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Staying Organized as a College Student

Nihal Al Qawasmi, Opinion Editor

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Hey you. Yes, you. The student that’s beyond done with this semester and is drowning in mountains of work. I just want to let you know, I FEEL YOU.

I also want to let you know, that it doesn’t have to be this way.

In my opinion, the key to a successful semester and a less stressful schedule, is sprinkling a little bit of this thing called, organization. When you’re an organized person, you learn how to prioritize, and when you prioritize, you get shit done. Easier said than done, right? Have no fear, I’m going to give you my top tips for acquiring those much-needed organizational skills. And I’m totally qualified to do so — have you seen my plate of work?

1. Get Motivated!

If you’re not motivated, you’ll never, and I mean never, get yourself to be productive without it feeling extremely painful. Ya’ll need to renew those intentions and tackle the work head on with complete confidence. You can do this.

2. Start Planning 

This is the fun part. You all know what I’m talking about. That feeling you get after you set up your schedule for the next week (or month) and write down everything you need to accomplish – it’s a trick. You take it as a sign of productivity, and so you think you can slack off and “take a break.” No, no my friends. News flash: you have to actually do the work.

I suggest you create a system that works for you. For example, this has been my successful plan of action:

  • Every Sunday I lay out my major tasks for the week. Between school, interning, working and extracurriculars, my schedule is usually a hot mess. But ever since I started highlighting the “bigger” things that need to get done, and prioritizing them, it helps me see where I have time to do other things in my schedule – such as smaller tasks, scheduling meetings, having social/free time, etc.
  • Create daily to-do lists. I like this more than scheduling. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing something off your list as the day goes on. That feeling alone literally motivates me to push through the tasks. It also helps you focus on specific responsibilities so you don’t feel overwhelmed with the bigger picture. You can even separate your school assignments into a different list.
  • Figure out your most productive time. This helps tremendously when you’re scheduling your more high-level tasks. My most productive time is during late mornings. I can’t pull all-nighters if my life depended on it. But if that’s your thing, take advantage of your evenings!
  • Organize the space around you. I feel most productive if the area I’m working in is clean, neat and visually pleasing. Do whatever it takes, but figure out which environment will motivate you to keep going and not distract you.

I hope you found this somewhat helpful. And if all else fails, remember that coffee will never let you down. Now go show your planner that’s collecting dust who’s boss.

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