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Old 07-31-06, 09:14 PM
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Organizing for College Success

This thread is for tips, suggestions, ideas, and personal experiences that have worked for you in college.

Share what did not work and why-we learn from that too.

key areas I can think of for a starter list

Organizing for a research paper
Manuvering the system
Arranging for accommodations
taking notes
keeping track of assignments
commuting and not forgetting
dorm living
time management or how to avoid last minute frenzies and late work.

Add your ideas
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Old 07-31-06, 09:29 PM
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Well, I'm actually hoping to get some advice but I can tellyou what hasn;t worked for me.....


Desk organizers. I end up having clutter on my desk that doesn't fit into any of the oddly shaped compartments in these things so I still have a cluttered desk.
I have a very small desk. Does anyone have tips for limited space?

I am an art student so I have a lot of supplies and not enough space to store it all. Anyone have space saving tips in that area as well?

I just purchased a digital voice recorder for lectures, because I enjoy getting involved in the discussion but I can't write notes at the same time. I have high hipes for it. And I think its going to help a lot. I spent 50 dollars on it whichc sounds like a lot but I think it will be worth it. Some recorders are VERY expensive...upwards of 170 dollars. But think about how much memory you are actually going to need. If you don't need 50 hours of Hi definition sound dont pay extra for it.
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Old 07-31-06, 11:40 PM
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The Rolling Computer/Briefcase, Don't leave home without it.

Communter Student - Adapt for On-Campus Student also works for Teachers, and other jobs.

I commuted for three years and found my rolling computer/briefcase the essential item for me. Even if I had lived closer, I still needed all the same stuff. I didn't always take my laptop, but always took the case. On wheels, because the stuff weighs too much to carry. I tale the same case to school when I teach. Go to online luggage stores to find a good one at a good price. Then look at them in the stores to see which you like best and buy one with the lowest price.

Mine is an Atlantic in red, so I know it is mine-I was working and had some money. You can get a good one for $40-$50 at the mart and office stores too. My case is an overnighter with extra room. I don't have to carry a purse to worry about losing. The case locks too. It has a mesh cup holder that fits a bottle or coffee cup. A separate computer sleeve, and lots of zippered pockets that keep stuff in place. It is my second brain.

Stuff in my rolling case, (keep a mini tote than can be a purse when you need one, if you are female) I highlighted things in red that I think are life-savers and not everyone thinks of taking, I learned some of this the hard, ADD way. :
  • Car keys on a neckstrap with carabiner clipped to the handle so they show-that way I know I have them. Add a mini flashlight and coach whistle for safety at night.
  • Laptop a separate sleeve is nice-if the case is full, you can slip it over the case handle.
  • Wallet, I added a neck-strap and carabiner to mine
  • Notebooks/folders-Color code by class, a great visual clue, label
  • Ringbinder-thread on the ringbinder of sanity later.
    • Class syllabi
    • Handouts
    • Assignment/Project directions
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, sharpener-keep all in a pencil bag.
  • Water bottle and Coffee cup-clip on a separate holder if you need too
  • Textbooks-don't always need them for every class.
  • Jump or flash drive-essential-on neckstrap with carabiner
  • Computer Power cord-got an extra so I didn't forget, keep it in the case.
  • Writeable CD's for sharing group work
  • Snacks-like granola bars-in a zipper pouch
  • Extra cash and change-Keep a $5 or a $10 tucked away in case you need food or gas. Trust me, it is wise.
  • Extra car key (should have had this-is a must) keep with the cash.
  • Clear pastic bank envelopes for final papers and homework-keeps things clean and unwrinkled. 10 packs at office supply stores.
  • Clear pastic bank envelope for; library receipts-keep 'em all, anything university related but not class related, i.e. bursar receipts.
  • Cell phone and cord-again an extra
  • Medications in a make-up bag-Use your current med bottle and put the ones at home in an old bottle. Keep them filled. Take OTC's you need too.
  • MP3 or cdplayer for study times-blocks out distractions
  • Calendar-PDA-Planner or something to keep your due dates etc on.
  • Other needed electronics-recorder, camera, calculator whatever your classes require.
  • Umbrella
  • Office supply kit -Mini stapler, scissors, paper clips, etc - very handy-keep in zipper pencil case or make-up case
  • Travel alarm clock-they are small and very, very handy when you need a nap, about $10 or less
  • Extra reading or scrip glasses or contact lense solution.
See why it has to have wheels? I am on my 3rd case since 2000. That is why I spent more on #3.

Most important thing to remember:
Every night, when you are done studying, pack everything back in your case and put by the door you use. Lay glasses on top if you need to.You will sleep much better, not worrying about getting it ready in the AM. Just get up, shower, eat, get the kids off if you have them, grab your case and go to school. Begin your day with low stress!

Add your lunch box with a carabiner-I love those things, perfect for not losing stuff, and fun too. If I had not had this case-I would not have been sane. A cheap messenger bag is handy for overload days or library books. About $20 at your local mart or office supply.

RADD-So you can roll into school and live less stressed.
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Old 07-31-06, 11:46 PM
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[quote=Aizlyne]Well, I'm actually hoping to get some advice but I can tellyou what hasn;t worked for me.....

I am an art student so I have a lot of supplies and not enough space to store it all. Anyone have space saving tips in that area as well?
[quote]

I use an old tackle box for my art supplies, one has drawing supplies, another has watercolor supplies, and so on and so forth.
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Old 07-31-06, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chele77

I use an old tackle box for my art supplies, one has drawing supplies, another has watercolor supplies, and so on and so forth.
Go to one of those marts or a sporting goods store, there are lots of cool boxes for fishermen that are awesome for art students. You could find exactly what you need. They have moveable plastic dividers that let you custom fit the spaces. I use them to organize my sewing supplies that I carry with me.

Roll-up fabric brush holders are good and protect expensive brushes. Just don't but that really expensive stuff, find lower cost things. You are a starving artist student-save you money for good art materials.

RADD
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Old 08-01-06, 12:21 AM
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RADDmom -

Hi there!
in addition to what I can add, here's a thread I started a while ago about studying:
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12764


Organizing for a research paper: omg. I had 3 research papers in this 8 week class I'm just finishing up. Don't wait until last minute. Sometimes it can be so difficult finding the literature you need to back up your paper. Outlines help.

Manuvering the system: be aggressive, but don't be a jerk. If you're not getting what you need, don't be afraid to tell someone. If you don't communicate your needs they won't be able to help you.

Arranging for accommodations: call disability services as soon as you get to college, if not before school starts!!! Don't wait.
When you go to ask for accomodations, have an idea of what you'd like and ask what they offer.
Bring with you: proof of diagnosis.
Have your doc give you a copy of the tests done to diagnose you and any recommendations for accomodations. I had my doc write in that I wanted unlimited test time and in an isolated room. This pretty much ensured I got what I asked for.

taking notes: having a laptop computer helps, then again, it can be distracting. But I've found I can type much much faster than I can handwrite, therefore I am able to keep up with the lecture. When I used notebooks, I used color gel pens and highlighters. It helped me organize the information better.

keeping track of assignments: at one point in time I had a PDA, which was very nice. But, it crashed. I have a date book I take with me where ever I go!
I haveeach class (or work) in a different color so it was visually easy to see what was due when. I just downloaded Mozilla's Sunbird (it's free), which is an excellent calendar.
At one point I had a calendar dry erase board (in a high traffic area in my apartment) to see if I liked it better than my day planner, again, using different colors for different classes/tasks. I liked this a lot. It was easy to reference to see what was due and when tests were.

commuting and not forgetting: I have extra sticky post it notes EVERY WHERE with reminders of things I need to get done.

dorm living: Can be very distracting, but such an amazing experience!! If you're going to be in a dorm, get a hold of your roommate early to discuss what each of you can bring. You also get an idea as to what he/she is like.
Set ground rules. This is SO important! My freshman year my roommate had her bf sleep over almost every night until I finally put my foot down.
Communication is huge, don't let things get so bad that you're gonna blow up at your roomie.
Remember to treat people as you want to be treated.

time management or how to avoid last minute frenzies and late work:

I check my day planner often throughout the day. I use 2 alarm clocks to make sure I wake up on time. Plan. Plan. Plan. Structure is our best friend!! It helps us ADDers out a lot.

We definitely underestimate how long it takes us to do things. If you think it's going to take 10 minutes to get to class, plan for 20 minutes.
Do your work. Just get it done. IMO, i think it's a mistake to ask for extended time on an assignment (or for accomodations). We tend to procrastinate A L O T and asking for extended time for assignments might just give you extended time to procrastinate.

Meeting New People, Try New Things:
Be adventurous! College is such an amazing experience. To meet new people (and to try new things) join intramural sports. Even if you suck it's so much fun!! When I was in school for my undergrad I played intramural volleyball and broom ball. I wanted to play rugby, but my swim coach said he'd kick me off the team if I joined, because you can easily get hurt playing it.

If you're not into sports there are other activities to be involved in, for instance, each dorm usually has a student committee, there are political organizations, music, art, etc. Your major probably has an organization, check into it!!
(it all looks great on a resume too and might be able to get scholarships because you're an org.)

Study Abroad: if your school offers it, check it out and seriously consider. I don't regret much, but I really regret not studying abroad. One of my cousins went to Africa for spring break, another spent 6 months in Australia and 4 months in France.
It's fairly cheap and you get to have an adventure.

Classes:
Don't overload yourself with too many difficult classes. Sit down at the beginning and figure out what classes you need and when they're offered. If you do this, when you come close to graduation time there will be little chaos with figuring out classes.

Every semester, I made sure I registered for 1 fun class. I wanted something I knew I'd really enjoy and it broke up the monotony of difficult, boring classes. Some of the fun classes I took: rock climbing, ballroom dance, jazz dance, aerobics, movement as meditation and tae kwon do.
** Remember: it's easy to lower your GPA and very difficult to raise it


College isn't just about academics, it's an experience. Work hard and have fun!!

I hope this helps!
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Last edited by livinginchaos; 08-01-06 at 12:32 AM..
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Old 08-01-06, 12:26 AM
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Good article Chaos, I wish I had known all this when I got my BS, way back in time, way before ADD was a common diagnosis. Should be a great help to a lot of people.
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Old 08-01-06, 02:20 AM
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Thanks LC, Chele and RADD! I really appreciate it.
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Old 08-02-06, 03:04 PM
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If anyone here uses a Mac, take a look at DEVONthink!!! http://www.devon-technologies.com

I've just started dumping saved webpages, PDFs, AIM conversations, e-mails, reports I've written... everything goes in.

It has a semantic AI that looks at everything and finds relationships among it all, among all manner of other things that I haven't begun to figure out yet. When it comes to doing research though, it feels like a secret weapon, seriously.

And now that I'm using it to put together a bulletproof organizational system for myself (Getting Things Done - based), I can't wait to take on this semester!
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Old 08-02-06, 05:24 PM
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THanks NZ, unfortunatly I have a PC, but thank you for the info, Lots of people will be albe to use it!
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Old 08-07-06, 11:22 AM
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wow RADDMom, thanks for directing me here.
Way too much for me to process right now ...

but I'm all about the rolling laptop case ... since I have back problems, my co. bought me this one , with lots of pockets and it even came with a list of suggestions of where to keep what. No case for water bottle, but I clip that to the side or put a shoulder bag with personal stuff (food!) on top of the rolly.
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Old 08-07-06, 03:39 PM
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Can anyone tell me how much the rolling laptop cases run? I have limited funds and may have to come up with a cheaper ulternative to it if it is too much. The messenger bag sounds like a good idea. Thanks guys
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Old 08-07-06, 11:10 PM
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Rolling cases are at the cheap marts for $30-40, they will last quite a while. All my stuff is way to heavy to carry and I have severe neck arthritis and an old compression fracture. They also have rolling backpacks which would work just as well. I go for the professional look at my age. You young uns might like the backpacks.

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Old 08-08-06, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RADDmom
Rolling cases are at the cheap marts for $30-40, they will last quite a while. All my stuff is way to heavy to carry and I have severe neck arthritis and an old compression fracture. They also have rolling backpacks which would work just as well. I go for the professional look at my age. You young uns might like the backpacks.

RADD
You're never too old to look hip
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Old 08-08-06, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizlyne
You're never too old to look hip
Ah, not sure if you were just joking here and I might be missing an old inside joke, but I think RADDMom has a point a lot of us ADDers miss. In many contexts, backpacks come across as unprofessional.

Appearance is an area where it's relatively easy to conform to the expectations of those around us, and a professional / appealing appearance makes it easier for others to let some of our less easily changed quirks slide.
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