Whether you’re starting college this fall, or heading back for another year, there’s plenty to get done before you step foot on campus again. You’re probably picking out classes, making your list of books to buy, and filling up your social calendar. With so much to do, inside and outside the classroom, now’s the time to get yourself organized and set yourself up for success. Put your laptop and smartphone to use and create a personal organization system that will keep you ahead of the curve, all semester long. Here’s some digital tricks and apps we recommend as you head back to campus.
- Get organized. The beginning of the semester can be overwhelming, especially as you’re handed over lengthy syllabuses filled with reading assignments, reports and exams scheduled through the end of the year. The bright side is that there are plenty of options to getting everything organized. Try Wunderlist to help you schedule and prioritize your to-do list, and check out Evernote for note taking and file organization to keep your schoolwork aligned and set yourself up for a successful semester.
- Keep track of your spending. College students are often on a budget, which can be a challenge when you’re trying to be social and have fun but still manage to pay for books, meal plans and campus parking. Using an app like Mint that tracks your spending, is an easy way to get a better understanding of what you’re spending money on and learn how to create and maintain a realistic budget.
- Use a cloud file sharing service. Between group projects, studying in the library, doing homework in your dorm, you have to keep track of and share hundreds of files. Getting set up on a file sharing platform like Google Drive, Box or Dropbox will make this so much easier, as your files can automatically sync to the cloud and be accessed from any device. You’ll have access to your files whenever you may need them. Just be sure to turn on two-factor authentication for added protection of your stored files.
- Take care of yourself. Hectic class schedules, late nights up studying or hanging out with friends are often to blame for healthy habits falling by the wayside while at school. Monitor your sleep and steps with your Fitbit app – you can even start a friendly competition with friends to help with motivation! Also, track your meals with MyFitnessPal to help get yourself back on a healthy path. To boost your focus and reduce stress, try adding short meditations to your day with Headspace.
- Be cautious of your privacy and cybersecurity. With so much to keep track of online — from your campus email to checking accounts and social media networks — having a single place to safely store all of your login credentials is a must. Using a password manager like LastPass makes streaming and accessing online accounts easier than ever. It encrypts your login information and saves it in a secure vault in your browser or on your mobile device.
And don’t forget that LastPass offers 6 months of free Premium credit to students: https://lastpass.com/edu so be sure to sign up. Find other services or apps that offer freebies and discounts for college students in Lifehacker’s recent article.
The close of summer can be a bit of a downer, but gearing up for another year on campus is exciting. Taking the time now to get organized and prepare for the semester will give you a big confidence boost, and give you the best possible start to what we’re sure will be a great year. Good luck!