Monday, July 23, 2018

How To: Stay Organized + Excel in School

Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to juggle work, school + extracurriculars. I go to school full-time and I work part-time on the weekends. I also am involved in clubs, blog at least 1x a week, and help my mom out. A blog post takes way more work than I had thought (before I actually had a blog). 

For fashion posts I buy or put together an outfit, go out & shoot them, edit the photos, write the post, revise the post, post a correlating photo on Instagram, pin it on Pinterest, etc... Needless to say, I was really overwhelmed at the beginning of this school year when I was getting my toes wet with my blog. 

College is very different from high school and being a freshman, I had to adjust to the new lifestyle. Class isn't 7:45 to 2:45 and professors don't babysit you like teachers did in high school. Time management and organization is KEY. You also need to be organized and be motivated. Shoving your papers into your backpack isn't a good idea because things will end up getting lost. 

Classes are shorter and you have to put in the time outside of class to study. College is about independence and taking initiative -- putting aside time to go to office hours, tutoring, etc... When a class is only 50 minutes 3x a week, information is just thrown at you in class and you're expected to internalize and comprehend the material. 

After finishing my freshman year at college, I've compiled a list of tips that I learned and use. It has helped me keep my grades and energy levels up: 

  •  Get A Planner: I write down all appointments, activities, and my work schedule so I know what I need to do/go for that day. I use THIS planner & it has monthly and weekly spreads so you can.
    • Write down all homework assignments, paper due dates, exams, & quizzes from the syllabus.
    • Jot down your goals for the week -- whether it be hitting the gym 2x or drinking a glass of water before each meal. 
    • USE your planner daily & keep it up to date. There's no point in buying one if it is just taking up space. 
  • Take Your Notes In One Place: I used to just take notes on loose-leaf paper and leave them in random places. I ended up losing most of my notes... Not a good idea. 
    • Get a notebook for each subject and keep all your notes in one place. 
    • Write neatly so you can go back and study them later. 
    • Type them if that works better for you; divvy up folders and keep notes in the correct folder (I use GoogleDocs since it automatically saves my work). 
  • Ask Questions: If you don't feel comfortable raising your hand in class, go to the professor's office hours. They're there for a reason! It is super frustrating to not be able to do a problem if you don't fully comprehend the concept. 
    • Also, do not wait until the night before the exam to email some last-minute questions. Study a few days before and then ask questions about the material you are confused about. 
  • Eliminate Distractions: I'm guilty of watching reruns of Project Runway while rewriting notes, but it does not do you any favors. Switching between the show and your homework takes more time and energy than you'd think. 
    • Turn off the TV, music, and phone. 
    • Do all of the work you need to, then indulge in Gossip Girl or Grey's Anatomy. 
  • STUDY: This is super important unless you are some kind of wizard and remember everything you learned. Instead of cramming the night before, break up your study sessions 3-4 days before an exam. It's much easier to focus when you are studying for 45 minutes - 1 hour compared to 4-5 hours at a time. 
  • In high school, I did not really study that much -- just a little here and there. In college, there might only be two exams the whole semester and that may be the only work that contribute to your overall grade. 
    • Set aside time to review material you have learned that day (proven that this works!)
    • Rewrite your notes and color-code them.
    • Do practice problems & watch YouTube videos on the topic. 
    • Have study-group sessions w/friends. 
  • Stay Motivated: For me, it's about that time in the semester where I'm worn out but it's the final stretch of the race! Don't let go of all that hard work you've done and slack off. Whenever I am feeling lazy and don't want to do an assignment or study, I just think about the end goal -- graduating and starting my life. 
    • Write down your goals for the week, month, or even year. 
    • Once you reach your goals, reward yourself! Even if it's something small as getting ice cream after earning an A on an exam. 
    • Don't spread yourself too thin; know your boundaries and do not overstep them. If you cannot function without an x amount of sleep then plan your day/life around that. Ex. taking 20 credits and working full-time -- a few may be able to do this successfully but c'mon let's be realistic. The majority of us need some down time b/c we cannot always go-go-go
  • Sleep: I cannot run on 3-4 hours of sleep so I make sure I get at least 7 hours a night. Sleep is important and you cannot function as well if you are sleep deprived. 
    • Set a bedtime and stick to it -- the more consistent you are, the better you will feel.
    • Put your phone on airplane mode or turn it off, there's nothing more annoying than being waken up by an unimportant notification. 

Thanks for reading, 


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