I know some people suggest waiting to get textbooks until the first week of classes. That the professor for that class will tell you if you actually need it or not. At least at Kansas State, if it says you need the textbook, you probably need the textbook. Unless the textbook is crazy expensive, or you’ve talked to a friend who has already taken the class, get the textbook wayyyy in advance. What I do is order from Amazon.com, and pick the cheapest one. It usually takes a month of so to get here, but its super cheap. (i.e. I got a $50 textbook for $8; totally worth it. I attached screen shots of the book I got for cheap. Now, it’s too close to the school starting that you can’t get it for that cheap!)
Also, when you do get your textbook, read the first chapter, or even the first few pages. Make sure this class isn’t going to be way over your head. If you can’t even understand the first few pages, maybe you need to set up a tutor, or do a little pre-studying before the class starts. It may sound like it’s a little much, but it keeps the stress down for me knowing I’m not going to be overloaded with a bunch of material that sounds like French to me.
Keep your classes separated.
Whether you hand write your notes or type them, keep all your classes separated. It makes me cringe when I see someone use one notebook for all classes. I use OneNote from Microsoft Office to take notes. This has tons of awesome features! You can record a lecture in class as you take notes. When you go back to listen to the lecture, it will follow along with the notes you were typing during that time in the lecture. You can also share these notes with other people in the class. (There is an option to allow editing or read only) In most of my classes, the teacher asks a student to send notes to a student who is disabled or has trouble taking notes during class. I can just allow them to see the notebook and BAM. They have my updated notes for the rest of the year.
You can separated your classes into different “notebooks.” I make a notebook a different class, or even clubs, to make it easy to find what I need.
You can also have different sections. I use this for before midterm and after midterm. You can separate these into tons of different things, but this is what works for me. The sections are the tabs at the top of the document. Finally, you can make different pages. These are on the right side of the screen. I use these for different lecture topics or chapters of a textbook. Below I have inserted a screen shot of a page of my notes. (I green highlight anything my professor hints will be on the test.)
Plan to do assignments and papers.
A big problem most students have with getting assignments done on time is they only write that assignment on the due date in their calendar. If you know you have free time during days before the assignment is due, write that assignment down! That way when you look at that day, you can be reminded to at least start that assignment or paper.
Put yourself in an environment where you like to get stuff done!
If you get distracted easily at home, don’t study at home. I like to go to coffee shops; I can focus, I have a constant source of food or drinks, no one (usually) talks to me, and I am energized by well tasting coffee. (Shout out to Arrow Coffee Co.)
Have “Get Yourself Together” days.
Okay, this is something I completely made up for myself, but it works for me. If I know I have nothing to do on a certain day, (Say after church on Sunday) I have a “get myself together” day. Basically, from the time I can start, I don’t watch Netflix, I don’t nap, I don’t lay in my bed on Pinterest, I do things that are going to help me out for that week. I do laundry, dishes, make my bed, write things in my planner, take out the trash, run errands, pay bills, go grocery shopping… ya know, adult stuff. Usually, once I get a couple things done, I get on a roll. I then want to do more and more stuff. The best part is when you come home from errands and the house is clean, there are clean dishes and clean clothes and you get a refreshing feeling.
All you have to do is find out what makes you an organized person, and do that. It’s different for every person, but if you get in a routine, everything gets easier.