As you are getting settled into your classes this fall, you are probably quickly having the dire need to organize, organize, organize! With hectic schedules outside of school (i. e., work, family, social obligations), you can easily become overwhelmed by academic demands without consciously paying attention to your organizational habits. Below are some tips that may help you organize your academic life and keep your goals in check.
• Set attainable goals. You may want to achieve a 4.0 GPA and take an exercise class, but be reasonable about what you can accomplish. You’d be surprised at how setting your standards to more attainable ones can produce a better outcome in the end. Breaking your goals into component parts is also a useful strategy to prevent setting too high expectations of yourself too soon – when you are just getting oriented to the trials and tribulations of a new semester!
• Record your goals on paper regularly. The more you write your goals down, the more you will reinforce in your mind what you want to achieve. Writing and speaking your goals can keep you on track by reminding you of what successes you are striving for.
• Use a calendar or day planner. Spend one day a week recording and reviewing what assignments you will work on each day and how much time to spend on each depending on if they are long or short term. A good tip is to note the due dates for major projects and term papers and count backwards regarding the number of dates you have to work on them from beginning to end. Keep this on your schedule and check in with your planner on a daily basis.
• Keep your work space well organized by labeling notebooks for your courses along with syllabi and hand-outs for those classes. Separate these files from those that require personal attention and/or bills.
• Take on your classes as though they represent a larger mission of learning as much as possible and be prepared to use college resources such as tutoring support or direct communication with your professor. Seek support from a Success Coach should you need additional study skills support and resources.
• Periodically, take a look at how you are managing your study time. For example, determine when and where you study best; if you are a morning person and if you do better studying at home or need to work in an environment that provides more focus such as a library. Experiment with noting when your energy level is at its best and adjusting your study time and environment to match that energy accordingly.
• Develop a study routine that incorporates studying a certain amount of subjects per night (for example, limit yourself to two to prevent getting too much information jumbled in your brain!). Do your assigned readings as they are assigned rather than procrastinating. The more you study the same material at various bursts of time, the more able you will be to recall the information.
• Work efficiently to save time and carve out some opportunities for meaningful activities that optimize life balance such as going to an exercise or cooking class or taking a nature walk with a friend.
• Maintain proper health habits through good nutrition, exercise and sleep habits to stay feeling your best and most energized as you tackle that long list of assignments!
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