Organizing is Academic –Surviving First Semester Freshman Year of College

I am so excited to have my daughter guest blog for me this week. A freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, she offers her own “survival guide” for getting through first semester!By Maddie JoselFirst semester’s over, and is there any better time to look back and see what worked for me (organizationally, of course) and what didn’t?  Here’s a first hand guide from me, a second semester freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, of surviving my first semester of college.  Or, otherwise called, “Lessons Learned from Mom”.

  • Use your time between classes productively! Whether it’s working on your paper that’s due in three weeks or getting a little exercise, I quickly learned that because my class days no longer went straight from 8 to 3, that the small blocks of time between classes could be spent in the library crossing off “read Archaeology chapter” from my planner.

  • A good pair of headphones and a great playlist is absolutely key. Whether you like studying in the library or your room, music is the best way to keep yourself focused on your work and NOT who’s sitting at the next table. My trick? Make sure you like all the songs on your playlist. You don’t want to break concentration because a song popped on you no longer love. Mix it up often, and keep those headphones glued to your ears for hours of good work and good music.

  • Don’t schedule all 24 hours of your day. No matter how much work you have looming, it’s important to leave yourself a little wiggle room for a late night frozen yogurt run with a friend or a 28 minute TV episode before bed. While all the work on your plate may seem overwhelming; we are not machines. Give yourself permission to take a break once in a while. It will actually lead to better work. Trust me!

  • A planner really is the only way to organize your time, especially in college. While electronic planners work for some, the only way I can see all of my time and assignments is with a paper planner. My mom’s works perfectly for me as I can see my assignments, schedule and time breaks TOGETHER. But regardless of the planner you use to keep track of everything from that research paper to a birthday dinner, make sure to always WRITE IT ALL DOWN. The last thing you want is to walk into your recitation without having done your reading – trust me, it’s happened! But not to me of course!


Read our blog post, 5 Tips for an Organized and Stress Free Year!


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