Grad School Organization Tips

Hi readers!

Some of you may know this is my first semester of grad school! I am working full-time and taking a full load of classes so I have to stay on top of all my different deadlines. I’m confident about juggling it all and excited to start this new journey. I will be sure to post more about my graduate school experience but first I wanted to share some of my favorite college organization tips!

I have an interesting theory that being organized is the biggest determiner for success in school. If someone were to ask me what they should focus on most in school I would tell them to plan ahead as much as possible for their classes and degree plan in general. I have mentored and tutored fellow students over the years and stress using an agenda time and time again. I seriously can’t fathom how people function without them?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how smart you are or how good of a test-taker you are if you forgot about an assignment and that professor doesn’t accept late-work. Even though I graduated with honors I truly believe I was never the smartest or most skilled student in any room. However, I made a point to never submit late work, study as much as I could, and to work ahead whenever possible.

That being said, let’s get to my tried and true organization methods for school. There are some Type A people that will 100% get this and some Type B people who will think I am crazzzy.

First things first, I assign every class a color. Once I do that, I use said color for highlighting syllabus pages, assigned folders, and page markers for each class (as well as any other color coordinating products or tools I can find). It may seem silly but it is the EASIEST way to mentally store classes in your mind. I bought a few different colored folders around five years ago and re-use them after each semester. It also helps if you have two classes with a similar name or taught by the same professor and you can remember one as “pink folder”, etc. in a crunch.

On the first day or week of a new semester, I print and download each syllabus for all of my classes. Right away, I write down every due date in my agenda and hanging calendar. These are physical reminders that I can check off. Of course, if you prefer electronic versions you can do that but I am one of those people that is oh so satisfied by checking off a box on a physical piece of paper.

Once I have my physical textbooks for class I put in tiny post-it notes for all of the chapters or assigned reading pages so it will be easy to access later (ignore if you prefer e-books). I use color-coordinating stickies if possible. 😉 Don’t y’all love my beautiful handwriting on my calendar? #lefthandedproblems

E-mail organization is a beast of it’s own so I’m not going to attempt to share any tips for managing an overwhelming inbox. However, I find it beneficial to have a (color-coded) folder for each class. This way you can easily drag and drop messages into it’s assigned bucket to quickly access later.

Another HUGE piece of advice is to have at least one friend in each class (online or not). I’m happy to report I have already connected with a peer in grad school and she has already saved my butt TWICE! It’s so important to have someone to remind you of due dates and run questions by because we’re all only human after all. This is someone that can keep you accountable throughout the semester and vice-versa.

Most importantly, try not to get overwhelmed. There are so many free resources out there for help and don’t be scared to reach out to others. Oh, here is a list of great college student discounts you should take advantage of. My favorites are the Spotify and Headspace student discounts.

There ya have it! Planning and prepping as much as possible in the beginning helps me feel like I have more control over the rest of the semester. I know not everyone loves to organize as much as me and if this does not work for you that is okay. I am just sharing what has helped me throughout the years. I will be sure to share other tips and tricks as I go along!

What is your favorite way to organize and plan for a semester?

Thanks for reading!

*header image courtesy of unsplash

5 thoughts on “Grad School Organization Tips

  1. Love your org skills! I wish I had honed mine better in my younger years! I love lists now, and I also love writing things, rather than electronic lists! Keep up the good work!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lauren!

    I also love to organise! I’m finding digital calendars useful as time goes on due to arranging meetings online and how digital calendars can organise your commitments themselves! I find Notion super helpful too (e.g. Kanban style to-do list for my week’s tasks, note-keeping and literature database).

    Best of luck ahead in grad school and thanks for sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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