The Importance of Being Organized

Organization is not just an inherent trait. It’s learned, too. Maybe you won’t have a chart of goals colored-coded by priority hanging over your desk, but you can (and will most likely have to) learn to keep your class assignments in order.

Disorganization always looks bad. When you open a binder and every handout for the class spills out onto the floor, it looks a little disrespectful. Many college professors will be offended by blatant disorganization in their classes. The expectations are simply higher in college. If your professor comes to class organized and prepared, you look like a fool if you don’t. No to mention, grading is always somewhat subjective.

Keeping track of different classes also becomes more confusing as your schedule gets more nuanced and specific. Even in the beginning, though, you are expected to have the right materials for each class. It helps to keep all of the books and notes and folders for each class somewhat separate so nothing gets lost. You can do that however works best for you. I always try to match the colors of my notebooks and binders/folders for each class to keep it all straight. Honestly though, it didn’t always work. One day I took the wrong folder and had to turn in late an assignment I’d finished long ago. You might also try having a binder for Tuesday-Thursday classes and another for Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes. However, that can get complicated depending on what you schedule actually is.

Getting yourself organized is more than just colors and folders. Long-term assignments can also be hard to keep track of. There’s nothing more terrifying than realizing in the middle of the night that you have a project due the next morning. Sometimes you can still get it finished, but disorganization is really not worth the risk of missing a large chunk of your grade.

I knew a lot of people who liked to keep all of their assignments on one, universal calendar. That way, they can see everything that is due on the same day or same week and plan accordingly. I never liked to take the time to transcribe syllabus after syllabus onto one page. Instead, I kept an updated list of assignments for each class in the front of each binder. As long as it’s easy to check what needs to be done and you don’t forget where you kept the information, any method will work.

Organization is really just good planning. If you have a designated place for everything you need, it’s not that hard to keep everything in place. It’s a bit more work at the beginning of the semester. But the amount of time and frustration you save in the long run will be worth the effort.

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