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The college student organization guide for incoming freshman.

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

The transition from high school to college is an exciting time filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for personal growth. As you embark on this journey, developing effective organizational skills, establishing a well-balanced schedule, and aligning your actions with your values and goals become essential for a successful and fulfilling college experience. In this blog post, we will explore strategies and insights that can help first-year college students navigate their initial year with confidence, purpose, and intention coupled with insights from my experience getting my bachelors from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Get ready for Mason's college student organization guide.

Embrace the Power of Organization:

The Benefits of Organization:

By being organized during your first year of college, you're setting a healthy precedent for the rest of your college career. If you're overwhelmed now, bite the lemon and invest in a system of organizing you days, weeks and months.

Setting Up a Study Space:

Create an environment that is conducive to you doing your best work. For me, it was study rooms in my university library. These private rooms were a place away from my dorm that I could cultivate awareness and focus in a different environment.

Mastering Time Management:

Prioritizing Tasks:

As a college student, you're going to have more responsibility than you've probably ever had to manage. Assignments, commitments to clubs, greek life or other campus orgs and trying to find your social niche can be overwhelming. It's important to disrupt the cloud of overwhelm all of these tasks can thrust onto you. Start by prioritizing the most important assignments and commitments first. Then work on things that you can do today to save you stress and work later. Finally make sure you put intention into creating new relationships and experiencing what college has to offer you.

Creating a Balanced Schedule:

We all hear about the term balance, but few of us actually have it. Balance is hard to put it simply. There will be many things vying for your attention during college. This is where self awareness comes into play. By knowing yourself and your goals you will have a north star to guide your schedule. When going through your days

you'll have to make sacrifices today to aid you tomorrow. So when you're weighing finishing your assignment or hanging out with friends on Thursday night, consider the fun you could have Friday without the stress of a looming assignment or test.

Avoiding Procrastination:

Procrastination, or Resistance as Steven Pressfield puts it, lives in all of us. Like the example I just gave, resistance doesn't say we can't get a good grade on our test, it just says we'll study later. Later becomes last second and before you know it, you're overwhelmed and flustered with the deadline breathing down your neck. This is why I recommend freshmen invest in a tool to keep their assignments and deadlines visually available to avoid that last second "oh Sh**" moment.

Aligning Actions with Goals and Values:

Identifying Your Values:

"Who are you?" is a question many of us don't take time to think about, and more importantly answer to ourselves. As a college freshman you probably don't know this for certain yet, don't feel bad. I definitely didn't either. To become self aware, start with a few principles that are unwavering to you. Do you tolerate dishonesty? Are you okay with feeling unfulfilled? What conversations make your heart beat quicker in excitement? The boring values we're taught young don't seem glamorous. In fact they are the sandpaper that polishes our character. Analyze who you're not, this may help you get a better idea of who you are, and who you want to become.

Setting Meaningful Goals:

Your goals should scare you. I'm not saying you need to expect accomplishments and standards you wouldn't give to yourself as an indifferent spectator. Based on your values or aims, generate a few goals that align with this new standard. You shouldn't set a goal that's not attainable for you, or one that you'll easily accomplish. Your goals could sound something like this:

  1. Getting a 3.8 + GPA during your freshman year

  2. Joining 1-2 interesting student organizations

  3. Making a new group of friends that you align with

  4. Beginning a dedicated study pattern or note-taking technique you haven't tried

These are just a few goals you may aspire to achieve during your freshman year, but whatever they are make sure that they align to you as a person.

Staying Accountable:

Self- assessment provides an opportunity for self-reflection, allowing you to identify areas of strength and areas that require improvement. It enables you to gauge your progress towards your goals, recognize any obstacles or challenges you may be facing, and make informed decisions about your next steps. By holding yourself accountable to your standards you advocate for yourself as a person, student and future professional.

Building Supportive Habits and Relationships:

Cultivating Positive Habits:

Your habits are the things that will keep you afloat during the hard parts of college. You're bound to face adversity in the form of personal stress/issues, demanding coursework and a lack of energy to balance yourself. Explore positive habits that work for you, these could include:

  1. PRIORITIZE YOUR SLEEP. You need it, trust me you operate so much better when you're well rested.

  2. Balanced Nutrition. By eating healthy, you're setting yourself up to feel better when things around you get hard. It's one of the best investments you could make in yourself.

  3. Stress Management. Find healthy outlets to manage your stress, these could include meditation, yoga, journaling, drawing, or just going on a walk around campus.

  4. Manage your environment. Find habit in keeping your living space clean. Your entire existence is contained in a dorm room now, keeping order there will inspire order in your life.

Seeking Support:

Utilizing campus advisors, mentors, and support systems is crucial for college students as it provides invaluable guidance, encouragement, and resources to navigate the challenges and maximize their potential. Campus advisors possess in-depth knowledge about academic requirements, course selection, and graduation planning, helping students make informed decisions about their educational journey. Mentors, on the other hand, offer personalized guidance, sharing their own experiences and insights to provide direction and support for personal and professional growth. Additionally, campus support services, such as counseling centers or career development offices, offer specialized assistance tailored to students' needs, whether it's managing stress, exploring career options, or enhancing study skills.

Nurturing Relationships:

This tip is very related to the last tip we talked about. I can vouch for the benefit of getting networked with clubs, campus orgs and professors. THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU'RE PAYING FOR WITH YOUR TUITION. If you expect opportunities and success to come to you naturally during college, you have to re-evaluate your strategy. One conversation can lead to another that leads to an opportunity, interest meeting or event that changes your life, major or career. The reason you're reading this post right now is because I went to one event where I met my future business counselor who propelled me to starting and actualizing this company.


Your first year of college is a pivotal time for personal growth, academic success, and the foundation of lifelong skills. By incorporating effective organizational strategies, mastering time management, aligning actions with goals and values, and building supportive habits and relationships, you can set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling college experience. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination, so embrace the opportunities that come your way, stay committed to your personal growth, and make the most of this transformative phase in your life.

As you embark on this exciting journey, having a tool that can assist you in staying organized, focused, and aligned with your goals can be immensely beneficial. Consider utilizing the N.O.W Daily Planner, a comprehensive daily planner brand designed to help you structure your days, set meaningful goals, and track your progress. With its activity pages for goal setting, habit building, and values alignment, the N.O.W Daily Planner can serve as a valuable companion throughout your college years. This daily planner has tools and features for every tip that we've talked about today. Remember, while a planner is just a tool, the real power lies in your commitment and dedication to your personal growth and success.

Embrace the possibilities that lie ahead, equip yourself with the right tools, and make the most of your first year of college. Your journey starts now—if you're looking for more tips and tools for navigating college and life click the button below.

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