Tips & Tricks: Scheduling Your Classes

How is it possible that it’s already July?! Summer usually seems to fly by but none as fast as the summer before your freshman year of college. I remember feeling like so much had to still be done even the week of move-in; but everything works out and I promise, you’re more prepared than you’re giving yourself credit for.

Sooo let’s just take it one day at a time! If your school is like mine, this month is around when you would be scheduling your classes. At Michigan State University we get to schedule ours during orientation, the first time you have some assistance from students working at the program, but every other time it’s completely on your own. Of course you can receive guidance from your counselors with specific questions to keep you on track to graduation, but there are a few things to keep in mind when scheduling for the first time.

Some students go into scheduling thinking that they should take advantage of their new freedom and spread their classes out so they have large blocks of free time between each. I found it to be much more effective if my classes were for the most part, back to back. The likeliness that I would use an hour or two between class to study rather than sit on social media isn’t extremely high..soo knocking my classes out right away left the afternoons dedicated to studying.

The above being said; distance needs to be factored in as well. Michigan State has a very large campus, getting to class isn’t always going to be a five minute walk. Take this into consideration when deciding on your classes. Have a campus map near by while scheduling – would it be easiest to take the bus, walk or bike? I found myself using my bike more than anything and even made 20 minutes between classes doable.

Time; are you more productive earlier in the day or later in the afternoon? Having class in the morning gets you up and going, starts your day off at a good time to use the maximum amount of hours (which still somehow there never seems to be enough of in a day). But, maybe not too early; if you think you’d be more focused in class if they began in the afternoon, the beauty is you can do your best to pick that too. Keep in mind though, some classes are only offered at certain times – you can’t win them all, but you can try 😉 Personally I have found that I do my best with my classes ideally starting around 10am, it allows me to feel fully rested while still having enough time to get ready and eat something quick for breakfast too.

Something I think some students overlook while scheduling are thinking of factors that don’t exist for them yet. For example, eventually having a job. At this time you possibly don’t have a job but maybe at some point during the school year you will. Of course assignments and class come first but it is helpful to have an idea. Would you like to potentially work before class, after or in between? With my on campus jobs my bosses have been very helpful with scheduling work around classes and haven’t run into any issues. I will usually just bring my work uniform with me in my backpack so I can head there right when class gets out.

It can take time to get your schedule the way you pictured it. I have spent hours reorganizing mine over and over to make everything work. You’ll have the perfect idea in your head and truthfully it probably won’t ever end up exactly that way. You’ll realize the classes you want overlap or they’re not offered on the day you hoped they were. Maybe you’ll get stuck with a Friday class you didn’t want or a class you need to take is full. As frustrating and time consuming as this may be, it always ends up working out – sometimes even better than you had originally thought. Keep optimistic and don’t give up on rearranging; keep an open mind. Even when you think you can’t figure it out, you can. Some of the schedules I ended up with that I thought were going to be absolutely terrible turned out to be some of my favorite semesters ever.

Once your schedule is finalized you’ll be able to get an understanding of how you can start to fill this new life of yours. You’ll be able to see where you have time to do the things you have always loved doing and also find new things you don’t even know you love yet. With my first semester’s schedule on some days I had time to work out at the gym in the morning before class, after class I had time to join a club where I met lifelong friends. Quickly my new life – which was very different than high school – became to feel better than any days I had known. It has only consistently gotten better year after year; this is one of the first steps as it’s all starting to get real – but don’t stress, I know you’ll love it!

Sincerely, Sienna

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