A Good System Shortens the Road to the Goal

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It takes a lot to be a full-time college student. With various assignments, quizzes, papers, group projects, and social activities, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. However, there is always a way to lighten the load. “A good system shortens the road to the goal” is the perfect saying for a student in desperate need of time management tips. Academic or social related activities may not seem like such a “to-do” if you find a healthy way to manage your time– but what’s the best way to manage your time? Organization! Here are some of my favorite student organization tips:

  • Start with a planner
  • A planner, a.k.a. agenda, is a great first step in compiling and sorting information. You can find a planner (customized per Farmingdale State College) in FSC’s campus bookstore! An agenda is a great tool to keep in your purse or backpack, easily accessible for an unexpected ambush of information. With a planner, you can keep track of assignments, work schedule, study plans, social events, and club meetings up to the day and time. It’s easy to rely on your phone “Notes” app to randomly jot down vital information– but it’s definitely not a reliable method. Countless research studies have proven you are more likely to remember information if it is written down, so take the first step and purchase a planner!
  • Hold onto your syllabi
  • If you’re new to college life, you may not be familiar with the term syllabus. A syllabus is an outline and summary of your enrolled courses, typically distributed during the first week of classes. This piece of paper isn’t a wrapper you just shove to the bottom of your bag, never to be seen again; these are important! Your syllabus will tell you when assignments are due, dates of quizzes/exams, homework, and vital contact information such as your professor’s email and office hours. A personal tip of mine is at the beginning of the semester take your syllabi and your agenda and sit down and put all dates and assignments in your planner. This compiles information so you don’t have to constantly check each individual syllabus every week. Organize the dates and then keep the syllabi in a safe place as a reference for critical information.
  • Keep your backpack organized
  • Everyone has their own system of hauling their belongings. Some prefer a backpack, or a purse, messenger bag, drawstring bag– whatever it may be, be sure to keep it clean. This is a simple place to practice organization. Make sure you are equipped with all and any materials you may need for a school day. This includes pens, pencils, calculators, required books and materials, notebooks, folders, laptops, chargers, water, and snacks. Organize your materials into compartments to your liking, but remember, everything has a place. Make it a habit to re-organize your bag every week or so to ensure there are no loose papers that you may need for assignments.
  • Color code
  • Many view color coding academic materials as a childish practice, but countless professionals do it all the time. It is a very easy and minimal-effort way to stay on top of your materials. If you find yourself forgetting your binder in the dorm or bringing the wrong notebook to class, consider color coding. Perhaps use the same color binder, folder, and/or notebook for every class. Not only will this save you time when packing up your bag, but it will also ensure you have the correct materials for class. If you don’t want to purchase sets of colored materials, consider coloring the sides of your materials with colored marker. On the surrounding edges of a notebook you can shade the exposed notebook paper a certain color, making it easier and even cheaper to color code your materials.
  • Invest in a whiteboard or corkboard
  • Not only does a whiteboard and a corkboard make great dorm decorations, but they are also great for writing quick reminders when running out the door. Consider hanging it near your bed or your door so before you go to bed or run to class you will remember to “print essay” or “return textbooks!”

School can be stressful but there are always ways to ease your mind. Try some of these organizational tips to stay on top of assignments and social events. Make organization a habit! Once you find a routine of planning and sketching out your agenda, you will immediately feel the relief and satisfaction of having all your affairs in order. After all, having a clean, orderly space allows you to think and act with purpose.

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