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Thursday, June 01, 2023

Searching for the perfect schedule

Everyone encounters their first big challenge of the day first thing in the morning. You’re in bed sleeping. It's early morning, or, you know, 10 a.m. which is pretty early by some standards. All of a sudden a noise starts to invade your consciousness. You become aware of this horrible sound that is distracting you from the sweet slumber we all crave. Then your eyes pop open as you realize that sound is your alarm and you have to get up for class.

Last semester, I started every morning with an internal debate. Should I get up for class or sleep in? Thankfully, this semester all of my classes take attendance so skipping is no longer an option for me. But for many it is. The perfect schedule can be difficult to coordinate. You may put together a perfect schedule off of the course listings, but when it comes time to register through ISIS, you may find that all the time slots you want have already been taken.

So, for your upcoming scheduling needs, here is how to put together the perfect class schedule.

Be realistic. As a journalism major, I am required to take certain classes to track for the major, as is everyone. One of the classes I am taking to track is International Relations. The only time this class is offered is at 8:30 a.m. Now, as someone who has not yet had a class before 10:40 a.m. this is a pretty significant change in my usual routine. Last semester, I took it very easy. I took easy classes and slacked off by not going to some of my 10:40 a.m. classes. I knew if I took International Relations this semester it would be very hard for me to become used to getting up two and a half hours earlier. So, I decided to postpone that class until next semester. That way I have this semester to set myself a routine of getting up on time and I can take part of the summer to get used to getting up early. I am the kind of person that needs a few days to adjust to a change in my sleep schedule so this is perfect for me.

So, please be realistic. If you’re used to getting up at noon for afternoon classes are you going to be able to quit that cold turkey when you have an early morning class the next semester? On that note, don’t pick evening classes if you know you’re ready to crash by afternoon. This semester I have an evening lab for Multimedia Writing and it’s quite a difference in my schedule. If possible, adjust your class schedule to the fit the best times of the day for you. Don’t underestimate your body’s daily routine.

Find the perfect balance. By that I mean find a balance in the difficulties of your classes. Next semester, I am taking Reporting. Ask any journalism major about this class and they’ll gladly tell you the horror stories about its intensity. It is recommended that journalism students take a minimum number of credits while they’re taking this class just because it’s so time-intensive.

Most majors have some kind of class like that. I have plenty of friends who are pre-med and have to take biology and chemistry. Some would never dream of taking the two at the same time while some are because they know they can handle it. Be smart about your classes. Try not to load yourself down with more than one intense class if you can help it.

But on the flip side, don’t take your schedule lightly. Try new things but don’t let your critical tracking go for a semester just to have a break. I’ll admit that I took it too easy last semester. I wanted to go easy on myself for my first semester but I went too easy and ended up bored with classes. Find the perfect balance between easy classes and difficult ones.

If you can, try to squeeze in one class that is fun or just different from anything you’ve studied before. Bonus points if you can find that class and have it count towards your major. Last semester I took astronomy for a science credit. I didn’t want to take the same physical or biological science that my high school offered like biology or chemistry. So I found a completely new science I had never studied before. I enjoyed having something a little different on my schedule and it was something I had never had a chance to learn before.

It helps to have one class that is just a little off from the rest of your classes. This is where gen-ed requirements can actually help you. If you still have to fulfill a diversity requirement then find a class that satisfies that while also being about a subject you’ve never had a chance to study before. Who knows, you could discover an entirely new field of study that you really enjoy.

Try to have a little fun with your schedule, but at the same time, be mindful of how you should be tracking for your major. Also, be realistic. If you know you’re not a morning person, don’t subject yourself to an early morning class that you might end up skipping. Conversely, if you are exhausted by afternoon, don’t sign up for evening classes. You know what works best for you, so stick to it if possible. Registration for summer and fall terms starts at the end of March. Good luck!

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