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Not being organized in college can be super stressful. Here are some of my tips that keep me organized through the school year!

1. Figure out your planning style at the beginning of the school year

One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of each school year is to go to the store and pick out a new planner for the semester. I’ve also noticed that if I’m excited about a new cute planner, I’m much more likely to want to write things down in it. If you aren’t into the paper planner I would suggest using an application like Google Calendars. Personally, I use both. I use my planner to track daily assignments usually just for the week, and then keep a master schedule of everything I go to in Google Calendars. I find it’s easier to keep dates that are far in advance in Google Calendars rather than my planner. In case I was to lose my planner, I would still have most of my life in Google Calendars.

2. Write down everything with a due date from the syllabi

At the beginning of every semester, I find it very important to go through each of my syllabi and write down every assignment, test, presentation, and final in my planner. This way I know that I’m never going to miss an assignment and I can see how close my midterms are coming up – they always seem to sneak up on you!

3. Keep your backpack organized

Freshman year I kept everything in my backpack. Pens, highlighters, hand sanitizer, ten different pencils, white-out, scissors, fifteen tampons…you name it, I probably had it in my bag. About halfway through that semester, I realized that I rarely reached for anything in my bag and when I took all of those extra things out, my bag was ten pounds lighter! Only keeping essentials in your bag will keep you more organized, and your back will thank you!

4. Plan at the beginning of each week and day

Every Monday I sit down and plan my week out in my planner. This includes my classes, extracurriculars, and I check my syllabi to make sure I have all of my assignments for the week written down. And for those who really like lists, every morning I look at my planner to see all of the things I need to get done that day, as well as the things I can get done in advance and write them on a sticky note and stick it into my planner. This is also where I include things like laundry and vacuuming my room since they aren’t big enough to go in my planner. Maybe I really just like marking things off, but seeing a completed to-do list is such a great feeling at the end of the day.

5. Do before it’s due

I like to stay ahead of my work by making sure that I get my assignments done at least one day before they’re due. This doesn’t always work out, but I do try my best. In case of an emergency, I know that all of my work is done and I’m not scrambling at the last minute to get an assignment done at 11:50 pm.


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Allie Driscoll

Illinois '21

My name is Allie! I'm a sophomore at the University of Illinois majoring in Marketing and Information Systems!
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