I remember the mix of excitement and fear I felt as I left for my freshman year! These simple college organization tips I learned over that next year have carried me all the way through to my final year…
For first-years and upperclassmen alike, a brand new school year can sometimes come with a brand new set of challenges. The fail-safe study habits you relied on in high school might leave you totally unequipped for college classes (last-minute cramming for AP Bio is NOT the same as cramming for organic chemistry!). You might be away from home for the first time, find yourself in unfamiliar social settings, and adult chores pile on faster than you realize
When I look back on my first year of college, I remember the ups and downs of adjusting to life as a successful college student. It was tricky, and mistakes were made, but I came out of it a more confident and capable student who learned to rely on herself
I survived and eventually excelled in my college career by relying on one simple thing: organization. Not just in my academics, but in all aspects of my life. While good organizational habits don’t form overnight, working to develop them early on will continue to reward as you complete your academic journey. Here are some tips to get you started:
Get to know your schedule
Get to know your course syllabi. If you’re a freshman, get to know your campus
One of my most memorable freshman memories didn’t even take place my first year, but just a few days before it started. My roommates and I left for the bookstore from our dorm but got totally lost instead! We eventually made it to the store but found tons of new spots all around campus as well. We stumbled across lecture halls and libraries, department buildings and coffee kiosks. By the time the first day of class rolled around, my roommates and I were pros at navigating our once intimidating campus with ease.
Having a good sense of direction on campus can help you get from one class to another in a cinch. Not only will you get to class on time, but you’ll feel confident knowing your campus like the back of your hand
Once you know where to go, make sure you know when to get there. Having a printout of your semester (or quarter) schedule is invaluable during your first few weeks of class. Nothing is more annoying than missing a pop quiz because you didn’t realize you had class (been there, it’s not fun). Speaking of quizzes, your class syllabus is your best friend. From important exam dates to grade breakdowns, the syllabus is your compass for navigating your class. Be sure to read it thoroughly and keep a planner of all important assignment/exam dates
Create Good Habits
We’re creatures of habit. Try to stick to a reliable daily routine!
As a college freshman, you might have more freedom than you did in high school. But that doesn’t give you a free pass to do things whenever you want. Keeping a daily routine is a great way to integrate good habits into your daily routine.
Even if your classes start at different times throughout the week, waking up and eating breakfast at the same time every day can help you jumpstart your day quicker. Setting aside time every day to study will get your brain in the right headspace to stay focused longer. As tempting as it may be to stay up late, going to bed at a reasonable time is key to getting restful sleep. If you keep up with a daily routine over time, you’ll find yourself getting through that tough college schedule with no problem!
Related Post: Best Study Tips For College Students
Keep A Planner
Photo credit: Courtney Bujo on Instagram
Planners are a great way to declutter your mind so you don’t have to remember important dates by memory. Exams and projects have high stakes, especially in college. Avoid any worst-case situations by noting down due dates so you have time to prepare well in advance. College is the time to transition into adulthood, so using a planner to stay organized academically and professionally is the way to go!
Stay on top of your finances
College is expensive! Even as a college freshman, having a strong financial sense will help you get through tough situations as you navigate adult life. Make sure you’re aware of financial aid disbursements. I love ramen as much as the next college student, but it’s a different story when that’s all you can afford to eat for a week. Budget correctly so you aren’t left eating ramen three meals a day!
College is also the time to branch out and gain real-world experience. On-campus jobs are a great way to make some extra money part-time while being close to all your classes (as long as you can balance it with schoolwork!)
Mental health is just as important as physical health!
With all the change and stress that college can bring, it’s important to stay aware of your mental health. Grades are important but your well-being should always be your number one priority! Practicing self-care is paramount to your long-term mental state and your success as a student. If you are not in a good place, it will be reflected in your class performance…
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to managing tour mental health. If you feel like you need help from a professional, seek out professional help immediately. A great place to start is talking to your student healthcare center to find out what options are available to you. Talking to your professors to let them know your situation will help you to stay on track academically. Having a good support network is also important– your friends and family care about your well-being and want you to succeed! In short, communication is key
To Sum It up
Going to college can be an immensely rewarding experience for many. But like all big life changes, it takes time to fully adjust and unlock your potential as a successful college student. Especially as a college freshman, having good organizational habits will carry you well into adulthood and make your college experience even more enjoyable. Good luck!