Tips for Staying Organized This Semester

Syllabus week: the week where you get to see just how challenging and time consuming each class will be, as well as the expectations placed upon you this semester. It is easy to fall behind and get overwhelmed, especially within the few weeks of the semester. To make sure you keep up with the readings, hand in assignments on time, and have a happy and successful semester, follow these tips to stay organized!:

1.Get a planner… and use it!

Often times, students will pick out the best planner they can find, get so excited about using it, and end up forgetting about it after the second week. Get into the habit of writing EVERYTHING in it-assignments, meetings, work schedule, assigned readings, plans with friends, etc. If you get into the habit of using your planner every day, you will be more likely to use it all the time.



2. Highlight your syllabus

Sometimes, syllabi can be overwhelming to look it. Every professor sets theirs up differently, and it can be hard to find and differentiate actual assignment due dates from quizzes and readings. If you assign a different color to different kinds of assignments (readings, tests/quizzes, assignments to hand in, etc.) then you can quickly glance at your syllabus and see if there is anything coming up without having to stare at an overwhelming syllabus for too long.


3. Schedule homework/study time

Where as you are already following a class schedule, adding a few blocks of time across the week dedicated to studying and homework can help ensure that you get your assignments done. The schedule can be catered to your needs- if you prefer to work for a long period of time, then setting aside a few hours every couple of days to bang out all of your homework will work; if you can’t focus on one thing for very long, giving yourself an hour in the morning and an hour or two in the afternoon every day might be best. Or, maybe you prefer to save it all for Sunday. You should make a homework schedule that caters to your needs and will help you be most successful.


4. Make a morning routine that you enjoy, and do it every day

It can be very hard to feel motivated in the morning, especially when you have early classes. If you create a morning routine that you enjoy, you will be more motivated to get out of bed. Love having a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning? Set the coffee maker up the night before so that all you have to do is turn it on and start it, and there’s your coffee! Do you enjoy getting your body moving in the morning? Wake up an extra half hour early to go for a light jog or a walk, or do some yoga right in your room! Create a morning playlist that you listen to as you get ready to pump you up in the morning. Find what it is that you enjoy doing in the morning and incorporate it into your routine in order to motivate yourself each morning!


5. Plan the night before

Picking out your outfit and packing your backpack can take up an extra 10-15 minutes in the morning. Pick and set your outfit out the night before, and pack your backpack the night before. It will save you time before you leave, and you can also make sure you have everything you need. You don’t want to forget a few things or bring the wrong book with you if you pack your bag when you’re half awake in the morning.


6. Print things out ahead of time, every time

As great as technology is, it can fail as well. There is nothing worse than not being able to print your paper ten minutes before class starts. And chances are, most professors will not consider technology failure as an excuse for late assignments. Print assignments out the day before they are due, or even a few hours before they are due. If something goes wrong, there will be plenty of time to fix it or print in another location. Printing locations on campus include: Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center (located in the Education Center), the Learning Commons (Mantor Library first floor), Mantor Library 3rd floor, and the Technology Commons (open 24/7).


7. Make use of various study locations on campus

UMF is a beautiful campus, with many locations to work on homework and assignments. Some locations, that may be busy and noisy sometimes, include the lobby in the Kalikow Education Center, Beaver Lodge, The Landing, the Technology Center, and the lounge/common room in the dorms. Mantor Library has many options, including private study rooms (in the basement and on the second floor), the mezzanine, the Learning Commons (first floor), Mantor Cafe, and the third floor which is often the quietest. The Learning Commons, private study rooms, and Technology Center have spaces that are designed for group work as well. Explore the campus and try various spots until you find the one that works best for you.



8. Manage your time wisely when it comes to assignments

It is important to learn how to plan out your tasks in order of importance/time consumption. If you have a 10 page paper due on Thursday, do not start it on Tuesday. Start it at least a week in advance, if not sooner. This can give you an opportunity to do multiple drafts, take breaks from your writing, and give it 100% every time you work on it, as opposed to your effort dwindling down during the second half of the assignment. If you have a bigger assignment due on Friday than what is due on Thursday, you should start the big one first. Know what is a priority and what can wait, what needs more time and attention and what can be done within a few minutes. This will really help you stay organized and on top of assignments.


9. Schedule the non-academic tasks/chores that you are responsible for completing

After being in class and working all day, no one wants to do laundry, sweep, dust, vacuum, do dishes, etc. Create a simple, one task a day schedule. Assign yourself laundry on Monday, vacuuming on Tuesday, dusting on Wednesday, sweeping Thursday, and general picking up on Friday. If you give yourself one task a day, it will be easier to get it over with and ensure that your environment is taken care of. Living in a cluttered, messy space can make it hard to keep other areas of your life organized as well.


10. Make time for yourself

Self care is so important when you are a busy college student. Classes, assignments, sports, meetings, work- it can all add up quickly and burn you out. Make sure you take time each day and week to do something for yourself. It can be anything that you enjoy, as long as you are doing it because you want to, not because you have to. You can read, go for a walk, take a nap, hangout with friends and family, paint, go to the gym, shop, watch your favorite movie- it does not matter, as long as you set aside time where you are not working on or thinking about your other responsibilities.


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