Tips on How to Stay Organized Throughout the Semester

With the first week of classes officially over, I’m sure some of you are feeling pretty overwhelmed and lost. That’s okay! It’s perfectly normal to feel like that in the beginning of the term. I’ve decided to share some tips that help me keep calm during these busy weeks in hopes that maybe these tips will help you too, even if you are still in high school!

By Katie FitzGibbons September 7, 2021
August 8 blog post on staying organized

It’s officially the beginning of the semester. Whoot Whoot! As someone who stayed in Ann Arbor this summer, it’s been so exciting seeing all the students come back to campus. The campus looks alive and thriving again!

However, with the start of the semester comes the stress and anxiety of your classes and other responsibilities. Having already gone through quite a few semesters, I’ve learned some tricks to manage my stress. That being said, I know how it feels when all of your responsibilities seemingly snowball together and threaten to crush you. It’s a scary feeling, but there are things you can do to help keep your cool.

weekly planner and notebooks
Deep Breaths.

Deep Breaths.

First, before we get into tips and tricks, I just want to tell you that it’s all going to be okay. None of your professors and none of your friends expect you to be perfect at all times. Don’t put that pressure on yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to email your professors if you need more time or help. Taking care of yourself is the top priority at all times. The university understands that and has resources to help.

student planner
Get a Planner!

Get a Planner!

I don’t care if you use a lined notebook or some fancy planner; get something in which you can log all of your assignments and deadlines. In the beginning of the semester, pull out your planner, open your syllabus, and log every single deadline in your planner. 

If you need to change it later on, that’s okay, but at least you now know what weeks are busy and when you need to get started on each assignment. I also like to keep a separate section in my planner for non-school related deadlines. Keeping academics and personal life separate tends to be very helpful for me and allows me to relax a bit about the amount of work I have.

Google calendar view
Google Calendar.

Google Calendar.

I’ve found Google Calendar (or any other calendar aid) to be extremely useful so I don’t overbook myself for the week. I even sometimes schedule my friend hangouts in my calendar! Having the calendar in front of me helps me contextualize the time I have available that week and what I can do with my free time. I schedule every single event in that calendar, even if the event is way in the future. This way I’m way less likely to forget!

Turn Notifications On.
Turn Notifications On.

Turn Notifications On.

Turn on Canvas notifications on your phone and check your email regularly. Trust me. This will literally save you. There have been countless times where I missed an important message from my professor because I forgot to check my email or Canvas announcements. Spend a few minutes each day in the morning and at night checking your notifications. It’ll help you keep on top of any new changes or assignments.

Stay organized.
Stay Organized.

To conclude, staying organized is a great way to keep calm and manage your time. I promise you’ll get into a rhythm and life will get a lot less stressful as the semester goes on.

These first few weeks tend to be the most stressful for me and many others. But we can get through it! Just take care of yourself, try to stay organized and be sure to reach out to your professors if you have any problems. Also, be sure to have some fun! Don’t replace your social life with your academics. Find a balance between the two and you’ll be just fine!

Katie FitzGibbons

Katie FitzGibbons is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts double majoring in Anthropology and Film, Television, and Media. Katie is the Social Chair for Friends of the Campus Farm and spends a lot of her free time volunteering at local farms. She loves doing any activities outdoors, including hiking, camping, or just simply walking around campus. When not outside, you can usually find her crocheting or reading a good book.