Desk with a computer, stationary and open text books.

Getting organised

By Olivia Applewhite, 1st year Law student.

I like to be organised, and after what feels like fifty ‘introductory’ lectures and seminars this term, it’s safe to say that most of my lecturers want this quality in all of us.

What does it mean to be organised though? Everyone works so differently that there’s no one method that works for us all. I’ve personally had an acute obsession with stationery for as long as I can remember, but it doesn’t mean that because I have brand new highlighters with gel ink and clear nibs so I don’t highlight further than I intend to (they are amazing, just saying) that suddenly I fall into this category of ‘organised’.

First and foremost, it takes a little thought and time.

A tidy, clean area to work in is definitely the first thing I would preach to anyone who wants to get organised. It needs to be somewhere at home, but it doesn’t have to be extravagant.

Even if you don’t have space in your room for a desk, a simple set of drawers so that you can give ‘space’ to each one of your modules is really useful – but you have to make sure you keep using them. I think it’s also really important to get into the habit of unpacking your bag every time you get home.

I’m a self-confessed nerd, and (perhaps being a mature student) am wholly dedicated to my studies, but even I have days when I feel utterly exhausted, and have to make an effort to put everything back in its ‘place’.

If nothing else, doing this means that even if you do wake up with ten minutes until your lecture or seminar, you can grab everything out of a particular drawer, shove it in a bag and get out of there.

But I bet you are thinking; “Okay, Ollie – doesn’t it take you forever to figure out which drawer is which and which notes belong to which module?” Yeah, I’ve already thought about that.

Perhaps I took it to an extreme, but I decided to give each module its own colour. Tort Law is yellow. (I decided this. No idea why. Because sponge cakes are yellow?) I have a yellow drawer, a yellow ring binder, yellow lined paper, yellow document folders.

The only thing I really felt was missing was a yellow board pen that shows up clearly, but I substituted it for black (mostly because I didn’t have any other colours to use).

Which brings me on to another point that works for me. I keep a list of ‘stuff’ that I need to do.


Lastly, but not least. I have a DIARY. It comes with me everywhere, not just to write the locations of seminars and lectures, but so that I can write in the social events of ALL the societies I’ve shown interest in.

I’m sure – when I start getting deadlines for work that it will be useful to note those in my diary too – but mostly, it means that I can look at a physical representation of my ‘daily life’ and work out where I need to be, when I have time to study, and when I can go off and do other things I like doing.

Like going shopping for colour co-ordinated stationery supplies.

This article is featured on Learning at Lincoln.