The Ultimate Guide To Organizing Your Life In College

how to get organized in college

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by May Designs. As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely my own, I’d never lie to ya! 

Whoever said college was easy is a big liar and I’d like to high-five their face with a chair. It’s not necessarily always the academic part of college that makes things difficult — it’s the balancing other aspects of your life with the academic part that really gets us every time. As a fairly ambitious collegiate, I can say that without a doubt, it gets difficult to organize your duties and plan your time when you’re looking out for your school work, job, extracurriculars, social life, and even your personal life too!

The good news is that when that…rather large…slice of life gets a little crazy, getting into the habit of staying organized can really help you digest things a little easier. Like, you’ll actually be able to breathe a little! This is definitely one of my favorite posts because first, I can go on and on about organization for hours (but don’t worry, I won’t chat your ear off this time!) and second, I love an opportunity to just organize myself and lay everything out right in front of me so that I never feel like I’m blindly running through college (and tripping and falling on my face in the process!).

1. Hang a dry-erase calendar on your wall and look at it every. Single. Day. 

But don’t put it directly above the head-side of your bed because it might fall off and give you a good midnight surprise! My terrible attempts at being funny aside, keeping a calendar in sight in your room can help you plan ahead — appointments, campus events, meetings, parties, due dates of homework assignments, etc. I like using colorful dry erase markers to make my calendar look a little prettier and more exciting so that way I actually enjoy looking at it! Because of this, my calendar is also a great piece of dorm room decor for me, so now you have even more of a reason for buying one. But remember to always refer back to it so that you stay aware of important dates that are approaching.

2. Create a to-do list on your phone. 

I’m an avid user of to-do lists, especially when I list things out in the exact order that I want to complete them in. All you need is a pen and paper and you can feel the sweet victory of crossing things out on your list after completing them. Ah, what a wonderful feeling it is! While I usually write lists in my planner, I have really taken to writing lists in the Notes application on my phone because I always have it in my hand so it’s easy for me to take a quick peak while I’m on my way to class if I forgot what other things I needed to do that day. Sometimes I have those days where I even need to list the fact that I have to go to class just so I can look at everything collectively! Yeah, it happens, we have those moments.

3. Make homework one of your priorities. 

Not gonna lie, I’d much rather go through a season of Gossip Girl than a chapter in a textbook, but homework is a necessary evil. You should probably do it. Correction: you must do it. Turning in homework assignments can be the difference between an A- and an A, or a C- and a C, so don’t squander those points! You’ll be super upset with yourself if you put it off for the last possible minute and have to stay up until all hours of the morning to complete it. Keep homework assignments near the top of your to-do list. I like to make sure I finish at least one big upcoming homework assignment before I hang out with friends. Plus, hanging out with people is a good study/homework break!

4. Use a journal to keep track of your fitness goals. 

May Designs Notebook

Like I said, college organization isn’t just about the schoolwork. If you have some fitness goals you’d like to achieve, keeping a journal is a great way to not just keep track of them, but to also motivate you to keep at it! The one above is from May Designs and it’s not only super gorgeous but it helps me keep track of my meals and snacks, and daily water consumption, and I can leave myself notes in case I think of something like a nutritious recipe I want to try out, or if I want to reflect on the day.

How To Get Organized In College

Organization in college

On the first page of the book, you can write out your goals to remind you of why you’re working out and eating healthy. For me, it’s because I’m asthmatic and my freshman year of college was my first time having an asthma attack in more than five years. Looking back, I think it might’ve been because of my weight gain (Freshman 15 doesn’t play games!). So I’m determined to shed some weight and put myself back in a healthier position so that I don’t suffer through another asthma attack like that.

How To Get Organized In College

But inspirational story aside, I am very much in love with this journal and I also love that you can really personalize it to make it your own (who doesn’t love monogrammed things????). I have my name on it and let me tell you, it took me DAYS to finally settle on a design and monogram style because there are so many designs to choose from and they are so beautiful!!! And if freedom with your book’s cover isn’t enough, you can also choose what your inside pages look like. I chose for mine to be the fitness journal, but you can also choose weekly and daily agendas, a prayer journal, budget planner (hint, hint if you love saving money in college!), and more. I received the ‘Classic Book’ which is 5” x 8” and contains 80 pages.

5. Set up a routine for calling your parents. 

Crap happens and before we know it, we’re forgetting to call our parents, who would probably love to hear from us even just once a week! Keeping up with your family can be a bit crazy when you already feel like you barely have time to eat and breathe, but planning a time to call mom and dad and adding it to your schedule will ensure you don’t forget to do it. If Saturday mornings before you start the day work for you, then make that your day and time for phoning home. It’s nice to hear our parents’ voices when we’re miles away from home, plus, they’re great people to rant to when everything about everything is seriously irritating you!

6. Speak to advisors for advice on your classes. 

But don’t just see your advisor one time at the beginning of the semester; try to meet with him or her at least two or three times throughout the semester so that you’re still in the loop of everything you need to do for your degree, and so that they’re still in the loop of your career goals. They can’t help you properly if you don’t tell them what’s changing for you. You don’t have to figure out this sort of stuff all by yourself!

7. Wake up at the same time everyday. 

I adore the days when I can sleep in a little, but to be fair, sleeping in for me is waking up at 9:30 in the morning, so maybe I’m not really an expert on that! Waking up around the same time everyday will help you get approximately the same amount of sleep every night (assuming you’ll be going to bed around the same time as well). This allows you to have some type of consistency with your schedule, and even if you wake up at 7a.m. when your first class doesn’t start until 1p.m., you’ll be more likely to use all that time to be productive; go to the gym, do some homework, go to work, make time for appointments, etc.

8. Keep track of all the jobs and internships you apply to. 

Sometimes I apply to a position and then a week later when I continue my search, I happen upon the same opportunity and think, “whoa, this is totally up my alley, I should apply!” and then it finally hits me that I already applied…That, my friends, is Jasmin’s forgetfulness at its finest. Be sure to keep track of all these opportunities — even the ones you get rejected from or aren’t qualified for — so that you don’t forget that you already looked into them. I like to simply organize them in a Word document as though I’m writing an outline. So helpful for referring back to!

Btw, be sure to check out my guide to resume-writing for some pretty top notch tips (if I do say so myself!) on how to stand out and write a pretty freaking good resume!

9. If your current shift at your job doesn’t work too well anymore, look into changing it. 

I know that’s sometimes easier said than done because managers often need to consider other factors before giving you the thumbs up to change your shift, but it’s worth an inquiry. If your shift in the campus library ends at 4:50p.m. and then you have a three-hour class at 5p.m. and therefore no time to eat a meal and catch a breath, consider switching your shift to a time in your schedule that works better for you. When everything in your schedule is literally back-to-back, it can get hard to, well, survive. Make life a little easier by working this out.

10. Set specific days for doing your laundry, and cleaning up your room.

Don’t succumb to wearing the same pair of underwear four days in a row because you forgot to do laundry. Also, don’t get into the habit of not cleaning up after yourself in your room because dorm rooms are smaller than we sometimes think they’re going to be, which means living in filth and untidiness won’t give you a comfortable college lifestyle and you might be less productive. Remember to take care of yourself while away at college. Add these chores to your handy-dandy weekly calendar so you don’t forget!

What are your college organization tips? 

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Jasmin - Macarons & Mascara