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Organizing for the Semester in 5 Steps

January 23, 2013

New semester, new beginning.  To start off your spring semester in the right direction, you’ll need to be organized.  Habits can form quickly, so it’s vital to begin the semester with the best habits you can!  You can prevent stress, help your academic performance, and get an overall better peace of mind in college just by be being organized; here are five easy ways how:

1. Get the supplies
Make sure you have all the materials you need for your classes.  Textbooks, notebooks, pens, and folders are the most obvious essentials for your courses.  Taking notes on loose pieces of paper, and shoving handouts in random places will likely cause some trouble when it comes time to look for study materials before a big test.  So get the goods!  Also keep in mind that once you get all your back-to-school gear, you should keep them orderly in your room too.  Keep all your school stuff together so you always know where to look.

2. Set goals
Think about last semester—what you had difficulty with, what you did well, what you wish you could have done better, etc.  Well, a new semester is upon us, which makes it a great time to set some goals and turn those wishes into realities.  Whether you aim to ace a class in a difficult subject, stick with a particular student organization, or just try something new, consciously setting goals for yourself is a great way to keep you motivated and focused.

3. Find a routine
Don’t set yourself up for having to pull future all-nighters; find a routine that works for you, and stick with it!  Get familiar with your new classes, and make a game plan for the best way to get readings and assignments done on time for each.  Make sure the routine you get in is a good routine though; for example, doing homework until 2am the night before probably isn’t a good habit to get yourself into.  Getting sufficient sleep is essential for your mental and physical well being  so make sure you find time for it!

4. Use a calendar
You’ll likely get a detailed syllabus from each of your classes outlining assignments and due dates.  (Do not loose these!)  However, you’ll also want to have a look at the big picture to make your day-to-day tasks easier to manage.  To help with this, you should definitely invest in a calendar or day planner.  It can be really helpful to see your to-do’s in writing.

5. Know your Priorities   
College life is jam-packed with all sorts of commitments and activities.  It can definitely be tricky trying to fit everything in while still doing well in your classes.  Because of this, it’s important to look at everything you have going on, and figure out what your priorities should be.  Sure, going to an ugly sweater party might be on your to-do list, but what about getting that 10-page essay done?  Don’t give up all your fun—that definitely won’t make for a happy college student.  But do remember to prioritize so that you can stay organized and be successful for this semester and onward!

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