My backpack every semester is always stuffed full of books, notebooks, planners and papers. I am one of the most organized people (or at least I would like to think so). If it weren’t for my organizational skills and everything I have in my backpack, I would not be the dean’s list student that I am now. There were some issues I had to figure out before getting my routine for each semester down, but I have it now and would love to share to help everyone, especially new students, be organized and succeed in college and help you get through the day!
1. Use binders as notebooks. Buy dividers for them and use them for either multiple classes or just one if there’s a lot to it, such as previous tests and exam reviews, notes, homework. Either way, they can be pretty cheap in plain colors at a local dollar store. Stock up!
2. Keep an umbrella handy. Even though I do not have to walk from a dorm across campus, I walk from building to building for classes throughout the day and weather can be unpredictable.
3. This is the most important item on my list— USE A PLANNER! I am so scatterbrained I forget things super easily. In order to help myself, each day I write my assignments, events and plans for the day down as well as my class schedule for the first week of classes with building and room number so I do not look silly wandering around and I never worry that I double booked myself or forgot an assignment was due or I had a test.
4. Keep an emergency baggie in your backpack, containing any feminine products (if necessary), band aids, Neosporin, some type of pain relief like ibuprofen or aspirin, hair ties, and maybe a snack for yourself in case you need something to get through the painful bio lab.
5. Always have a water bottle on you. I get dehydrated super easily so I usually am chugging water throughout the day, and its great to show off all of those free stickers college orgs love to pass out.
6. Another big thing I keep in my backpack at ALL times is my laptop and a charger, because I have PowerPoint notes on there for classes, and sometimes the professors will use technology or links during lecture
7. The next big item on my list is my accordion folder. I have everything I need for all of my classes in one central place, which is nice! I never have to swap out different folders on certain days for different classes and never risk forgetting anything I may need.
8. I swear by note cards. I use colored note cards to study for my classes for exams, and a little bit of organization goes a long way! For instance, if I am studying coding terms for a coding class, the note card will be pink and another portion of the class material might be yellow or green or orange. It is incredibly helpful.
9. Hand sanitize gel is also an essential, as everyone and their mother seems to get sick during the winter months. One person gets sick and it spreads like wildfire in the dorm hallways to teachers and other admin.
10. The last essential backpack items on my list is pencils and pens. That sounds like a no-brainer, but I use only pens and I have definitely gotten in sticky situations when taking a scantron test or in a math class. Luckily my friends or students sitting by me always let me borrow an extra pencil, so don’t make the same mistake I did.
I hope this helped you. Come into the school year ready to kick butt and prepared, and you will succeed! Getting organized at the beginning of the school year helps to stay strong throughout the semester.

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