When professors hand out syllabi on the first day of class, you may feel like you are already behind on your deadlines. This is a normal feeling, but there are methods to organize the madness that is college. Everyone has different learning styles; however the same organization style can fit almost everyone.
My first word of advice is to find a planner that you are comfortable with. For me, it is the one and only Passion Planner. This planner offers high structure with monthly, weekly and hourly scheduling. There are also spaces to get your creative juices flowing with doodling, motivational quotes and goal documentation.
Take all of your syllabi and write down every deadline from assignments to group projects along with test and quiz dates. Also remember to schedule in your work times, recreational opportunities (yes, I schedule out an hour every Thursday in the fall for Grey’s Anatomy) and important reminders. The next thing to do is color coordinate, color coordinate, color coordinate with highlighters.
Keeping up with the crazy
It is one thing to write down deadlines and work hours, but the most important and beneficial thing you can do to stay organized is to keep up with the crazy. Schedule time to work on class assignments and make sure you follow up and complete them. For me, when I have an assignment due, I can relieve a lot of anxiety by scheduling out a specific time to work on it.
A skill that pairs well with organization is time management. You can schedule and schedule all you want, but if you cannot designate a finite amount of time and prioritize, then you are running in circles. Complete assignments and projects according to their due dates and give yourself ‘mini deadlines’ if needed. By this I mean to take a project or big assignment and break it into chunks to complete in several sittings. I find better outcomes with my work when I am able to leave it for a little while and then return to correct and perfect it. TWU’s curriculum – across all disciplines – is big on group projects and presentations. My best advice to you is to embrace them and remove any negative connotation that you have for them – and remember – “due today” does not mean “do today.”
Take a breather
While the workload of college classes take up an exhausting amount of time, it is crucial to take some time for ourselves. Taking a few hours out of each day to relax and unwind is highly underrated for college students. I am not advising to take three hour naps on a daily basis, but go on a walk, sit down at a restaurant, hang out with your friends or call home. Giving yourself this time is so important for mental health and can help you from getting burned out.