6 Spring Semester Organization Tips

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This so applies to college. The best way to stay organized is to plan ahead (and even plan as you go). Here are some of my tips and tricks for tackling a busy semester!

1. Purchase a great planner and actually use it!

I am definitely guilty of buying a cute planner and using for it for a month or two only to abandon it in a desk draw for the rest of the semester. That's why your planner should go beyond cute and be functional. Everybody needs something different, whether it's tons of space to jot down daily assignments or an hourly schedule to keep all of your events in order.

Personally, I need a little bit of both, so I've stuck with the Day Designer Daily Planner. This baby has month-at-a-glance calendars as well as a page for each day with an hourly schedule, to-do list, and space for notes. It really helps me keep my life in order and I couldn't imagine using anything else. Long story short, find what works for you and stick to it!

2. Create a master syllabus with all your major assignments.

I found this super helpful last semester. When you're taking  3-5 classes and managing extracurriculars, it can be easy to overlook an assignment or accidentally miss a reading. Creating a master syllabus brings all of your assignments onto one page, making it easy to see what's on the agenda for any given day or week.

I found using the Google Sheets calendar template the best method for creating a master syllabus. You can copy and paste what's written on the pdf versions your professors send out right into a day on the calendar. Extra tip: color coding is always a good idea to help keep each class straight!

3. Make sure your backpack (or whatever you use to carry your books) is neat and tidy.

This one seems like it should go without saying, yet I see SO many students rifling through a cluttered backpack on a daily basis. It's not like trying to keep your dorm room clean… It's really quite easy. Take a minute out of each day to put everything in its place, throw out any trash or unneeded papers, and zip those pockets! Nothing frustrates me more than following someone with a fully unzipped backpack to class. (That might just be a personal pet peeve, but I figured I’d throw it in there!)

4. Keep a personal notebook with you to jot down ideas and reminders.

Planners are nice for time/date-specific assignments, but keeping a notebook is important for more long-term ideas or goals. You never know when a brilliant event idea for a club you're on the e-board for, or the perfect topic for your senior research paper, will pop into your head. Instead of losing that idea in the corner of a planner page, write it down in a personal notebook. Trust me, you'll have a much easier time finding it later.

5. Have a catch-all folder that you can weed through at the end of each week &/or month.

This also helps keep your backpack clean. It’s common for all those random papers that don't belong in any particular class binder or folder to wind up crushed at the bottom of your bag. Placing them in a folder keeps them out of the way and makes them easily accessible in the future. At the end of the week and/or month, go through the folder and recycle whatever you no longer need. Simple as that!

6. Set reminders for important meetings and classes on your phone.

This tip is super basic, but nonetheless important. Most of us are glued to our phones. Setting calendar reminders or creating to-do lists in the notes app is a surefire way to help you stay on task and not miss any of your most important meetings and classes. You can even go really crazy and set two reminders before big test days - one to make you study and one to remind you to kick butt!

I hope these tips and tricks help set you on the right track to conquer this semester!