By: Madison of Samford University. Follow me @freckshairbows.
College is a whole new ball game when it comes to schoolwork. You may not have as many classes, but the workload can be stressful. Assignments may be few in numbers in some of your courses, so every grade will count. To stay on top of it all, you need to have a method of organization. Everyone is different, so your classwork organization might be different from someone else’s. You may need to try out a few ways until you find the perfect one. Here are a few ideas to keep everything together…
- Color Coding: Sure this idea may be a little middle school, but it always helps. You don’t have to stick to solid colors. Try stripes, polka dots, or any other pattern you like. Personalization is always a fun way to organize, plus it helps make sure that your stuff doesn’t mix up with your roommate’s. Color coded highlighters are helpful with notes. For instance, you may want to highlight things in red that you don’t understand and things in blue you’ll need to look over again before the next test.
- Categorize Your Work: Sort your work by classes first and then by subject matter. Have different file hangers for each class and different file folders for kind of assignment. For instance: Journalism: TESTS, Journalism: HANDOUTS, Journalism: STUDY MATERIAL, Journalism: RESEARCH PAPER. Keep everything your professor gives you, especially quizzes and tests. Your professor may make a mistake entering your grades or you may want to calculate where you stand later on. If you use a lot of index cards, get an index card organizer and separaters. Organize notes by test so you know exactly what you will be tested on. Keep your virtual files organized too with a program such as DropBox.
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE: A plain and simple statement. It may be hard habit to break, but trust me you are going to want to get things out of the way. All-nighters are not fun, plus your quality of work isn’t A+ material at one o’clock in the morning. Don’t do all your work for one class and none for another either. Even if you are working, being one month ahead in your favorite class and a month behind in your most hated class is still procrastinating. Complete things according to their do date, not their level of fun. Again, find your favorite programs to keep you on track. I like the Getting Things Done methodology and Omnifocus. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it.
- Write It Down: Having a visual to do list is always helpful. This will remind you of what needs to be done. As soon as you receive an assignment or have a test coming up, write it down. If you have a major test or project coming up, write a reminder at the two-week, week and two-day mark to remind yourself to finish it. Try to keep all of the items in one list. Keep a small notebook in your backpack or purse or purchase an app for your phone to use. Reward yourself when you cross something off the list. This will motivate you to get things done quickly.
- Plan Ahead: Schedule time for assignments. Have a lot to read? Plan to read a certain amount of pages a night. Have a huge paper to write? Write a page a day. Schedule projects into specific steps so you they don’t seem so daunting. If you have a research paper, the first step is probably brainstorm topics or maybe meet with professor about paper or even, go to library to checkout books. Thinking of your projects in steps rather than hugh undertakings will help you begin faster and avoid procrastination.
- Be Prepared: Make sure you have everything needed for the classes you are going to during the day. Bring material for homework in between classes if you know you’ll be waiting for a while. Always carry notecards or a book you could study while at the gym or while eating lunch. Pay attention to your professors’ teaching methods the first few days to see what materials will compliment their teaching styles. If there is a lot of textbook referencing in one of your courses, you may want to actually bring the textbook and take notes on sticky notes inside the book. If a professor relies heavily on powerpoint presentations, you may want a computer so you can take notes quickly or add notes to the powerpoints (if he makes them available). Meet someone in each class and get her phone number so you can text if you have a question about an assignment or need notes for a day when you slept in too late.
- Be the Teacher’s Pet: Work on good relationships with professors and try to make contact with one each semester. Save the professor when no one will answer his question. Come to class on time, alert, in real clothes and with enough coffee in your system to stifle any yawns. Don’t use electronics in the classroom until you know your professor’s policy. If you are having trouble in a course, don’t hesitate to go in for office hours with the professor. It may seem embarrassing, but most professors will be glad to help you.
If you keep organized and stay focused, you should have no problem getting through your courses. Find what works best for you and stick with it!
Do you have any organizational methods you use on a regular basis? What did you think of the tips? Comment and lets us know!