways. When I first started at LIU Post, I purchased a different color folder and notebook for each of my classes. I used a red folder and notebook for Introduction to Public Relations, but I used a green folder and notebook for Mass Media. That was the extent of my color coding, but other students are more extreme. I’ve witnessed a few friends of mine use different color pens in their planners – purple for homework assignments, red for their work schedule, blue for specific appointments, etc. To help with her thesis, Kainat uses colored Post-its in her sources to represent different major points.
Frequently write out to-do lists:
To-do lists keep me sane on a daily basis. I write them out at least twice a week – sometimes more! Whenever I feel too stressed out with work or school or whatever I have going on that week, writing a to-do list always makes me feel more comfortable. Having a physical list in front of me makes my assignments seem less daunting. Often, I feel like I’m forgetting about an assignment that’s due. When I write out a list, I internally go through each class and physically look through the syllabus and my notes to figure out what to study or what assignments will be due soon. I often write out separate lists for tasks outside of school. This applies to errands, chores or even resume/cover letter updates. Crossing bullet points off my to-do lists helps ease my anxiety and gives me a solid feeling of accomplishment.
Start fresh each semester:
Starting fresh does not necessarily mean you have to go out and buy new school supplies. As a full-time college students, budgets must be small for us to get by. Right before each semester begins, I go through my old notebooks and get rid of anything I don’t need. I rip out any old notes from each notebook, save what will be beneficial to keep and throw away whatever is useless. Usually, I type up the notes I want to save so I don’t lose them and so they don’t take up useless space at home. The remainder of the notebooks, I use for my new classes. If that doesn’t work for you and you’re dying for new school supplies, don’t go the Five Star route. Buy the cheap, store brand notebooks. They work just as well as the fancy notebooks, but are definitely on the cheaper side.