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Getting your life in order: ideas to help you organize

Organiziation in the dorm and with school work is essential. Photo by Holly Diller, 29.16

Organization is one of the most valued skill for college students for countless reasons.

But it’s often difficult to teach yourself the art of organization and then turn that knowledge into habit.

Besides making room check a less stressful chore, organization gives students a neat environment to work in that can ultimately help them achieve academic excellence.

Joy Smith, adviser for freshmen majoring in the College of Arts and Science, offered tips to help students become more organized.

First, students should visualize their tasks. “Get a planner,” Smith said. “That’s the key to being organized.” She recommended getting a physical, paper-and-pen planner that lets students picture what needs to be done and gives them the reward of crossing things off the list.

“I like the planners broken up by the hour,” she said. “Then I can see what hours I have free.”

Smith recommended taking the time to transfer syllabi to planners.

“Just going by your syllabus is hard because you have papers to shuffle through rather than everything being in one place,” she said.

Second, Smith said it’s important to compartmentalize. “When I was in the dorms, I had a shelf, and all my notebooks were organized by classes,” she said. “That way I knew which books I would need for those days.”

Hannah Zakaria, sophomore business administration student from Virginia, recognizes the importance of organization as it relates to time and efficiency.

“I color code everything,” she said. “Even notebooks, folders and papers.” She recommended planning your week out on Sunday evenings so you know how to prioritize your schedule. “When you’re not organized, it takes more time,” she said. “If you were organized in the first place, you would save yourself so much time.”

Thomas Wetmore, senior computer science major from Upstate New York, said for him, the key to being organized is using small boxes to compartmentalize his drawers, overhead and closet spaces and to keep things neatly out of sight. Keeping extra possessions down to a minimum is also a helpful tip.

“The less stuff you have, the easier it is to stay neat,” Wetmore said. He also said he uses hook-and-latch fasteners for everything from storing wrapped computer cords to arranging Christmas lights.

“Velcro is your best friend,” he said.

Organization is more than an inherited personality trait; it’s a time investment that, with a little effort on your part, can become a way of life.

Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, it will save you time and keep you on top of things in the long run.

So next time you walk into a clean and organized dorm room, who knows? You just might be walking into your own.