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Checklist Self-Organization: Part 1

Once we enter higher education, self-organization becomes far more important than during high school. While you had a strong lead by teachers and parents there, you are more or less on your own at college or university. We are facing new challenges, enjoy more liberties, we have to make our own decisions, work more independently and are required to organize and structure our time, our days and weeks ourselves without much guidance. That’s why self-organization is an essential factor in our life as a student, especially when you study abroad. Here are some tips and advice on the topic in order to make the start into your master’s degree at our university a bit easier

Self-organization part I
  1. Making Friends

Contacts and friends are essential for every one of us, they can be useful in many ways. Especially for students, who are just starting to get familiar with a new country and a new city, a solid network of friends and fellow students is irreplaceable. Native friends are particularly helpful when you study abroad. It can be priceless for the development of your language skills to regularly meet up with German students, to exchange experiences and playfully learn better German on the side. Often so-called Sprach-Tandems find each other, where your German tandem-partner is learning your native language while teaching you his. Native fellow students know Bremen very well and can help you get acquainted with the city and the university. Students who have been with us for a while are familiar with the classes we offer, know the teachers and professors as well as the infrastructure and programs of our school on and off campus. You can study with them, do your homework together and enjoy free time with mutual activities. If you are lucky, fellow students can become friends for life.

  1. Time Management

Generally speaking, one day provides the same amount of time for everyone, it consists of 24 hours. This might sound quite trivial, but this available time can feel very distinct for each of us. When we are stressed out, time seems to run through our fingers without us getting any closer to our goal. If we feel relaxed and things are under control, it is going smoothly, and we reach what we had planned even without exhausting ourselves. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of guides on time management, and surely each of you has come across the topic before. Here are some important points, which obviously can be elaborated on in books and magazines, depending on your own personal needs.

Calendars and to-do lists help you divide your day, your week and your university year into manageable units and to structure your work accordingly. Simply writing down things is taking some weight off your memory and minimizes the risk of forgetting something important.

The right learning method can save you an enormous amount of time and nerves. We are sure each of you has had some experience during their school years and their bachelor’s degrees on how your brain clicks best and how you can memorize things well. That’s why you should always remind yourselves about these learning methods and apply them consistently, whether it is audio- or visual-oriented, by repetition, the use of distinct colors or using practical exercises on what you are learning.

Making a plan always helps, no matter if you study or take on other things. A plan divides bigger endeavors into simpler, doable units. It is possible that the plan will have to be adjusted once or twice in the process because one cannot foresee every contingency or obstacle from get go. A proven method is the so-called reverse plan or revers calendar, where you organize the steps from the accomplishment of the goal backwards in time and therefore avoid making an unrealistic plan. In any case, it is very important to consistently work through steps of the plan once it is made.

Being organized is essential in order to avoid chaos, unnecessary searching for things and therefore extra time and effort, which on top is stressful and jeopardizes our good mood. It starts with our workplace in our student room: Important things should be easy and quick to reach, so they do not distract us from our intellectual work. It is recommendable to establish fixed places for your things, that way you won’t have to think about where you left them.

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