Back To School Week: Organizing the Chaos
So it’s the first week of school, so it’s the time when everything is crisp and fresh and the smell of fresh new notebook paper is like ecstasy. Or is that just me? Either way, I feel like most of us get pretty excited about starting anew with each start to a new semester/year. Each year I start with brand new planners, clean notebooks, and a set way to stay organized, or at least to attempt to. We all know that as the semester gets going, it becomes harder and harder to stay organized throughout, so what usually helps me is keeping a routine. A lot of times this routine is not going to follow through during the year…which is totally okay. If you can keep at least some of the organization together, it will help you in more ways than one! You’ll see in this list below that all my org strategies are not the cleanest or neatest, but thats fine!
I take a lot of inspo from study blogs and sometimes they’re a little overwhelming, because i can’t always be as perfect. As a junior in college, I’m still learning the best strategies to navigate through the chaos that is college. So just just remember, you don’t have to be perfect with your organization, you just need to keep yourself sane.
1. Get a planner that best fits YOU:
I’ve gone through many planners in my life, and I’m still in search of the perfect one. The one i’m using this year is the Weekly/Monthly Planner by Day Designer. I saw it at target and it had me sold. A lot of people have suggested that I try notebook size planners like this because they have huge calendars where you can organize yourself. I like it so far, but I still enjoy smaller planners that are easier to carry around. Try out a couple! Find the one that fits your lifestyle and busy schedule best.
Side Note: if you can’t find the perfect planner, I highly suggest trying to make your own!Bullet journalingis a perfect model for this I’m trying it out with some notebooks and I’m really loving putting my own spin on it.
2.) Become a Kickass Annotater
So I’m sure some of you have heard of the term “Annotating” in your high school english classes or college english 101. I’m sure some of you thought it was a silly skill to learn and didn’t understand why teachers devoted a whole class to it. I’m here to tell you, that for me who is a person who THRIVES on reading/writing skill when studying, this is my savior. However, I’d say if your’e more of a kinesthetic/audio learner, you’re still going to have to read long ass articles for class, and you’re not going to love it.
is the thing that will help you conquer those texts, I promise. As much as I love reading, complicated academic journals freak me out, because I’m afraid I’m g. So what I’ve gotten in a habit of doing is marking different parts of the article, underlining and highlighting. But here’s the trick; you can’t just high light and underline blindly. I used to think that just by highlighting a text with a pretty color will help me remember things, it doesn’t. However, at the same time I don’t have nearly enough time to take extensive reading notes on everything. So here’s the healthy balance: if you can, make tiny notes in the margins. And put the notes into
your own words
. Sometimes I even draw funny pictures and diagrams to help–try and have fun with it! Or if anything, put a little star by sometime and remind yourself to look it up in your notes or text later. Annotating really makes those scary text seem more doable, just make sure you aren’t blindly doing it!
4.) Color Coding!
This kind of ties in with annotating, but you can use it for any kind of note taking. When it comes to my own note-taking, it often turns into a jumbled mess, believe it or not. My handwriting always gets a little chaotic, because I always want to make sure I’m taking note of everything in class. Color coding is a easy, simple way to organize your own notes and make sure you’re keeping your thoughts organized. This I also think is a good tip to the more artistic types, let your creativity flow, even when doing school work!
5.) All-in-one study sheets:
I heard of this studying strategy only last year, so I tried it out, and I had amazing results. A lot of times when there’s so much material you don’t even know where to begin, this is a pretty good way to make sure you’re covering all your bases.
6.) Utilize Technology:
There’s no way I can end this post without mentioning all the AWESOME apps, programs and online widgets that can help you be a successful, organized superstar. Here’s some of my favorites that are an absolute must for the new school year:
—Google Calendar: A lot of people don’t like the app version of this, but nevertheless, yall should DEFINITELY utilize it on your desktop. If it requires you getting a gmail, do it. Since using this last year, it has literally saved my college career. Start the first school week right by inputting your class & work schedule, important meetings, deadlines, to do’s, professor’s office hours, etc etc. And your magical iPhone will send you reminders so that you can be relaxed and assured that you will be aware of everything you have to do.
—WunderList: This app is more specific to lists and to do’s and if you’re someone like me that likes to have lists seperate, this is a perfect app for you! You can make a list for anything you have to do, and it sends you a cute reminder whenever you need it!
—Quizlet: This website has been around for a while and I’ve been using it since sophomore year of high school. Use it. For me this is so much more organized and less stressful than physical notecards. And my favorite part is that you can get an app for a phone and literally have a flashcard review session on there! It’s so convenient, and using flashcards is a great way to lock down those tough, boring terms for an exam.
Organized space = organized you
A cleaner work space almost alway results in a happier and more organized you. Mine may look great in the picture below, but after a few days of hustling, it gets turned upside down immediately. I personally, just like many of you, don’t have the time to clean it every day. However here is what I suggest: be good to your desk. Try and fit in 1 or 2 desk cleanses a week, where you reorganize yourself, throw out old papers and are ready for the next week to start fresh. Who knows, this may even put you in a better habit of keeping it neater all the time! I just know that at least for myself, I get extremely overwhelmed when my space is a mess. This is your space, give it some love!