The beginning of the semester is the most important time of the next few months. You may think that the most important time is finals, but nope – it’s the beginning. Before the classes starts, even! That’s because the beginning is your window of opportunity to get organized for the entire semester!
Photo credit: Mike Rohde
1. A planner. This is your lifeline to staying on top of coursework, campus organizations, birthdays, deadlines, and anything else you need to keep track of.
Go out and buy a daily or weekly calendar that can fit in your backpack or bag. During Back-To-School sales, they are less than $5 for a student calendar (the only difference between a regular planner and a student planner is that student planners are August-July instead of January-December and also usually have cheatsheets in the back for maths and sciences).
As soon as you are registered for your classes, go through your calendar and pencil in the classes every day. Don’t just write them in the first week – you don’t want to have to remember when your classes begin and end when planning with someone.
As soon as your get your syllabi (usually available a week before classes start), go through it and mark down every test, exam, homework due, field trips, days off, presentation, final exams – anything that has a date in the syllabi. Don’t be the doofus that doesn’t know when anything is due – write in your planner.
Expanding File Folders
2. Expanding Folders. These things have saved me many times!
Average folders cost $5-10 each, but you can often find them pretty cheap at Back-To-School sales, yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. If you get one with a ton of pockets, you may only need one. I got one folder for each course.
When you get your folder, place a spiral-bound notebook in it (for taking notes in class). When you get your syllabi, or if you print it out yourself, place this in a pocket as well. Your other pockets are for assignments to do, finished assignments to turn in, and graded assignments you’ve gotten back.
When it’s time to go to class, all you have to do is grab your textbook and your expanding folder, and you’ve got everything you need! (Just make sure that you put your finished homework into the folder after printing it!)
3. Highlighters. These are an absolute must for any college student. Get several colors (about $1-2 each for good highlighters that don’t fade).
Get a rainbow of highlighters for ultimate organization!
For books: highlight the things you notice in one color, and passages the teacher mentions in another color. This way, your papers and assignments can be top-notch!
For your planner: Highlight each type of event in one color (ie, tests are orange, club meets are blue, etc) or highlight each catagory in a different color (ie, language arts class and tutoring are purple, drama club and performances are green, etc).
Be sure to get highlighters that don’t fade. I got a cheap yellow highlighter my first semester, and when finals rolled around I discovered that the first month of readings had no markings! The highlighting had faded completely. While this was great for selling the book back, it was very difficult to study for my exam.
When you get a system of organization — stick to it! Try it out for at least a semester. If it doesn’t work for you, try something else. But don’t eschew organization completely!
Filed under: Classes & Homework | Tagged: class, college, course, expanding files, folders, highlighters, homework, organization, organize, planner, prepare, semester, straight A's, student, university | 1 Comment »