Getting Organized for a New Semester at College

What a lovely summer we have had in Allendale this year – moderate temperatures, lots of sun; it’s been a great time to get out and explore what West Michigan has to offer, whether that’s water-based fun or not. It’s always good to get away from the grind of schedules and schoolwork.

Sadly, summer doesn’t last forever in Michigan, and though we still have plenty of long nights and warm days to enjoy, and the farmer’s market season is just coming into its own, the GVSU fall semester begins in only a couple of weeks. Here are some tips to get yourself organized before that happens. As we all know, after the semester is in full swing, it’s hard to make time for any sort of bigger project.

Step One: Clean and declutter. (Check out our tips for decluttering here!)

Step Two: Restock your supplies. Right now is an excellent time to restock for the entire year because of back-to-school sales. Focus on adding any organizational things you might need as well. These would be items like: binders, notebooks, notecards, and highlighter pens. A multiple subject notebook with dividers and pockets can be a lifesaver for saving and organizing things like syllabi, instructions, papers, lecture notes, and study partners’ names and contact information.

Step Three: Review your last semester mentally. Were there things that got away from you? Did you have projects that you turned in late or had to power through because they slipped your mind? Now is the time to brainstorm better ways of doing things specific to your study or work patterns. Be honest with yourself about how you get things done. If all your life you’ve procrastinated or left things until the last minute, that’s unlikely to change by making a simple resolution to do better. Schedule email reminders or ask a friend to hold you accountable instead. And add personal incentives for yourself for getting things done earlier than necessary.

Step Four: Use a planner religiously. Whether this is an app, an online tool, or a traditional notebook planner, make a habit of writing everything down – every assignment, every study date, every exam, and your work and social schedule. If you have to be somewhere or do something, put it in the planner. Make sure to check the planner then every morning and every evening so you can stay on top of daily tasks and upcoming responsibilities.

Step Five: Read through any and all syllabi and instructions your professors give you when they give them to you. Read them in entirety. Then put anything important into your planner. This is a good way to avoid unpleasant surprises late in the semester.

If last semester got away from you a little bit (or a lot!), now is the time to takes steps to make this upcoming one more successful. Some people are naturally organized, and others have to work harder to be so, but good organization makes things easier for everyone.

As always, we at Meadows Crossings wish our GVSU students the best of everything this fall semester.

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