The key to succeeding in university is being organized. It’s important, especially when you’re living on your own for the first time, to stay on top of things. You won’t have anyone reminding you to wake up and get to class on time. You’ll have to remember where you put your keys. And since you’ll likely be living in a smaller space than you’re used to, you’ll want to make sure you have all the essentials—and that they are in their proper place.
If you don’t know where to begin, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Have an agenda. Whether you have a physical book or use your online calendar, get in the habit of using it every day. It’s a great tool to help you remember everything from deadlines to birthdays to appointments. If you’re using your online calendar, be sure to schedule reminders that pop up in advance so you’re never surprised or late when you have something important to remember. You can take this one step further by writing yourself notes on a notepad or sticky tabs. This is a great way to keep a grocery list so you don’t waste time making several trips to the grocery store when one would do.
Set your alarm. If you have to get up at a certain time on a certain day, using your smartphone to set an alarm is a helpful way to make sure you’re awake on time. It’s a simple thing to do, but easy to forget. Once you have your school schedule, set your alarm right away so it goes off when you need it most.
Organize your room. Do you need storage boxes? Closet organizers? File folders? Hooks to hang things on the back of your door instead of tossing them on the floor? Go to a store that has items to help you make sense of your new space. This can include an office supply store, Ikea, or a store that specializes in home organization. Speak to your friends and parents to see if they have any tips for items that may be especially useful or practical. Have fun with it and buy the colours and decor items that make you feel comfortable and happy in your new space.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Take a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy your room and desk.[/pullquote]
Get a backpack. It’s important to be organized on the go as well. Choose a backpack that is sturdy, durable and feels comfortable on your shoulders when it’s loaded with books. Does it have a special compartment for your laptop? A place to put a water bottle or gym shoes? Look around and find one that is practical for your needs. You will be using it a lot on campus.
Get all the supplies you need. Do you have a printer that works? What about extra paper and ink? Are all your cords untangled and organized so you can keep your phone and laptop charged? You’ll need a few other desktop essentials. This can include notebooks, lined paper, binders, a stapler, pens, pencils, highlighter, whiteout, a three-hole punch, garbage can and bulletin board with tacks. Often these products are on sale during the summer, so shop wisely and make sure you have everything you need to get your year off to a good start.
Colour code your work. It’s often helpful to colour code binders or file folders. That way you can visually see what notebook to put in your bag on what day. It’s a great way to easily keep all your work for a particular subject in the right place. Once you’re organized, don’t be lazy. Make sure you’re using this system to its full potential.
Tidy up. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy your room and desk. It feels great to wake up to a clean, organized room. It’s an automatic fresh start to a new day. You’ll be happy that you took the time to do this.
Have fun. School is also about socializing, exploring different interests and trying new things. It’s great to be organized and on top of things, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself. In addition to being great for your mental and physical health, taking a break can offer some much-needed stress relief from the your new everyday routine.