Social Media

Kelleen Cullison

How To Get Organized (Even If You Already Are)

by Keleen Cullison | Oct 26, 2016

College is a whole new ball park when it comes to keeping your life together. At least it is for me. I really don’t like feeling like I’m missing out when events happen on campus or clubs get together, so I tend to join pretty much everything. In some ways, that’s great! I get to be involved. People recognize me on campus. Making sure I’m busy keeps me from dwelling on being away from home, or on the fact that this is the first time I’ve been in a community where I haven’t known everyone my entire life, because that can feel pretty lonely too. In other ways though, keeping so busy can be completely overwhelming. It can feel like there’s nothing going on one week, and then EVERYTHING is going on the next. There’s schoolwork, and club meetings, and my jobs, and VIA’s, and not everything is due at once but it’s still due so half the time I just sit there procrastinating, thinking of everything I have to do, and not knowing where to start!

So I’m stuck between feeling sad when I have nothing to do, and totally overwhelmed when I do. It’s like I can’t win!

It’s what I want to do though. I want to be busy and involved, and so to do that, I’ve had to shift the way I organize; going from organizing just my schoolwork, to having to manage my entire life! It’s a work in progress, but I’ve had to come to some hard truths (finally!) in order to stay happy and busy (without going crazy)

  1. I can’t keep my schedule in my head.

    I’ve always relied a lot on my memory to get me by. It’s come in handy in school, and for tests, and I’ve never had to worry about forgetting when something was due, because it was the only thing on my mind. That’s not the case at college. I never have just one test coming up, but three, plus a paper, and a blog assignment, and the list goes on. When I try to keep it all in my head, something ends up slipping through the cracks, and I won’t remember I had a paper to write until the last minute (or worse, as the professor is asking for it!).

    - Keep a To Do list in your phone

    - Keep a Planner

    - Keep a Sticky Note on your computer (I use Tabs for a Cause as my default, there’s a Sticky Note Setting on its customize page)

    - Keep Sticky Notes in your dorm

    - Keep multiple reminders everywhere and check them regularly. They work as safety nets, to keep anything from being forgotten.

  2. Prioritize
    Sometimes you can’t do everything. There might be a club meeting and a VIA and one comes right after the other, but you also have a test the day after tomorrow. Will you have time to study tonight? Will you be okay if you don’t study until the last minute? It’s important to know yourself and how you study. I have to remind myself all the time that if I don’t make the grade, I won’t be around to do any of this other stuff.

  3. Utilize your time wisely.
    There are some things you can’t schedule. Maybe you want to eat dinner with friends, but they have a class until 6 that day and you set that time aside to study. Maybe there’s a MAC event you didn’t know was going on tonight, but you have a test in the morning. Having to miss out on that stuff can be really disappointing. But, by taking the time to study instead of scrolling through your news feed in your free time while you have it, like that hour between Chem and Psych, you might not have to miss things in the evening. Making conscious decisions to do work while you can, can save you a lot of disappointment later.

    In some ways college is easier. You have less class time, and more time to work than in high school. But you’re also going to be given work to fill that free time, which YOU are responsible for getting done. Your schedule is going to need to be adjusted, just like everything else, once you get to college.

Kelleen Cullison ’20 is pursuing an English major and minors in Journalism and Peace Studies. She hopes to work as an editor for a publishing company, and hopes to help current and prospective Manchester students avoid the mistakes she is currently making.