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Mastering Chaos: How to Stay Organized in College for Academic Success

Mastering Chaos: How to Stay Organized in College for Academic Success
Jordana Bozhinova

Jordana Bozhinova

Last updated - March 28, 2024

Can’t figure out how to stay organized in college? Okay. No probs. We have ten tips for you, and they’re coming in supersonic speed. But first, we must explain why going fully lax during the semester season is a complete disaster.

Why Is It Essential to Get Organized in College

The summertime is almost over. You’re going back to school, and we’re low-key shadowing you in case you need extra help with whatever — just the usual stuff we do. Today, we’re here to tell you about the ten best ways to stay an organized student as we toss out a few brief arguments pro-discipline.

So, why does it matter to be disciplined? Well, for one, it can help you achieve academic success. After all, is it possible to sleep in through half of your classes day after day and have a high GPA? It’s 99.99% impossible. And second, it can help with stress rooted in not preplanning college activities. Isn’t it stressful to pretend you’re a-okay with a bad hair day, which you could’ve avoided if you weren’t running late for school? It is!

If you want your college experience to rock, improving your organizational skills is one way to do that. In our following blogs, we’ll also touch upon different aspects of the back-to-school euphoria (slash shock). But right now, we’re here to help you invest in your discipline. Fall in!

1. Rediscover Your Calendar

What date is it three days from the day before yesterday? Aha! Got ya! You took a sneak peek at your calendar, didn’t you? It’s useful, right? And so did we — that date riddle needed to be extra hard! But let’s get down to some serious talk now: calendars are perfect for recording important dates, events, and tasks that you’ve signed up for the college student role, meaning they’re a must if you want to de-chaos.

If you often struggle with time management, a solid first-to-thirty-first timeline of all activities will help you plan ahead. Digital options are as helpful as the traditional paper ones, so it’s up to you. You could even get more if it helps you stay on top of your class times and extracurricular activities!

2. Create a Realistic Schedule

Fake it ’til you make it? No! Real it until you grill it! Or seal it! When creating a schedule, you can deal with it as long as you can real it. For instance, starting your mornings at 3 A.M. or planning your workout sessions during your busiest days is a bit extreme.

It would’ve been great if all our plans worked out as well IRL as they do in our heads. But, unfortunately, they don’t. That’s why it’s essential to dot out an honest, possible-to-keep-to daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. And it should be well-balanced, too. After all, sampling crunchy munchies with your boo after a dentist appointment is living on the toothy edge, right?

3. Organize Your Notes and Class Materials

If you find different subjects difficult, it might be because you’re carrying the world’s mess on your shoulders in your backpack. Tons of semi-crumpled notes, sticky notes sticking to them, and notebooks with edges poking right at your back — it’s all there, isn’t it? Let’s just put this straight — you’re not going next level and buying a forklift for transporting your school luggage! So what do you do?

Well, using digital notes sounds better. Having a designated notebook for each class is also an option. And you can also use your computer to organize materials in folders and subfolders for easier navigation.

4. Dot Out a To-Do List

What do you do when you don’t know what you need to do? You do what you need to do — make a to-do list! Setting goals is the first step to becoming more organized. Additionally, you must categorize activities by importance. After all, task prioritization is the way to success!

Once you have the big figured out, you can focus on the small. Breaking demanding tasks into smaller chunks can spike up your motivation levels and beat out the procrastinator in you. However, you must regularly complete everything on the list to boost your academic performance. And no, doing it all in a single day doesn’t count — it’s not how you build character.

5. Take Good Care of Yourself

If you’re not eating or sleeping well, often feeling sad, stressed, or angry, or feeling like you’re not doing well in any sense, “How to stay organized in college?” might not be the question you need answered right now. Instead, you might consider investing in your mental, physical, or social well-being.

A healthy, balanced life is achievable, and it is more important than packing your class tools. Of course, being educated matters. But you and your health matter the most. And once you begin exercising, sucking spaghetti with gusto, and become determined to achieve inner happiness, good, ol’ college will be waiting for you.

6. Keep Your Study Space Clean and Mess-Free

A student’s mind roams freely as long as they can lay eyes on clean surroundings. Too much clutter in your study environment can smack your productivity levels to the floor! That’s because, in such a scenario, you can’t focus on anything else but everything that fills even the air!

If your study space is disorganized, you must do some serious decluttering. Also, you must promise yourself to build a habit of keeping this area as tidy as possible. You can start by making your bed in the morning and cleaning your desk post-studying. Bonus tip: Dirty socks go in the laundry basket, and pencil shavings go in the trash can.

7. Analyze the Past Week, Create a Schedule for the Next

If the math isn’t “mathing” for you on the college front, it might be because there’s an X in the equation. Do you know how much time you spend studying every week? What about homework? And can you find enough time to prepare for exams and hang out with friends? You must review the past and plan for upcoming activities to answer these questions.

Analyzing what was and making room for what is to be allows you to pet yourself on the back for all the great work you’ve done. And if you’re underperforming, it authorizes you to give yourself a friendly, motivational kick in the butt! Ultimately, it helps you improve your study schedule and live a more fulfilling life.

8. Stay Away from Distractions While Studying

Here comes the granddaddy of all productivity tips and study habits, the advice you’ll hate the most: Keep away from distractions when studying! We know how entertaining social media is. We understand how urgent that pinging messenger sound sounds like. However, all those online adventures aren’t helping your college agenda!

Of course, breaks are fine. Reading excessive materials, line after line, can be exhausting. But a brief pause is not a pause if it’s a thing that reoccurs every two minutes! You must master the frequency of your breaks if you want to learn something from the books you’ve sworn allegiance to. Otherwise, you’ll memorize bits of vague info only.

9. Know Where Your Class Tools Are

Going to your classes without pens and notebooks is… one way of approaching college life. It certainly isn’t the only one, though. You might not be the most pencils-and-notes-and-rulers-and-markers person out there. However, you must have the basic of basics with you. After all, even Adam and Eve knew the importance of essentials and wore a fig leaf!

The night before classes, unzip your case and put a few tools in it. Also, ensure that you’ll be bringing the right notebook(s) with you the next day! Dig around your backpack, and put in whatever is missing. The best time to go on a tool hunt is when you’re not running towards the classroom.

10. Plan for Tomorrow

And now, it’s time for the tip that will double the meaning of the other nine tips. If you’re wondering how to stay organized in college, tomorrow is the best place to look for answers. If you can plan for a day ahead, beautiful things can happen. For example, you can better prepare for your classes and think of questions for your professors.

Of course, to do that, you must use the syllabi teachers hand over to students at the beginning of the academic year. Everything you need to focus on to nail the following day is on those papers. And if you can plan your outfit and extracurricular activities for tomorrow, the campus is your oyster!

Organize, Pawnsganize

As you’re introducing more discipline in your student life, don’t forget to invest in good financial habits. can help you do just that!
College is a time of developing opinions on different topics, so why not do some survey-taking through the application? Alternatively, you could share all the bandwidth you saved by removing social media from your study marathons with a classmate taking a break from studying somewhere in the world! Did we mention all this helps you earn? Install the app and see it for yourself! Happy college-ing!

Jordana Bozhinova

Jordana Bozhinova


Once an eighth-grade chemistry whiz, Jordana is now a BA in Psychology, hoping to one day tread through the fine weave of the psyche professionally. Chemistry still excites her, but not more than physics or music. Personal growth and authenticity are always on her to-do list, and she'd like to see the world's pendulum swing in that direction, too. A fan of creativity and innovation, Jordana enjoys learning, understanding, and chic clothes. Who says self-exploration can't be fabulous?

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