The semester is winding down. Before you pile everything up and forget about it for the break, here are a few things to clean up now (while you still remember what it all is).
- Get rid of drafts - Keep the final version of all your papers and projects, at least until your grades are posted, but delete and/or throw out any drafts you may have laying around. They add no value and clutter up your hard drive and your life.
- Recycle any articles you won’t need – Most of what you get can be tossed. If you aren’t sure, record the bibliographic information in a program like Zotero. Then you can find it again later if you need it.
- Sell back your books – Unless you are taking a continuation next semester where you need the book for reference, sell it back. You are better off getting fresh information in the future if you need it. In the meantime, get the money and get rid of the clutter.
- Flip through your notes, handouts, etc. and get rid of most of them – Keep only the things that are very well put together and which you can never easily find again. For example, if your teacher created a really good summary document on a topic, keep it. But regular notes, syllabi, ancillary materials etc. can go. (Take it from an old graduate student, you will never look at any of it again.)
- Get rid of half-broken/used supplies – That stapler that only works some of the time? Get rid of it. Stuck pen? Toss it. Notebook with 5 blank pages left? Rip the blanks for scrap and get rid of it. You will be more efficient next semester if you are working with good tools, and you are better off with 2 pens that work well than 10 that only work sometimes. Office supplies are inexpensive; ask for them in your stocking.
- Put what is left away – Books on a book shelf, final versions of papers and other assignments in a folder, supplies in a drawer or box, etc.
- Clean-up your calendar – Unless you have the exact same class schedule next term, you probably need to do some calendar maintenance.
- Clean up and clear your desktop – Both electronic and physical. Get everything put away, get your electronic desktop clear, run full virus and spyware scans, deinstall software that was specific to a class and either get rid of or archive old email and class files
A little time now will give you a clean slate for next semester and let you relax over the holidays. Both of which will help you be more productive and successful next semester.
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