Student Life

Stop Sabotaging Your Semester Before You Start

Elizabeth Hoyt

August 20, 2019

Stop Sabotaging Your Semester Before You Start
With a few tips, you could be on track for your most successful semester yet.
The college search and admissions processes and your grades suffer from disorganization – but, with a few organization tips, you could be on track for your most successful semester yet. And, because your future is at stake, it’s time to recognize that being disorganized can seriously impact your performance as a student. Once you’ve done so, there are easy ways to implement some simple organization tactics into your daily routine (without feeling like you’re changing all that much).
Check out five warning signs which indicate that you may need to pay a little extra attention to organizing - along with easy fixes for each of your tough spots so you can stop sabotaging your semester, before you even begin.

You can’t keep track of important dates and deadlines.

This is, perhaps, the easiest fix of them all. They have millions of crazy cute day planners out there – so invest in one! Make it your goal to write down any important dates, events and deadlines that come up for the next three weeks - minimum. From there, it will likely become habit.
Though many students like to utilize reminders and calendars on their smartphones, it’s often easier to have a tangible planner which you can get into the habit of writing things down, big and small.

You misplace and lose track of where you put everything.

Now is the perfect time to recognize this issue! It’s easy to organize your notebooks, binders and folders when starting out a new semester – then just work to keep them that way.
Remember, starting out organized means you’re ahead of the game because it’s much more difficult to backtrack and organize piles of randomness later. Label everything by subject so that each is easily recognizable. It’s also helpful to assign one color to each subject. For example, red folders, notebooks and binders for math, blue for English and so on. Commit to following through on placing papers and assignments in the right folders immediately, taking notes in the right notebooks, etc. That way, you’ll never be guessing where you left the handout given in class since you placed in the folder for that class right away.

Your notes often feel worthless.

Ever find yourself in the position of trying to reread your notes when it’s time to study and feeling like you’re reading a foreign language. You’re not alone. Often times, students who try to write everything down end up getting nothing from their efforts. To help with this, try to focus on writing down important tidbits of information, rather than all of the information provided. Ask yourself if it can be found in the textbook or if it’s something that your teacher is highlighting for a reason. If it’s important, but can still be found in the text, write a note to look it up. It’s helpful to date your notes and give them headings as you move through discussions in class. Usually, teachers will let you know what the focus of the class will be at the beginning, whether it is a particular chapter or topic focus. Write it down so that you can easily reference back to that area when it comes time to look through your notes for the information.

Your study space is a battleground.

How can you expect to focus if the area you’re trying to focus in is hectic? Create and maintain a study space – that’s calm, organized and free of chaos. Think of it as the reflection of what you’d like your mind to look like as you’re trying to study. Cluttered space, cluttered thoughts. Makes sense, right?

You leave everything to the last minute.

You can’t possibly be reflecting your best work if you’re constantly in a race to the finish line! Start a regular study schedule, where you plan what you’ll be working on ahead of time (using your new day planner) so that you’re able to put in the time and effort each assignment, college application or whatever else you need to accomplish requires. Try to do so as early as possible so that you’re never blind-sighted by upcoming due dates and deadlines.

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