Avoiding College Chaos - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Campus Life College Preparation
September 7, 2020

Avoiding College Chaos

You’re at college. The semester is at its peak right along with your stress levels. The hectic college life that people had been telling you about has become your reality and you’re just waiting for Christmas break to come around.

Like usual, your slight addiction to procrastination forced you to stay up for a large part of your night in order to study for your 8 a.m. exam. After sleeping only three hours last night, your alarm clock wakes you up, beeping in the only cliché and annoying way it knows how too. As you’re eyes squint open, you can hardly tell that it is morning because the piles of dirty laundry by the window are stopping any rays of sunshine from coming through. You step out of bed, stumbling over some papers and pens you left on the floor for the past week and you walk to your desk loaded full of class handouts, books, dirty dishes, overdue library books and homework assignments.

Your exam starts in 30 minutes, so you need to quickly throw something on, grab your laptop, print out your overdue paper and head to class with all possible speed. However, there are a few problems with this battle plan. All your laundry is dirty except for what is on your body. Your laptop battery is drained because of last night’s study session. And your paper, which is already a week late, is currently stuck on the dead laptop.

Without hesitation, you throw on a dirty pair of sweatpants and a wrinkled t-shirt and you dash out the door. Unsure with what your professor will say about your proposal to hand in an already late paper even later, you rush to class. But when you get there, the room is empty. Confused, you text your friend and they say that the professor sent an email, informing all students that he decided to conduct the exam online.

It isn’t a surprise that you didn’t know. Checking your email is not something you complete on the daily, but at this point, you wish it had been. It’s only 8:00 in the morning but disorganization has ruined your day so far.

For a college student, being unorganized can really hinder an easy flow of daily functionality. You misjudged how much time it would take to finish the paper, so you stayed up past 3 a.m. You’re running late and forgot to print your paper for class tomorrow, so you still don’t have a copy to hand in. You didn’t remember to put things away so when you really need something, it’s not there for you to use.

Situations like these and others can put a damper on your day. Instead of making the most of your time, you’re stuck fixing mistakes and messes you made earlier. Sometimes, making a to-do list can be helpful in the process of organizing and planning what and when things need done.

To help prevent college chaos from occurring, I have decided to help you out on your first to-do list for college! The great thing about the to-do list is the fact that you can start it from the moment you set foot on campus. I know that there are so many things vying for your attention when you get to college, but take a moment and look at these important things to do. If you complete them, you might just save yourself from a ton of wasted time and a headache or two.

1. FULLY unpack and get settled

When arriving on campus, there are a lot of thing to distract you from the process of unpacking… but don’t let them! By taking the time to FULLY unpack and get settled before all the classes start, you will save yourself from the chaos of not knowing where all your stuff is later. Don’t leave those boxes of clothes, books and supplies just sitting there. Put it away, organize it, familiarize yourself with your new living situation, because later, you may not have the time or energy to.

2. Class Preparation

Let’s talk classes. Classes are the basics of college, however many students do not understand the importance of scheduling, locating, and preparing for them. By writing down information regarding your classes, you will be helping yourself form a sense of structure and organization. For freshmen to seniors, this principle rings true. Noting the name of the professor who teaches the course, the building where class will take place and the room number that the class will be in will make your first few weeks all the less stressful.

Along with your class location, writing down your class schedule is also a good idea. Don’t let it wait! Class schedules and work hours can get confusing so it is important to write them both down so you will not be double or even triple booking yourself. In fact, I think it is safe to advise to BUY A CALENDAR! Despite the common misconception, a physical copy of a calendar is not unhelpful or old school. Don’t believe me? Buy one, write down your typical weekly schedule and just wait and see how helpful it can be.

Last but not least, an important part of class participation and attendance includes school materials. This is IMPORTANT! For many people, this may bring them back to the good old days when their parent would go and buy cute little shaped erasers, notebooks, stickers and maybe even a brand-new backpack for them in honor of the first day of school. Sadly, we can no longer be reliant on mom and dad for our school supplies. As college students, we need to provide the necessary materials needed for class on our own. When college starts, you don’t want to have to worry about what you need. For the sake of your sanity, buy those notebooks, pens, folders, and course books ahead of time. Procrastinating will only leave you wishing you had thought ahead.

3. Be Technologically Competent

When college starts, there is a little bit of a quick adjustment that students have to make concerning technology. Geneva provides every student with free access to Office365 applications such as Outlook, Power Point, Excel, Teams, etc. These applications are very helpful during the semester so having them is a huge perk as a college student. Setting up or downloading these apps beforehand and knowing how to access them would also be one helpful maneuver that could send you off to an easier start to the semester.

Along with the familiarization of these applications, it would not be a bad idea if you took the time to log in and understand Geneva’s online learning site, mygeneva. Each student receives access to this website, and it is where student information, grades, course details and more are kept. Throughout your time at Geneva, you will eventually become quite educated in maneuvering through the mygeneva website, but getting a head start is always a plus.

4. Locating Local Locations

With the fact that you will be living in Beaver Falls for the rest of the semester, getting to know the area could prove to be quite helpful. You might need to get some supplies, some groceries or you may just really want to try out a new restaurant. Locating these places sooner rather than later never hurts. Familiarizing yourself with the area is also useful in the process of finding possible job opportunities outside of Geneva’s campus. On campus jobs do exist and they are very convenient work opportunities but sometimes the positions offered are just not what you are looking for. There are also a lot of different things to do outside of Geneva’s campus, it just takes some time to locate those place that you want to go and visit. So, why wait to locate those local locations? Get ahead in the game and start right now!


Not to be cliché or anything, but truthfully, you’re going to have an enormously boring time if you don’t enjoy your time at Geneva. To-do lists are great and they provide a solid foundation of an organized lifestyle, but if that is the only reason why you are going to do things then forget it. Just relax and enjoy yourself!

Can you live day to day hoping things will work out last minute? Yes you can. Is it a good idea? Probably not. Entering into a new semester is exciting, but it can also be a little overbearing.

There is so much to do and seemingly so little time to it all in. However, despite this dilemma, maintaining a mode of organization is key in college. Remaining organized is a tricky business, but it is possible. Now, will your world end if you don’t do all or some of these things… No! But throughout my years as a college student, I have found that getting these things done at the beginning of the semester is so much easier than if I waited. Preparation for what is to come later may seem pointless in the moment, but it isn’t.

Learn more about a Christ-centered, vocationally focused education at Geneva College by contacting Admissions (admissions@geneva.edu | 800-847-8255).

-Abigail Forton ‘22