Getting Organized for Next Semester

By Amanda Cross, Student at the University of Central Arkansas

You’ve written your last exam of the semester, waited anxiously for your final grades to be posted and found joy or pain in your latest grade point average.

Now what’s next?

Moving on to greater things — your next semester as a college student. I have some ways to organize yourself for the next semester.

For The Pen and Paper People:

  1. Buy a planner. I find that the best ones are monthly and weekly planners. It depends on the person but get the planner that you like the most and the one that you think you’ll use the most.

    There are a number of ways to organize your agenda. Color coding seems to work for some, but I just use one color and label the item with what it is related to because I find multiple colors in my agenda to be overwhelming.

    Here are some good planner examples:
    Plan-It 2013 Planner — This planner is pretty great, it’s from Amazon and is only $11.95!
    Lilly Pulitzer Agendas -– Lilly Pulitzer has a large variety of agendas that range in size and cost, and you can get one for as little as $16 or as high as $33. I recommend the large agenda in "You Gotta Regatta" for $26 because the print is fantastic.

  2. Organize your notes: I am an avid paper note taker. I find that it’s much easier than lugging a laptop to class. I am a much faster typer than writer, but I find that if I use paper I remember and understand better. If you are a paper person, I suggest that you get a nice binder and a set of heavy-duty plastic tab dividers.
  3. Another suggestion is purchasing these note tabs/flags. I used these all last semester to mark pages in my textbook, separate notes by test in my binders and so much more. They are great to act as mini-dividers and are see-through, so when you place them on a page you can see what is under them.
  4. To organize your notes more, be colorful. Bic For Her are great pens to use because they write well and come in fantastic girly colors. Using Bic For Her pens really made writing notes in my physical science class a lot easier this semester! For the classes that you’d rather not attend, writing in colorful ink makes life better.

For the Tech-Savvy Bunch:

  1. Join Google for Google Calendar. Google Calendar is great! I have an Android phone with a ton of Google apps on it, and I have to say Google Calendar is my best friend. I put my school schedule on it this semester so when I didn’t remember what room a class was located in I could quickly reference my phone.

    Google Calendar is useful for other things as well. If your school has a calendar, you can even sync that calendar to your Google calendar, you can use Google Calendar for personal stuff and you can make different calendars and make certain colors stand for certain things so you don’t get confused. If you need a good calendar that can come with you wherever you go, Google Calendar is a great FREE tool.

  2. Get Microsoft OneNote: So many people use Microsoft Word for their note-taking needs, but stop the presses and get Microsoft OneNote if you can. It will be your greatest note-taking tool!

    The premise of OneNote is that you can make many notebooks, sections of notebooks and pages under those sections.

    There are so many tools such as being able to add voice recordings to your notes, handwriting some notes (and even being able to search through your handwritten notes), adding to-do lists and being able to write anywhere on the page and moving text around at will. It’s one of the best-kept secrets of Microsoft Office.

  3. If you think you can’t afford OneNote or a Microsoft Office Suite in general, try to get Microsoft Office University. I got this set for $99 because I am a college student. It includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, Powerpoint, OneNote and Publisher. This set is really great for students and includes any Microsoft Office software most anyone would need. It is also super cost-effective because you will use all the software all the time. All you need is a college email address to take advantage of the offer.

[Image from Microsoft website]

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