Top Ten Tips for staying organised at college
5 min read
Starting out at a new college can be overwhelming at times - you are meeting new people, getting used to the campus, and learning to live on your own - in a new country if you are on a US Sports Scholarship! Balancing your academic, athletic and social calendars can be a challenge but you will reap the benefits of staying on top of your course work, having more time for your friends and your sport and having more energy! You may find that unless you get organised, things may start to build up and you find it tough to keep up. It's not always easy but if you follow our Top Ten Tips for staying organised you will find things much easier and that you will have more time to yourself! 1. Be prepared Make sure you have everything you need for a new semester, and make sure you carry these important tools in your backpack to class every day : Laptop, class schedule (and campus map if necessary!), ring binder folders, paper, pens, stapler, diary and your books or reading material for each class are a must! 2. Schedule early classes Most students will avoid scheduling early classes in favor of long lies after late nights! However, if you feel you can do it and are confident you won't miss them - schedule your classes for the start of the day. This is the time of day most people will be more productive, and you will finish early and have the rest of the day to get stuff done! Also, this is the best time to get up and get organised as you will have no problems getting into the showers or washrooms! 3. Don't take on too much! It's important to get involved in extracurricular activities and to enjoy trying new hobbies and meeting new people. However, make sure you review your schedule carefully before committing to too much. It is very easy to get carried away and then over-stretch yourself so make sure you fit in time for the activities you love doing and make time to try something new next semester! 4. Buy a Calendar It may seem old-skool, but for many - having a visual reminder of upcoming tasks can help with productivity. Buy a calendar and hang it somewhere prominent in your dorm. Make sure you update this regularly - as soon as something new comes up. It may also be useful to use the calendar on your laptop or set reminders in your phone. 5. Use Technology These days, there are many useful Apps and tools for productivity that you should be using to ensure you are getting the best out of your time, and not missing those deadlines! Use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to keep track of all your activities and assignments, and check out some of these great apps : Evernote, Dropbox, Google docs and Teux Deux. 6. Prioritize & Structure It is important that you prioritize your assignments and create a structured study plan to ensure that you don't fall behind. It is even more difficult when you are balancing training and games but remember - in US colleges - if you don't make the grades, you don't play! 7. Record Your Grades Keep on track with your performance in each class by recording each grade you receive from every little test to important paper in a diary. This will give you an indication of how you are performing in each class, and where you need to focus more of your time. 8. Review Your Schedule Take some time out at the weekend, maybe only half an hour on a Sunday, to look over your schedule for the forthcoming week. This will give you time to mentally prepare for everything and give you a clearer picture in your head of where you have to be and when. 9. Work Backwards When you are issued a new assignment or deadline, make sure you record it in your calendar immediately. Take a few minutes to map out your work schedule to ensure your deadline is met. Working backwards from the deadline date is the easiest way - simply work out how much time you will need for your research, your first draft and your final version and set dates for completion for each stage. It might be worthwhile trying to have the final draft completed a day or two before submission, in case anything else comes up or there are any issues with saving documents or rushing to the printers! 10. Take time for you! You are now learning to balance your academic, athletic and social schedules and making the best out of your time. Remind yourself of the bigger picture regularly - that getting great grades and performing well on the playing field will bring some sacrifices now but will benefit you in the long term. Adopting these organisational techniques will help you to achieve to a good time balance and reduce your stress levels. However, it is very important that you check in with yourself regularly - are you feeling well? Are you keeping on top of your general mental and physical health? Make sure you are taking regular breaks in your studies, that you are eating well and drinking plenty of water. Ensure that instead of sitting on social networks during your breaks, that you are getting fresh air and relaxing. Don't fall into the trap of drinking too much, eating junk food and not sleeping enough - you will have no energy! Remember, you can't burn the candle at both ends, so now is the time to decide what you want to get out of your time at University - and that amounts to what you put in! If you think you have what it takes to play your sport to an incredibly high level, whilst simultaneously earning a University degree, register with FirstPoint USA today!