To keep entropy low and to stay on top of things during the year, it’s critical we have a reliable system to fall back on. While every student has their unique way of organizing their work space and meeting deadlines, I’ve noticed that certain survival tips have remained unchanged despite the ever-changing dynamics of being a student. I decided to ask my peers, friends, seniors and family members for items they believe would be pivotal for any university student. Five items came up time and time again. Do you use any of the following items?
Filing folders (accordion folders):
For loose papers or handouts that tend to get lost, accordion folders provide a catch all and have saved me numerous times when my organizational system has begun to clutter. Having well-labelled folders ahead of time means saving you the time from having to dig through piles of loose leaf.
Additional hack: Organize your filing folder with tab labels so you can find the right documents and papers fast!
Having a physical paper to scribble on not only helps you visualize your weeks and months ahead, but it also helps commit an event to memory. Personally, I like to use colorful pens and mark special events, exams and deadlines on my wall calendar.
Additional hack: cross out days of the week as they pass, so it not only helps you stay on top of homework but gives you extra motivation to get through the week.
At the beginning of the school year, my fellow student friends and I have an annual shopping spree at the local dollar store where we stock up on colorful note paper and post-its that will come in handy for the exam season (as well as year-round). Color post-its are great ways to remind ourselves of to-do lists, ideas for new projects and even self-care tips.
Additional hack: use color coded post-its to help you remember events.
Many students today resort to mobile phones or laptops to keep track of major deadlines and course schedules, however paper agendas still have a purpose. Having shadowed many professionals over the course of my degree, something I’ve noticed is that almost everyone in a senior level at the workplace has a hand-held agenda. While digital calendars are certainly useful, putting ideas and schedules to paper solidifies our memory for those events as well.
Additional hack: cross out the items you’ve completed to keep track of your accomplishments.
For items that are less urgent but perhaps important to keep around such as student loan documents, credit card statements, pay stubs, I usually file away in card box filing boxes. For me, I invested in 4 of these boxes from Ikea and have been using them since the first year of my degree.
Additional hack: Ensuring the boxes are alphabetized will let you find your files faster!