Organized Charm: Top 10 Semester Essentials

Friday, August 30, 2013

Top 10 Semester Essentials





In honor of the completing the first week of the fall semester, here is a quick shopping list of everything I use to keep myself put together throughout the school year.

1. Planner. 
Clearly, nothing is more crucial for planning for the semester like… well, a planner. I love the kinds that have a month view AND a weekly view. Sometimes, all you may need is the monthly view and that’s fine. But, in every semester, there comes a week (usually before a big break or exams) where you are literally just trying to survive each day. For those weeks, it is super helpful to have the weekly view to break down in detail what needs to be done each day.

{Also: Tabs are amazing.}

2. Folder for each class. 
I used to go way overboard with this. Buying binders, sheet protectors, tabs, notebook paper, etc. Most of which never even got used. Since I am pretty familiar with the routine now, I know exactly what I need and it is so much easier for me to keep things simple. I grab one folder (yes, the ones with one pocket on each side) for each class. Target only has a billion (and I probably own all of them). On the left side, I keep the class syllabus on top and any upcoming/incomplete/in-progress work behind it. On the right side, I have a list of all of the graded assignments for that class. When I get grades back, I record them on the sheet then place the hard copy behind it.

3. Post-It’s. 
I swear I keep Post-It in business. They’re welcome. Post-It’s are the greatest way of staying on track and not getting surprised by any upcoming assignments. As soon as I get my hands on my syllabi for the semester, I create a Post-It for each individual assignment that I have to turn in, no matter how big or small. I post them on a bulletin board in chronological order. As I complete and turn in assignments, I toss its Post-It in the trash (even better, it feels like getting a gold star every time I do it). Plus, I love the feeling of seeing how much I’ve accomplished and how far I have left to go.

4. Post-It Tabs. 
I use these for studying. If a professor covers something in class (ESPECIALLY EXAMPLES IN THE BOOK), I create a tab and mark it immediately. This is the one habit I’ve picked up that I am thankful for again and again.

5. Mechanical Pencils. 
These are the best. In elementary, middle, high school, and undergrad, I hated writing in pencil. I couldn’t tell you why. During my first couple of years in college, I tried to color code my notes as I was writing them. I soon discovered that I am way too OCD for that. It seemed like such a great idea until my professors would go off of their outlines and mess my whole system up (don’t they know I’m trying to take flawless notes over here?). I would literally tear out the page and rewrite the whole thing. Mechanical Pencils make my life so much easier. They have this magical thing called an ERASER and they never have to be sharpened. Yay!

6. Notebook. 
I am really into taking notes. Even if the material is easy to understand. Even if I already know it. No matter what, I take notes. Why? To keep myself engaged in the class. If I am actively working on something the whole time, then I can stay focused. If not, I space out for about 20 minutes at a time. And now that I’m paying for my own classes, you better believe I want every ounce of information I can get!

7. Color Coded Pens. 
I buy the same brand over and over because I’m really obsessive about all of my pens matching. That way, if one color runs out, I can just replace it without buying a whole new pack. I use these for my time management. Because I’m crazy, I have four different calendars and each one is color-coded using a different system with these colors.

8. Highlighters. 
Duh.

9. Weekly Task Pad. 
I’m not sure of their official name, but these are the things in the front of Target with “Monday, Tuesday…” for $1. I hoard them. The one I’m actually using right now is a Vera Bradley one but it is almost finished and I have anxiety over which one to choose next. Every Sunday night, I write out my schedule for the week. This really keeps me on top of things that are not recurring (like bridal showers, meetings, tests, etc.). Plus, once I have my schedule written out, it never looks as busy as it seemed... and then I’m like, “Ok, I can do this”.

10. Flash Drive. 
If you are a college student, this is an absolute necessity. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to buy these often at all. I’ve had the same one for two years and it isn’t even close to being filled up. These can be pretty expensive, depending on the amount of storage. I ordered mine on Amazon right before Christmas and it was less than $20.

And those are my Top 10 Semester Essentials :)

What are your essential school supplies? Is there anything else I should add to my list?
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