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Ways to Stay Organized: From a Busy College Student

With the school year starting, it is a great time to set goals for yourself to start being more organized during this school year. From going virtual to back in person, it was easy to get out of those habits of staying organized and on top of everything. No matter what you have going on this semester, I have some tips that can help any college student out there. 


One of the most effective, and most obvious, ways to stay organized during the school year is by having a planner. The best way to organize it is by finding a system that works for you. This can be done through color-coding classes, highlighting important assignments/meetings, estimated completion times, etc. I have found that color-coding my planner by courses helps me separate each assignment into categories and overall know how to prepare for each class. There are both virtual and paper options, and many organizing strategies, that can fit every student’s needs.  

Google Calendar

While a planner is a great way to plan out due dates and meetings, the best way to visualize class and other schedules is by using Google Calendar. This helps students with getting a good idea of what their days will look like and can plan accordingly. There are other apps you can use other than Google Calendar, with most having the ability to color-code, set reminders, as well as sync your calendar with others. 

To-do lists

When planning out what you need to do for the day, to-do lists are the best way to make sure you complete everything you need to do for the day. It is also satisfying to cross items off once completed. A great way to minimize the stress of figuring out which assignment to start first is starting with the small tasks during the day and work on the bigger assignments, such as essays, in the evenings after class. This allows you to complete the small busy work in-between classes and have more time to sit down and focus on the big ones in one sitting. Along with this, it can help to set up a daily schedule. Having a focused routine can help you stay organized with assignments throughout the semester. 

Set a personal due date

A tip to stop procrastinating is to set a personal due date that is before the actual due date. This is a tip that helped me a lot in the past two years I have been in college. By setting a due date before the actual due date, it can help you get ahead in classes as well as have time to review if needed. This can even lead to being ahead in classes by several weeks. Tracking assignments through planners and to-do lists can make sure they stay on your radar and setting a due date yourself, will help in getting ahead. If you have a goal of stopping procrastination this year, this tip is essential to complete it. 

Prepare the night before

One of the most simple, yet effective ways to stay organized is to prepare the night before. Getting everything together the night before can help relieve stress in the mornings and to make sure you do not forget anything the morning of classes. During this time, it is also a good time to look at your schedule and to-do list for the next day to make sure you are fully prepared and ready to take on the day. 

No matter if you choose one or all tips to start incorporating in your day-to-day school life, I believe any of these tips can help you be more organized in this upcoming school year. It is key to thriving in classes and is a skill you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

Kate Renz

Virginia Tech '22

Public relations major minoring in cinema. In my free time, I love to spend time with friends and watch movies!
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