Of course, like anything in life, it's not possible to provide a definitive guide on a subject like this. Ultimately you will find the best system that works for you.
How do you stay on top of things in college?
Your time at college will be pretty full-on, let's face it. Later we have included 15 handy tips, but they are only possible if you stay motivated.
Make sure you look after yourself. Eat healthily, get exercise, and make sure you get enough sleep. If not, with all the will in the world, you will not be able to function at peak performance.
Apart from the tips we've included below, you should also consider learning some useful skills like speed reading and how to research effectively. Also, make good use of past papers to help focus your studies.
Also, don't be afraid to ask for help when you really need it. Don't be a martyr.
How do students stay organized?
Students get organized in a variety of ways, but only you know your mind. Make sure you develop your own methods to stay organized but be open to suggestions from others.
After all, as the now-famous poem goes:
"Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth." - Mary Schmich (Sunscreen)
How can I organize myself for college?
Here are 15 handy tips to help you get organized at college. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list.
1. Get motivated
Before you want to do anything in life, you must get motivated. Without doing this, as soon as you hit an obstacle or problem, you will be tempted to give up.
One excellent way is to make a list and put it somewhere prominent so you can't help but see it. When you complete something on it, cross it off - this will keep you motivated, and show progress.
2. "Failing to plan is planning to fail"
This is sort of linked to the first point above, but without a plan, you are doomed to failure. Use a notebook, an app, or another solution to plan everything that is important.
From lesson timetables to coursework submission deadlines, a plan will help you stay organized and on track. Make sure you also bribe yourself with time off or rewards for successfully completing something - this will help keep up the momentum.
You can have one grand plan for the whole year, but try to do the 'real' planning weekly. This will help you manage a work-life balance - it will also provide some flexibility for unforeseen family events, etc.
3. "Every journey begins with the first step"
Again linked to points 1 and 2 above, planning your college life can seem a daunting task at first. But nothing is ever that insurmountable.
Break it down into little manageable chunks with reasonable and realistic timescales. This will help you stay on track and not get disheartened.
4. Create more storage space
Apart from getting your affairs in order, you may find you run out of storage pretty quickly. There are several ways around this from limiting the stuff you have to usually what space you have more efficiently.
You can try strategies like maximizing the use of space under your bed, using vacuum packing for clothes and/or trying vertical "stacking" of clothes in draws.
Other solutions exist like using the cascading hanger strategy to pack as many clothes as possible into a small cupboard. To do this, you can make use of discarded soda-pop can tab to provide something for each successive hanger to hang off.
5. Make good use of walls for extra storage
To prevent your work desk from getting too cluttered, you might want to consider hanging stuff off the wall. This might include stationary or notebooks, etc., but you use a variety of shelving or DIY storage solutions to achieve this.
This will also help you stay organized, and save valuable time, by having your most-used items within easy reach. Just make sure you put them back once finished using them.
You should also think about adding shelves above your bed to help add some extra valuable storage space for stuff.
6. This hack will help you stop dropping stuff under the bed
If you have your bed pushed up against a wall, you may find that, from to time, stuff magically drops down between the gap. A simple hack to prevent this is to make good use of a pool noodle.
Wedge this between your bed frame and wall to provide a cheap, easy, and effective anti-remote-under-bed-dropping device.
This will save you valuable time - especially if you made use of an under-bed storage maximization system. You are most welcome.
7. Hang important documents off a wall
Further to some of the other storage/organizational hacks above, you might want to consider pinning or hanging relevant documents off a wall. Solutions include using pins and a corkboard or sticking metal clips to the wall keep those essential documents within easy reach.
8. Wake up and get up!
As tempting as it is to hit the snooze button, the best way to get organized and stay organized is to maximize your time every day. You can plan all you want, but if you don't get out of bed, nothing will be done!
When your alarm goes off, just get out of bed and have a shower. By getting into a habit of this at the same time every day, it will pay dividends at college, and your life in general.
9. Also, make your bed...
Further to 8 above, get into the habit of making your bed. This will keep your room tidy and inspire you to keep killing other tasks. It seems a minor thing, but making your bed will actually give you a small boost in self-esteem.
10. Keep things in order
Another great tip is to have a clean-desk or floor policy. Like other hacks above this will keep your room tidy and make your desk more appealing to sit down at.
Again, it has other hidden benefits to help boost your self-esteem.
11. Take notes and ask questions
Unless you already have a killer note-taking system, take the time to develop one that works for you. It doesn't matter how you do this, but you will be amazed at how this helps you retain vital information.
You might also want to consider learning how to use mind maps to really focus your thoughts. Also, make sure you ask questions if you don't quite get something.
12. Separate workspaces from fun spaces
This one is crucial. Define spaces that are specifically to be used for working and which ones are work-free zones.
Your bed, for example, should only be used for sleeping, being sick, and, ahem, "fun." If at all possible, it is better to not work at home if at all possible - reserve this for the library.
13. Work-life balance 8/8/8 balance
Try to keep time for yourself - and sleep! Work is important, but you do need time for yourself. Try to sleep for 8 hours, work for 8, and have the other 8 for yourself.
14. Color code or label things like binders and cords
You'll be amazed how quickly things like cords and binders can get mixed up. Try to make use of labels or other systems to identify what is what.
This will save you a ton of time in the long run.
The effects of sleep deprivation are very well studied. If you want to be your best, you need to rest.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP!