Whether you are a new first-year student or experiencing an extreme case of senioritis, this list of tips will be sure to help you to stay organized this semester.
- Google Sheets
I’m sure that many people have seen the TikTok trend about using Excel or Google Sheets as an assignment log, but I am obsessed with this tool for organization. In my file, I created columns for the date, the class, assignment name, and final grade. I organized the file by month and have a key for highlighting assignments by my progress. You can also choose different colors to show which assignments are finished, which ones you are working on, and which ones you need to start next. One of the nice things about this tool is that all of your assignments are all in one place. I always keep the file open and whenever I am studying or in between classes I can quickly check to see what I have to complete next. Also, since all of your assignments are listed in one place, you can tell when you may have a week with a heavier workload, making it easy to plan ahead.
- Weekly agenda
In addition to the assignment log that I created on Google Sheets, I also use a weekly agenda. Every weekend I pull up my assignment log and my work schedule to plan for the week ahead. This school year I decided to use the Erin Condren Academic Planner, which has three columns for each day which include a small column on the left, a large column in the middle, and a to-do column on the right. In the “to-do” column, I always plan out when I will work on each assignment throughout the week, and in the middle I use different colored post-its to list the assignments due on that day.
Most importantly, when using an agenda or assignment log, you should find a method that works best for you. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want. I really enjoy using stickers to decorate the pages of my agenda, so feel free to add whatever makes you more motivated to check out your agenda each day!
- Concept logs
Concept logs are something new that I hope to try this semester. I am taking more credits this semester than I ever have, and my main goal is to do my best to stay on task and to do well in every one of my classes. In my Google Sheets document with my assignment log, I added additional pages for each of my classes in order to make concept logs.
You can organize these in a way that makes the most sense for you but I hope to include things like links to my notes, Quizlets, and textbook pages for each unit. You can also color code topics by how comfortable you feel with them, so you know what you still have to continue to study.
- Study guides
Creating study guides can look different for everyone. However, whether you handwrite them and create elaborate diagrams or just create a Word document with all of the key points and notes, they will no doubt be helpful in your studying. In classes where you have cumulative exams throughout the semester, these would also be helpful in going back to review units from earlier on in the semester.
- Organized desktop – digitally and in your dorm
Although not everyone may feel like this is necessary for studying well, I can’t begin to study without having my desk clear and my computer organized. In the case of my computer, I organize it on a regular basis so that I don’t have too many files open, and I try to clear my desk every week.
- Study schedule
Just as I mentioned earlier, in my agenda I create a to-do list for each day with a list of the assignments and tasks that I need to complete. This can include studying time too! I usually try to review the notes from each class every week, to make sure that there aren’t any points that I am not clear on going into the next week. A few weeks before exams, I start budgeting more time for studying, and with the busy lives of so many people today, it can help to physically write out a plan for the day with time for studying, homework, meal prep, exercise, and anything else you need.
- Self care
Lastly, and most importantly, is self care. You can’t have a successful and organized semester without taking care of yourself. It can be so easy to justify going and going without a break or taking a breath, but you can’t risk burning out. Take time to do something that you enjoy. It could be as simple as making yourself some coffee or your favorite meal, or it could be a whole day of self care where you do all of your favorite things.
With the world beginning to return to a faster pace of life, so many of us can feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done during the day. From classes to jobs, extracurriculars, and homework, it can be hard to find time for the college experiences outside of the classroom like football games (go Bulls!), hanging out with friends and meeting new people, and visiting new places around Buffalo. Hopefully, this list will help you to find more time for the little things that you enjoy!
I hope that this list introduced some new ideas or reinforced some old ones, and I hope that you found something that will work for you this semester! If you have any other ideas about how to stay organized in the semester ahead, feel free to contact us.