By Sarah Tanner
The beginning of each new school year is a busy time for everyone. The whirlwind of moving into the dorms, figuring out new schedules, and adjusting to new routines can be quite stressful at times, and it is often easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with so many changes after a relaxing summer. However, having more responsibilities does not necessarily equate with more stress! Ease into fall quarter with these quick tips for organization, and start the year with your best foot forward.
- Invest in a daily planner. Nothing is worse than falling behind in assignments early in the quarter. Every Sunday, plan your upcoming week by writing out each day’s assignments. With your week planned, you can avoid being surprised by last-minute tasks, making it easier to schedule in free time for other activities. Take your planning one step further by color-coding each class, so assignments are easily distinguishable.
- Clean up your workspace. A cluttered desk often creates a cluttered mind. Take some time every once in a while to clear up the week’s messiness. Throw out unneeded papers, line up your textbooks and notebooks, and round up your stray pens and pencils. Creativity always flows best in an open space, and a freshened-up work area can do wonders for your studying mentality.
- Highlight, highlight, highlight. As you study, keep a highlighter on-hand and mark what you find important as you read. The bright visual cue combined with the physical act of highlighting the text will help information stick long after the exam. Highlighting also makes studying later easier, as all the significant portions of the text will stand out right away.
- Stick to a routine sleep schedule. Nothing is more important to staying organized than getting a good night’s sleep! College students are notoriously bad at going to bed, much less going to bed at the same time every night. If possible, try to sleep at least eight to nine hours each night. Not only does it improve focus, but it also helps with memory and information retention, as well as simply revving your energy for the day.
- Make time for fun. No one can maintain a study-only lifestyle. One of the most important aspects of staying organized is to build in time for the things you genuinely enjoy. It is much easier to complete a task if it means you can do something you love afterward. Whether it’s working out, grabbing a coffee with friends, or driving into San Francisco for the afternoon, give yourself something to look forward to!
- Ask for help. Everyone needs a hand sometimes. Learning to recognize when you need a little help and being willing to ask for it is one of the best ways to keep on top of the demands of busy schedules. Friends, professors, and family are always willing to lend a hand, and reaching out to them when you are feeling pressured can help prevent a downward spiral before it even begins.
Start the new year with confidence that staying organized is easy to do. Keeping these tips in mind will not only help you transition from summer to school, but they will keep you working smarter, not harder, all quarter long.