Tricks for being more organized in college

Before I start this post, I have to highlight on the chaos college is for a freshman such as myself (hence my MIA). Now, as I’m in the middle of the exam season, I would like to think this calls for a good studying post that will also have a few beauty tips for when you’re stressed.

1. Stay motivated!

This is super important!! Write down your set of timely goals (both short-term and long-term), print out motivating quotes and hang them in your work-space, write down what makes your classes interesting so you’ll never want to drop them… Anything that you know will help you when you’re feeling like you don’t know why you even got in that class in the first place.

2. Keep a planner and/or a bullet journal!

You really want to keep all your important dates and to-do lists close wherever you go. Whatever system you’re going to use, stick to it and make yourself love it since, really, you’re doing this for yourself and it’s your future. Plan your weeks and months wisely, setting some free time, too. Plan every and anything your little heart desires.

I keep both, honestly. The bullet journal is more of a daily to-do list and the planner is to plan revisions, exams, non-college related events…

3. Keep your syllabi (and modify it to fit your schedule)!

When you get your syllabi, don’t just ignore them since they’re going to be very helpful. You want to know what’s due when, but you really don’t want five separate papers, do you? That’s too much. You can organize them by date, so you won’t miss any of them! Also, keep little reminders in your planner for the assignments since you’re never too safe.

4. Good habits!

I know it’s really hard to keep up with school and be healthy, but you want to stay fit and fresh for your working hours! Remember to:

  • Drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day.
  • Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables everyday.
  • Shower, wash your face and give yourself a cream massage every morning/evening.
  • Have your space clean and organized (this also great motivation!).
  • Stock your backpack every night or, if you have time, when you wake up.
    I am diabetic, so I have to have a few extra things with me that I can’t go outside without so I have my backpack school-ready in the evening when I’ve finished working and add in my kit, two juice boxes and a water bottle before I leave.
  • Keep a decent amount of money, your ID and any medical cards in your wallet in case of emergencies.
  • Make your bed when you get up and open a window for 5-10 minutes to keep your room fresh and uncluttered.
  • Plan your outfit the evening prior.
  • Do some exercise! You should at least take a 30-minute walk a day.
  • Sleep 7-8 hours a day! This is soooo important, I can’t stress this enough. I’ve been having bad grades despite my hard work because I didn’t sleep enough and had to take medicine for the terrible headaches I was getting.
  • Disconnect from the internet for 2-4 hours a day at least. Take some time to talk to your relatives and friends without using the internet, whether it’s a call or a visit!

5. Decide your note-taking system!

Whether you want to take notes on your laptop/tablet or on a notebook, you should decide what method you’re going to use for the whole semester. Be comfortable with it, try out a few and see which is your favorite!

I like to write the date in the top right corner and have a little flag in the top middle with the class’ name abbreviation I’m going to take that moment. If I’m taking more notes that day, I’ll have another flag in the middle and so on.

6. Try to stay productive!

You need to find a time in the day that you’re most comfortable working and stick to it. Use the Pomodoro technique if you feel that’s what works for you. BUT do not ever feel like you’re being obliged to do this. You shouldn’t feel bad working or like you’re being pressured into it. In that case, take a break for the day and do whatever makes you feel much better.

7. Set up email filters!

As college students, we get at least 10 emails daily and that’s way too stressful when you have only 4 filters, like on Gmail. You can set up filters and tabs so you won’t lose track of what’s important! There’s a WikiHow on this, right here.

8. Use website blocking apps!

It is fairly easy to go from the Wikipedia page of what you’re trying to work on to Twitter or Tumblr. Set up a website blocking app, such as SelfControl, and have a good working time without any distractions.

9. Back up your work!

As a Computer Science major, I know how important this is. A separate hard drive, such as a pendrive or even an external hard disk, is very important for you to keep your hard work safe and sound. You don’t want your 6-page essay to disappear, do you?

10. Correlating to the last one… Save your work if the program doesn’t do it automatically!

Again, you wouldn’t want to have your work disappearing, it is very hard to keep yourself from crying when this happens and you end up being unmotivated to start over. I know this first hand, I had a 4-page maths assignment with formulas and drawings almost finished when the program froze and closed without saving my work. It was heartbreaking to start again, but you got to do what you got to do.

11. On a higher note… Colorcode!

It is so much fun to pick a pretty color for each class and, the best of all, you’re staying organized. What could be better than that?

12. Keep separate binders, folders, notebooks, etc. for your classes!

This really depends on your preferences. You could even have one big notebook and have little post-it flags with the colors you set for each class separating them. It really depends on how you understand yourself and your notes.

13. Keep your desk really organized with these few tips!

  • If you take it out and you’re done using it, put it back where it was! It’s easy to do and you can keep your desk mess-free.
  • Keep your staplers, hole-punchers, rulers, extra pens, etc. in your drawers instead of on top of your desk.
  • Label your chords and use a binder clip at the edge of your desk to store the ends.
  • Instead of having loose papers all over your desk, use a white board to write down any ideas or reminders that may come up to you.

14. Stay on top of your work!

If you have some spare time, take it to read through or to start taking notes on the book/powerpoint that you’re going to be working on the next day in class.

15. BURNOUT DAY!

You think this is a myth? Well, it isn’t. Burnout is real and you should really set a day to have it all for yourself. Maybe this can be your cleaning day, pamper day or watching movies day (or maybe all of them at once?).

I, for instance, use Sundays to take a break. I clean out my room, give myself some pampering and watch a couple movies. In case I have some important work unfinished, I will take some time in the morning to finish that.

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