My freshman year of college was 11 years ago, which is a horrifying realization to make. Add that to the fact that i’m writing this before starting a busy day of work conducting compliance audits when it’s 95 degrees out and there’s no AC. Things are great, I swear. But we all grow up, we all move on, and college becomes a distant memory. During those magical four years though, you tend to pick up a bit of wisdom on how the process works. Dos and Don’ts if you will. One of the most important aspects of shaping the time you have at college is your class schedule. Going in as a freshman I had no guidance. Sure, they give you guidance counselors, but mine wound up forgetting I was 3 credits short on my minor and I had to take a summer class post grad. So who can you trust, really? Well i’m here to give you freshman out there some expert advice on how to design your fall semester schedule.
1) For the love of god, do not take 8 am classes. I know you’re coming from high school where the day starts earlier, but trust me, the only thing you’re doing is setting yourself up for disaster. One of the most basic concepts that somehow gets lost when you’re making your schedule is that this is college, and you WILL be drinking excessively. Sometimes on nights you don’t even expect.
“Tipsy Tuesday? What’s that?” – a dumb college freshman somewhere
The point is, you never know when alcohol and your friends may strike, so plan ahead and don’t let those fun nights ruin your morning.
2) Avoid classes that are more than twice a week. Most colleges have the Monday/Wednesday/Friday cycle, three times a week for 50 minutes. This is my advice to stay away from that nonsense. Twice a week, either the evening Monday/Wednesday or the Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Hell, go for the once a week if you can. Save your time and energy and show up to something less.
3) If possible, give yourself a three day weekend. Now, you’re probably thinking this means Friday, Saturday, Sunday. That’s not a terrible thing, and if if it works for you, use it to your advantage. My advice however is take the Monday off instead and this is why. You’re in college. Productivity on a Friday is going to be shot regardless of whether you’re in or out of class. Even most professors run their Friday classes a bit half-ass. It’s almost the equivalent of showing up to study hall sometimes. Fridays and Saturdays rule, go have some fun. Now Sunday is where things normally get tricky. If you have shit to do on Monday, you’re most likely cramming on Sunday. Congrats, you just played yourself. Why waste a perfectly good weekend day, especially when there’s football to be watched and wings to be consumed. Kick your shoes off and relax, you’re not an adult yet so don’t set yourselves up for the Sunday Scaries way earlier than you need to in life, because let me tell you they are the worst thing on planet earth. Now you have Monday free to get all your work done while everyone else is busy with class. 10 points for Gryfinndor.
4) Do not sleep on night classes, especially mid week. I know this isn’t for everyone, but hear me out on this. You are eventually going to have to take a night class if we’re playing the odds. Better to get used to them early so it stings less later. Usually these classes have some of the older crowd in them too. You’ll run into people taking part time classes, trying to earn their degree after a hard day of work. A noble pursuit. You’ll also run into lots of seniors who need those last three credits on some nonsensical course to satisfy an elective requirement. My point is that some of these older folks are probably taking better notes in class than you’ll ever take, so not a terrible idea to make a buddy in case you feel like blowing off a class, which will start happening more and more once you figure out which professor’s don’t take attendance.
5) Try and be social. Class is where you’re going to meet most of the people you spend time with the next four years. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommates. This doesn’t really apply in the beginning of college, but as the years roll on, try and schedule classes with your friends. It makes the time fly by and you’ll eventually get some laugh out loud stories like my friends and I did (especially if the class is an acting class.)
So I say to you today college freshman, enjoy it while it lasts. Make memories and make smart decisions. And to all you college alum, please let us know if you think we’ve missed anything via Facebook, Twitter, etc. We’d love to know what tips and tricks got you through that first semester of college.