I’m completely OCD about organization at work and home, but for some reason, it was a lot harder for me to get, and stay, organized at college. It took me a few semesters to get it right, but now I’m the organization princess, and aside from not having the frustration of losing things and forgetting assignments, my grades have improved — bonus! If you’re a college student, or are going to be one soon, keep reading! Here are my tips, 7 ways to stay organized at college.
1. Get a Buddy in Each Class
After a couple of weeks, it’s a marvelous idea to make a friend in each class, someone you know will take notes and collect homework and such if you happen to miss a class. Exchange phone numbers and email addresses (or friend each other on Facebook) so you can alert each other when one of you will be gone. This way, even if you miss a class, you’ll still be organized, with all of the info you’ll need come exam time.
2. Keep a Cheat Sheet
On this cheat sheet, write down each class, when and where it meets, the instructor’s name and contact info, and which text you use. Keep this sheet in your planner, and keep it all semester. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to dig through a hundred folders and notebooks looking for a piece of information on a sheet like this… now I make one the first week of each term, and I’m much more organized.
3. Write It All down!
It may sound terribly old-fashioned and low-tech, but I recommend using a paper day planner. Use it, religiously, to keep track of project due dates, homework assignments, and exam dates. In the very front pocket is the perfect place for your cheat sheet, from above. For some reason, writing things down helps you remember them, even if you don’t refer to the planner again — though I’m sure you will, even if you keep a calendar on your phone or laptop.
4. Pay Attention
If you tend to zone out during long lectures, you’ll have a tough time staying organized at college. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a prof say something, give some important assignment during his lecture, then ten minutes later, as we’re all filing out of class, I’ll hear someone ask if there was any homework. Pay attention! Why bother to pay tuition and buy textbooks if you’re not going to listen to lecture?
5. Make a Space
I can’t stress how important it is to have a quiet, distraction-free study space when you’re trying to get organized for college. Make sure it’s somewhat secluded, without a radio, TV, or other things that might take your focus off of your tasks, and make studying less productive.
6. Gather Your Supplies
Before you sit down to study or do homework, make sure you have everything you’ll need, from textbooks to pencils to a healthful snack and water bottle. If you’re going to have to get up and down every time you need something, you’ll find you won’t get nearly as much done — and you won’t be nearly as organized.
7. Don’t Procrastinate
Don’t put off getting organized for school. Do it now, or at least soon! The sooner you start to do it, the easier it will become, and by mid-semester, you’ll notice how much better prepared you feel, and your roommate might even notice how much tidier your workspace is!
I’m sure everyone has their own ways to keep everything organized at college, but these are the ways I do it, and for me, they really help! No more mess, no more frustration, and better grades… sweet! Do you have any other college organization tips to share? How do you keep organized at college or university? Please share!
Top Photo Credit: Churchill House