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I’m going to be honest, I am not the most organized person in the world. I have my own way of keeping things organized, and usually it just involves me relying on my memory. My most frequent thought in my first half of undergrad was- “Oh yeah, I’ll definitely remember that, I totally don’t have to write it down!”

I was very wrong.

I never forgot anything extremely important (thank goodness), but there was no need for me to put myself through the potential of forgetting in the first place. I kept a planner but usually around one month in, I just gave up looking at it- even though I had written everything in it at the beginning of the year.

I got better during my junior year when I was a special events coordinator at Carolina Productions, an organization that puts on events for students. I was usually always planning, executing, or evaluating two or more events every week, so I had to get my ass organized someway. I literally ended up just using a loose leaf sheet of notebook paper that I kept in my laptop case and wrote everything on, and I mean everything. Turn in library books, text mom back, take a shower. Literally everything went on that paper down to the most mundane thing.

But that’s dangerous, isn’t it? I always felt like I was going to lose that one piece of paper at some point. Going into my first year of grad school, I discovered something revolutionary. The sticky note, in all its glory.

I don’t know why I didn’t bother with them before because post-it notes are my life now. I have so many of them stuck up on my wall, right in front of my desk where I can see them. I write the date at the top and whatever the topic is (schedules, important dates, even my textbook list) and stick it up there. I make sure to make them different colors too so it won’t get too monotonous looking.

They’re such an easy trick to turn your “organization life” around. I even stick them onto my planner or onto reading packets, just so I know when I have to read them by. They’re the perfect size to just jot things down without having to commit to a whole piece of paper or a whole section of your planner.

Sticky notes are especially good now when so many events take place on Zoom. You can take notes during an online meeting and stick them on the wall right as you’re done to remind yourself of important dates or priorities. So many times I went to office hours online and I kept the sticky note of my professor’s advice up all year because it could go right by my computer. I could look at it whenever I was distracted with work and it would remind me of what I have to get done.

Sticky notes take stressful stuff and make it seem easy and colorful.

And when you don’t need them anymore, you can just throw them away and make space for more-it’s as easy as that! It can be therapeutic crossing things off a to-do list, but even more so when you can just throw the whole list away. And instead of searching for your planner or running out of space in it, having your lists right next to you on the wall alleviates some stress.

And honestly, I think we could all use a little bit less stress in our lives.

Emma Smith

South Carolina '22

I lived China for five months and that is pretty much the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. UofSC Grad Student in MMC Program
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