Take it from me, after syllabus week, your brain will begin to scatter. With deadlines, homework, exams and more, it’s no wonder you may forget to do any assignment or two. Unfortunately, that one assignment at the end of the semester can really make or break your grade! Being organized has helped me so much and has allowed me to stay on top of my grades! I thought I would help you get organized with some of my tips and tricks to help you stay organized all year!
Tip #1: USE A PLANNER
This is a very, very critical item to have on your person at all times. I have used a planner every year since highschool and it becomes my gospel! I have all test dates, assignment dates, blog info, my work schedule and so much more all in one little planner! I have officially found my favorite planner because it has individual course tabs, and more than enough room to write! If you are interested, you can pick up my planner within the link! It also talks about what school supplies you should pick up with links! Check it out here: https://sunshineandseasoning.com/2019/08/14/11-school-supplies-you-need-for-your-first-year/
Tip #2: Use only ONE Planner
I made this mistake last semester. I thought if I entered my assignments and due dates into my physical planner and my electronic planner, I would be able to always see what I had coming up, no matter where I was. Sounds good in theory right? When keeping track of two planners, it’s no surprise that an assignment or two would fall between the cracks. My advice to you is to use what you know works for you! If you are working and going to school, I recommend getting a small planer that you can carry around in your purse or backpack. Unless you have a suitcase for a purse like I do, then carry a large planer! Link to my planner at the top!
Tip #3: Use Your Syllabus Frequently
I never understood why people don’t take the time to look at their syllabus. That syllabus tells you exactly what you are doing each period (or week) all the way up until the end of the semester! If it is available online, I print it out and read it completely! After I read it, I enter in all the dates into my planner of when a test is, the due dates of papers, and the date other assignments are due! Some professors hand you their syllabus first day of class and others rely on you getting it online, so I always bring it just in case. The first week is usually just talking about the syllabus and maybe a slight bit of homework. If they do give me another syllabus, I always save it. I have a folder full of all my previous syllabuses from all my previous classes. So yes, I have like 40 syllabus in one folder. I got that advice from when I was in highschool taking college courses! When I came up to UND a whole semester of credits weren’t going to transfer over. Since I saved my syllabus, I was able to email my advisor and low and behold, all of my classes transferred over just fine! So believe me when I say it, your syllabus are your life line.
Tip #4: Take Your Notes in The Same Place
I am guilty of this one also. There are SO MANY different ways to take notes. Laptop, tablet, printed, slides, notebook, on your phone! No wonder why notes can be scattered and askew. I remember thinking that I would learn more if I just wrote my notes. By the end of the semester I had notes in notebooks, my laptop and my tablet. Needless to say it was chaos! My advice is if you take notes on your laptop, KEEP TAKING NOTES ON YOUR LAPTOP. It will cause you so much less stress from having to find that one page of notes you so desperately need! Later on within this post, I will discuss why taking your notes twice is so important to stay tuned!
Tip #6: Have A Consistent Schedule
Now that I am writing this post, I realize that I have experienced the opposite of what I am suggesting up until last year! Taking my own advice helped me! Having a consistent schedule is the key to having a great semester! I know we are still about a week from going back to classes, so if you have an early morning class. Try to go to bed early and get up about 2 hours before your class. 2 hours may seem way to early but I promise if you wake up, have a good breakfast, go over what you did in class and do some readings, you will be way more awake than the guy who slept walked to class. Once your body adjusts to that time difference, you will be golden! I noticed that setting up a study schedule helps as well! See what gaps you have in your schedule between classes, and utilize those times to do homework and study! I know it may be tempting to go home and eat but I promise you will take a nap, sleep through your next class and be lazy for the rest of the day! I’ve done it and many of us have done it. If you can schedule times between classes to do homework and read your text books, you will have so much free time during the night, and may be able to see friends or attend university activities. One of my go to tips to keep your schedule in check is to try to follow the same schedule every day. If I have class from 12-12:50 and then a class at 2. I will use a ½ hour to make notecards, and the other half to skim through my textbook, remembering what I read the night before! Making a homework schedule on my phone helped me so much! If you want help setting up a homework schedule, shoot me an instagram message @sunshineandseasoning and we can set you up one in no time! I know this one went on for way to long but having a consistent schedule will help you so much this semester!
Tip #7: Know Your Most Productive Times
This relates back to my last tip in a huge way. Knowing what times you are most productive can help make your study schedule. My most productive time is usually from 12-4, so I try not to schedule to many classes in that time block. If I can take 4 hours to do homework, I don’t have to stay up until midnight finishing one assignment. Knowing what your most productive times are, and utilizing that time in your study schedule, you can get a lot done! I also use timers so I don’t burn myself out. Every hour I give myself 5-10 minutes just to take a break. They usually consist of eating, stretching, etc. The timer method works great for me, so give it a shot, and remember to utilize your most productive hours!
Tip #8: Make Sure Your Backpack is Stocked
You may think just because it is the first week you will do nothing but syllabus and not bring anything to class. DO NOT DO THIS. Always assume you will start taking notes the second you walk into class. Some professors will explicitly say you can view the syllabus on your own time, let’s get started on chapter one. Not only do you not know anything about chapter one, but you have no supplies to take notes with! Even if it is the first week of school, try to get the readings done in advance, so you will know exactly what the professor’s are talking about! Make sure to always have something to write with and something to write on at least! Some professors will ask you to leave if you use your phone to take notes or are disrupting the class. If you aren’t sure what to keep in your backpack, check out my post on what school supplies you need to get through the first semester: https://sunshineandseasoning.com/2019/08/14/11-school-supplies-you-need-for-your-first-year/
Tip #9: Take your Notes, Twice
As I said in tip #4, I would discuss the importance of this. I always take my notes on my tablet because I can record the lecture and I can type faster than I can write. Some professors go crazy fast so I do recommend typing your notes so they aren’t a scribbled, incoherent mess. However, I always take my notes twice. While I’m actively typing I usually don’t pay attention, unfortunately, but when I can record my lecture and relisten to it, it helps so much. After class I rewrite my notes on paper while listening to the lecture. Rewriting my notes not only helps me retain information better, but I am learning the material twice! I also put my notes in my notebook incase anything happens to my laptop where I can’t access my notes. Listening to the lecture back has helped me find key points that will be on the exam that I never heard about! If you are wondering how I am able to listen to the lecture back, I use an app called notability. If you use a tablet for class, this is for YOU! Notability not only lets me type and write my notes, but I can also record my lecture and keep a transcript of it! Since I have it recording throughout the entire class period, some people ask questions which can help me solve my problems too. The only downside is it is between 7.99-11.99 but it is a one time price for a great piece of software so I highly recommend using that app!
Tip #10: Keep Your Workspace Clean
When I walk around the library, I see students using whole tables to do their homework. Now sometimes it is acceptable but let me tell you why it isn’t! If your workspace is messy, not only will you be more chaotic but you will get easily distracted by other subjects! Having a messy workspace also isn’t efficient and you may not retain any information! My advice to you is to study one subject at a time! Do not unload your whole backpack on the table! Take out only what you need for a specific class. For example if I am studying development psychology. I will have my notes out, notecards, textbook and my laptop or tablet (and also writing utensils but you get the point) by having only one subject on my workspace I can focus solely on that one subject without class notes and information getting mixed up!
Well I hope that my organization guide helps you out throughout your schooling! WE ARE 6 DAYS AWAY FROM MOVE IN! Are you excited, nervous, anxious? Let me know in the comments below and I will answer all of your questions! Did I forget anything on this list? Also let me know in the comments below!
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