With the Fall semester well underway, freshmen are facing the stress that comes with harder college classes, bigger workloads, and exams (commencing midterm studying!). The idea may seem daunting to some, because they don’t know how they will acclimate to a new system, but here are four tips to give you some structure as the semester intensifies.
The one thing that you will learn, if you haven’t already, is that organizing yourself is key.
Tip #1 - Get a Calendar
You can find them in any office supply store for around $12 dollars. Or make one, if you’re feeling creative. A BIG one. Hang it up in your room, or wherever you do the most work. I have mine directly on my desk, so I can never get away from my work. In each class, you will get a syllabus on the first day. This syllabus tells you when all of the essays, projects, and homework assignments are due—for the whole semester. Writing down when all major projects are due on this calendar can save you from being the student who is frozen in bewilderment when the professor asks the class to hand in their final papers. Seeing all of your assignments in one, organized place will make life much easier. Trust me. As some of you may learn, as I certainly have, scrambling to study for your midterms a week before you have to take them is not too effective.
Seeing all of your assignments in one, organized place will make life much easier. Trust me.
Tip #2 - Buy Used Books
I can NOT stress this enough! Do not buy the $200 edition of your intermediate French book, when last year’s edition can be found on Amazon for $30. Usually, not many changes will be made from one edition to the next, and your professor will let you know if it is okay. Of course, you may occasionally have to bite the bullet and spend the extra money, but it is smart to try and save as much as possible. I recently bought a book for less than $5 for an essay I have coming up, and there are few feelings more rewarding than knowing you got a good deal.
Tip #3 - Start a Routine
Having some kind of routine will ultimately help you get more work done, so try your best to get one going.
This may take some time to create, if you have never made a formal routine before, but it will allow you to use your time wisely. Once you have a solid grasp of your schedule, you will learn smart shortcuts to save time in the long-run. Perhaps you can take the hour break in between your Monday classes to do some homework. For all of the days I have classes, I have about an hour break in between each one, which I take advantage of by eating lunch, doing work, or preparing myself for the rest of the day. Having some kind of routine will ultimately help you get more work done, so try your best to get one going. And with midterms looming, it makes it the perfect time to start a study schedule.
Tip #4 - Set Goals….Wisely
You should be coming into college with lofty expectations for yourself. However, it is important to remember that you have never done this before. So do not sign up for every club on campus, work 2 jobs, and expect to have a 4.0 GPA because you think it will look good on your resume. Feeling in over your head a month into college isn’t how you want to start your college career, so set realistic goals for yourself. Once you get into the hang of things, you will have a better idea of what you can and can’t handle.
It is important to remember that you have never done this before. So do not sign up for every club on campus, work 2 jobs, and expect to have a 4.0 GPA
Staying organized is paramount when entering college, because the workload and pressure will dramatically increase. Following any of these tips will most likely help your college success, especially in the beginning. But in the long run, this is YOUR learning time. Soon enough, you will find out the quirks and shortcuts that work for you as an individual. What’s important is that you find the tools that will not only help you throughout your college career, but through your life as a whole. Learning how to stay organized in my work life has helped tremendously in keeping my personal and social life intact. Reminding myself of the work I must do before I have fun has let me live, quite comfortably, in both worlds. But while you wait to get your college life started, get that calendar or agenda to keep your work in order!
How do you keep it together in college? If you have any useful organization tips, let us know in the comments!