Simple Organizational Tips for College
Organizational skills are critical to successfully managing your tasks and strategizing your learning process in college. An effective organizational game plan goes quite a ways in creating long-term success in university, regardless of what you’re studying when your classes are, and how complex your courseload is this semester. A new note-taking strategy or a new set of apps for school organization are handy tools that allow you to work from the top down in creating a new schedule or routine that supports your learning.
College life today involves balancing your lifestyle and trying new things to find what you want to do with the rest of your life. For almost all students, this is an incredibly daunting task. Setting the bigger picture in order starts with managing the small details of your day-to-day routines and habits.
If you’re tired of losing track of your files or misplacing an important document online, it’s time to start fresh with a new organizational plan. In this article, we’ll cover a few of the ways that you can set things back on track, so you’ll never misplace your assignments or lose track of those upcoming deadlines.
Also read: How to Leverage Technology for College
Improve Your Note-Taking Strategies
Your reading and lecture notes are essential study guides for the end of the semester, so you can look back on everything you’ve learned before the final. Before the semester begins, it’s usually a good idea to set up a plan for your note-taking strategies and find the platform that works best for you. Ideally, all of your notes are stored away in the same place for easier access in the future.
While typing up all of your notes is usually the easiest option, specific courses that require more visual notetaking may require you to write everything up by hand. This is typically the case for science or lab coursework. Creating hard copy notes is often assistive to your concentration and fact retention, though the process can quickly wear down on you, which means it’s only helpful to a point.
Taking lecture notes on your computer is straightforward and simple, and for this reason, it’s the most popular choice in almost any class you’ll take. However, taking notes on your computer makes it easier to reach out for online distractions.
Keeping your notes online with dedicated note-taking software is a solid option for any student who wants to work with multiple devices throughout the day. Software like Bublup and Evernote makes it easy to access and edit all of your notes on the go, whether it’s on your computer or your phone. They can also help ensure that you don’t misplace any of your note documents and don’t have to go rooting around in your computer’s folders to find what you’re looking for before a lecture or a study session.
Whether you take notes on your computer or copy everything out by hand, it’s usually a good idea to sign up for one of these platforms to back up your notes. These platforms are also useful for adding media files such as a YouTube video or photo directly into your class notes.
Prioritize Your Calendar
While using a calendar might seem like an obvious point when it comes to organizing your life, it’s usually worth repeating. College means balancing a high quantity of deadlines while still managing to make it all happen. This extends far beyond the classroom and your reading assignments. There are plenty of in-depth extracurricular activities that benefit from the organization that comes with a calendar, such as a student government, debate, sports teams, and volunteering or fundraising.
Online calendars, from platforms like iCloud and Google, are usually the best choice for creating a calendar that’s easy to access and reminds you when you have an upcoming event. That being said, there’s really nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned planner- as long as you’re committed to using it regularly. Just like your lecture note-taking strategies, it’s usually best to pick a platform before classes start and stick to it for the entire semester.
Create Lifestyle Habits
Moving away from home for university is an opportunity to alter the routines that dominate your lifestyle, including your eating habits and your attitude towards exercising. As the sole manager of your lifestyle, all the power is now in your hands to make a positive change that contributes to a healthy lifestyle during and after your college years. It might sound silly now, but setting an intention for making a few positive changes before each semester goes a long way towards getting to a healthier version of yourself.
Creating new diet and exercise habits starts with setting down a few reasonable, achievable goals. While it might sound like a good idea to immediately start running a 5K every day, it’s usually the type of goal that creates faster burnout and minimizes your motivation.
In addition, it’s important to be respectful of the time you have each day when you’re setting these goals. A full hour at the gym isn’t a realistic, achievable goal for most students. Before creating an intention for the semester, make sure you research your university’s resources for making these goals a reality.
Learn About Your College’s Resources
Most colleges and universities have plenty of resources and support structures for their students to help them manage the tougher aspects of moving away from home for school. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for assistance, whether it’s for mental health concerns or a quick writing center review of your midterm paper.
Unfortunately, many college students aren’t comfortable with asking for help from their college’s professional resource centers. However, the value of these resources for students shouldn’t be underestimated. If you or someone you know is struggling to manage the day-to-day aspects of college life, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. In most cases, these support services are included as a part of your tuition fees and can go a long way to reorganizing your college habits and lifestyle.