Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tip of the Week by Zoë

Hey everyone. I hope all your homes have been restored to full power (and heat!) firstly, and secondly that you had no major damage, and thirdly that your internet and cell services are back.

For today's Tip of the Week, I'm going to talk a bit about what makes a good schedule. Only you can determine the most important factors for YOU in creating the perfect class schedule, but here are a few points to think about:

  1. Balancing times and days. Are you a morning person? Do you really need to eat at a certain time? It can be really helpful to establish a routine, and having classes daily often works better for students than having an exhausting couple days of the week. Maybe you have a class you need to take at 9:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It might be helpful to pick up a Tuesday-Thursday class at similar time, so you're waking up the same time every day.
  2. Gen Ed requirements. If it's your first year, you've heard a lot about general education requirements really recently. If you're not a first year, you might not have. Either way, it's good to be aware of what you have left to do AND the time to do it in.
  3. Major and Minor or Exploration courses. If you have an academic plan - a declared major or minor or certificate - then you certainly want to be continually working towards that. Not all classes are offered every semester so be aware of when you need to be taking your requirements. If you're looking into academic plans, you'll want to experience as many of your interests as possible so that you can make a decision in time to graduate. Don't worry so much about general education classes if you're undeclared. It's great if you can explore majors and fulfill general requirements simultaneously, but this won't always be possible and you shouldn't worry about it. Figure out what you want to do!
  4. Variety. If your brain is anything like mine, it'll start feeling overloaded if it takes four English classes in one semester. Consider mixing right and left-brain classes. Or maybe you're someone who wants to concentrate on one thing. Pay attention to what works for you.
  5. Class style. You won't always be able to pick, especially for your requirements, but you can look out for class sizes and methods of instruction. What kind of class environment do you prefer? Do you like discussions? Readings? Do you perform well in classes with only three tests, or constant homework? Sometimes you won't be able to tell if the class style is problematic until you go to the first lecture. Other times you'll be able to tell from the description. If you have to take a class that doesn't seem like it will be a good fit, perhaps you should connect with the professor early on to help the situation. Just be aware of yourself and don't wait until it's too late to ask for help.

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