As schools starts up again for most students this week or in the weeks following, I wanted to share some tips for staying organized with all of the papers that you or your children will be receiving! As a college senior and an education major, I'm literally always in some form of school (when I'm not at work), so I've got some golden nuggets of advice for y'all!
Let's start with parents of students. As your little ones go back to school, their teachers will need a lot of forms filled out and signatures from you. It can be overwhelming to keep track of which forms go back to which teacher, and it is especially difficult with multiple children but we can do it! My first piece of advice is going to be to keep a separate folder for each child and subfolders for each teacher. Keep these at home, and save any work or files in these folders. For the forms that need to go back, I suggest giving each child a folder that you will go through each day the first week of school. Most teachers set up elementary students with this, but if your teachers do not, I highly suggest it! Place all of their forms into the folder and remind your little ones to give them to the teacher. For parents of older students: I want to encourage you to take some time each week to spend with your student. Especially as teens start to drive, they spend less and less time with their families. So maybe choose one night per week that will be family dinner and let them tell you about their classes, their teachers, their friends, everything and really listen. It will change so much and help to ground your student as they go through changes in their friend groups, their own bodies and personalities, and as they age and mature.
For my highschoolers and college students: get a planner!!! High school and college are both difficult to keep track of so many classes, so I suggest getting an agenda (go look at a few styles and choose the one that will work best for you, Target has a lot!) and fill it out with a different color pen per class. Personally, I like to use an agenda with a monthly and weekly view. I put tests and major due dates on both the monthly and weekly views and daily homework and reading assignments in only the weekly view. To-do lists are also going to be lifesavers for you on weekends when you feel overwhelmed. I like to make my list on Thursday or Friday and start with a simple task to get the ball rolling. Soon enough, all of my projects and papers are complete and I don't have to stress as much during the week.
For taking notes, I would suggest colored pens and highlighters. Keeping things organized in your brain is going to be the best way to memorize and retain information. Use separate notebooks or separate sections for different classes. Everyone learns differently, but colors have been proven to be stimulators to the brain. So with that, highlighting important information and topics that you do not fully understand yet will be a great way to retain that information. Just make sure to go back over the notes and fill in more information on unknown topics before you start to study for a test!
For my college freshmen: this is a huge year for you!! I'm going to be honest with you. I failed my first test ever during my freshman year at A&M, but I still got a B in the class and I'm still graduating on time! One missed assignment or failed test will not hurt you enough to make you fail. The best advice that I can give you as you go into this year is to give yourself some grace. I personally go into each semester with a goal to read chapters before class, go to class everyday, and reread my notes every night and let me tell you - going into my last semester it has yet to happen. We aren't perfect and that is OKAY!! You will graduate and you will get a great job. My biggest reminder after I've failed a test or didn't study as much as I wanted to is that my grades do not define me. So give yourself a minute to rest when you need it and don't push yourself too hard! And if you ever need some advice or encouragement, hit me up! My other piece of advice for freshmen or anyone who needs it is to be sure to get enough rest!! It may seem like pulling an all-nighter is the only way to cram all of your information into your brain, but that's not good for you!! Your brain needs time to rest and get rid of waste, which it does at night while we sleep. If you are eating well, drinking lots of water, and sleeping a minimum of 7 hours per night, you will be able to retain more information and you'll also be on your way to avoiding the freshman 15! Keeping a routine is going to be the key to your success. What I like to do is give myself a bedtime (yes I really do this). I tell myself that I will work on school things until 11, but then it's time to get ready for the next day and go to sleep by 11:30. This is especially useful when I'm studying for an exam.
Y'all we've got this year in the bag!! What are some of your tips and tricks to staying organized?