At times, learning can be completely overwhelming. As Dr. Roger Chambers once said, “After four years you will merely have found the door to the library.” Dr. Chambers meant that with each passing year, the eyes of college students everywhere are opened to just how much they do not know. Learning is a challenge. But it’s a challenge that’s meant to be undertaken with confidence and not cowered away from in fear! There are many tools that make learning in college easier, one of which is organization.
Being organized in college is like trying to eat healthy at a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts restaurant. Unfortunately, eating healthy at Krispy Kreme cannot be done (putting strawberry jelly in a doughnut doesn’t exactly make the doughnut a fruit). In the same way, there’s not a lot that organizational skills can do as far as helping students improve their grades, balance their schedules, and altogether become more successful in their college career, right? Wrong! Organizational skills are absolutely essential to becoming successful.
I intend to share a few tips that will hopefully encourage you to maintain a more organized academic life and create discipline in executing your daily activities.
Create and Uphold a Weekly Schedule: High school doesn’t prepare you for college in the “balancing your life” sense. You’re at the age where mom or dad no longer reminds you to get things done on a daily basis. In many ways, college is an introduction to the real world. So why not take advantage of learning how to become organized now, before it only gets harder? If you plan on having a family one day, that will require juggling at least two or three other schedules in addition to your own. Make balancing your life easier by creating an organized schedule. The way this weekly schedule will look depends entirely on you. Some people (like myself) want to see everything spelled out for them. My weekly schedule lists class times, homework times, study times, nap times, you name it! Knowing what you have planned every day will undoubtedly make it a little easier for you to breathe and overall give you peace of mind.
Cell Phone Reminders: Use them! If you have a Google account, I highly recommend the weekly calendar feature that it offers. Once you create events in this online calendar, it synchs them to your IPhone automatically, giving you preset reminders for future events. If you don’t have an iPhone, most cell phones still come with a calendar feature of some kind. Let’s face it, we can’t possibly always remember everything on our own.
Organize Your Materials and Your Work Area: Keep a notebook for each class you take where you can save course assignments and any class notes. As you are reading your textbooks, assignments, and even syllabi, highlight the important information. This makes studying so much easier. Also, be sure to have and organize a work space – preferably a spot that’s not in front of a T.V. If you normally do homework in your room then this may involve some cleaning. Begin working with a productive mindset. Have goals for how much homework or studying you want to get done and then reward yourself for your productivity! This “reward” could be anything from hanging out with friends to playing Ultimate Frisbee or, my personal favorite, opening up a tub of ice cream!
Utilize a USB Drive: Begin by making a folder for each class that you have. These folders are where you will store syllabi, papers, and other projects that your professor assigns to you. This organizes your schoolwork immensely, taking you seconds to locate assignments rather than minutes.
Avoid Being a Pro at Procrastination: We’ve all procrastinated before. The key is, well, to not. When you need to begin working on an assignment all depends on the assignment’s requirements. I would not recommend beginning your wall chart the day before it is due in Bible Survey. Plan accordingly.
Hannah Holbrook ('15) is from New Brunswick, Canada. She in the Teacher Education program at Johnson University Florida. Hannah enjoys baking and actively participating in children's ministry.