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Sound Writing

Subsection 10.4.3 School Meets Life

A lot of what you’ll be doing in college revolves around school, but there are lots of other parts of your life where keeping organized will make everything more relaxed and productive. Here are a few tips.
List 10.4.3. Strategies for Organizing Email
Once you start college, you’ll likely have at least two email addresses: your personal one and your university account, and having multiple accounts means that it’s helpful to have a plan for keeping on top of those new demands.
  • Decide how you want to use your different accounts—there are different approaches.
    Some people prefer to keep things strictly school vs. personal, and that makes it easier when you graduate and don’t use your university account any more. Some people like everything being mixed together, because that makes it easier to just check one account. Regardless of your strategy, you’ll need to check your university email, since you’ll get emails from professors and from the school there.
  • Don’t keep thousands of unread messages in your inbox.
    If this is already the state of your email, clear/mark as read your unread messages. Before you do this, make sure there are no important unread messages, because it’s easy to forget about them once they’re marked “read.” It’s different for each type of email, but a quick online search will get you step-by-step instructions.
  • Check your email at least once a day while you’re enrolled in classes and at least every few days during other times if you’re expecting contact from anyone.
    During the school week, it’s helpful to check at least once in the morning and once in the evening, as professors will generally inform you about assignments or changes to the syllabus via email. If your morning class is canceled, you don’t want to miss the chance to sleep in because you didn’t check your email!
List 10.4.4. Strategies for Organizing Digital Files
Part of being an adult is learning how to deal with all of the important papers that will come your way—and all the important papers you’ll need to hang on to for when you want to get a job after graduation. Think about what documents are in your life and divide them into categories, so you can always access something if you need it.
  • Keep track of potential career information.
    Keep a running list of the places you’ve worked, the dates you worked there, and your supervisors’ names and contact info—along with the more polished versions of this information (resumes, cover letters for past applications, personal statements). This folder is likely to expand and may need to have more sections within it.
  • Keep track of medical and financial information.
    Organize forms you need for taxes, scholarship information, really anything having to do with money or your health.
  • Keep track of miscellaneous activities you’ve participated in.
    Toss programs and other evidence from things you’ve done in college into a folder so that you can reference them later on. Being in clubs and sports and music and plays and organizations in college is fun, but it also helps you develop skills that are helpful later on. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be useful to say in a job application that you have rehearsed and performed in 43 orchestral pieces or that you managed $3700 in student government club funds. You never know what you might want to use as evidence later on in a job application, but you definitely can’t reference something you can’t remember!
Then, do the same with your physical documents. If you don’t want to hang on to the paper copy, you can scan things for free at your university library. Your filing system doesn’t have to be anything overly complicated. Label the files with the same names as on your computer and add any additional categories you need.