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Scheduling for Success

Although your biggest priority should be planning a well-balanced schedule that helps you work towards your goals, if possible, it is a great idea to plan your days around your personal biological clock.

Laura Magerkurth

December 26, 2014

Scheduling for Success
One of the best perks of finally getting to college—other than the learning experience, the social fun and the increased independence—is the freedom that comes with choosing classes that are, for the most part, interesting. Moreover, there’s the opportunity to choose your own schedule (to an extent). Although your biggest priority should be planning a well-balanced schedule that helps you work towards your goals, if possible, it is a great idea to plan your days around your personal biological clock. Many classes, especially gen-eds or ones that are required for large majors, are offered multiple times a week or even several times a day, so for those it shouldn't be difficult to find times that are most convenient.

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If you’re by no means a morning person, make an effort not to schedule classes before noon. If you often start losing steam mid-afternoon, try to get your classes out of the way before 2:30 in the afternoon. No matter how your schedule turns out, you’ll eventually get used to the times. You may find at first that your eyes droop and you might arrive late to class every so often, but even if you have to get up at an ungodly hour for a crack-of-dawn class, you’ll figure out the right combination of sleep and caffeine to get you through the morning. It’s also beneficial for you to attempt to get into classes with professors that you’ve had before or instructors that you know are excellent. You’ll get to know them better and this will make it even easier for you to ask them for a letter of recommendation if you need one.

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At my school, most classes, except for labs, are scheduled for either one hour on Monday-Wednesday-Friday or for 90 minutes on Tuesday-Thursday.
Many higher-level professors and, sometimes, even entire departments, however, schedule their courses for 90 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays because they prefer to have Fridays off.

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This means that you, too, may enjoy the benefits of a three-day weekend every weekend! It’s a little difficult to get used to at first, but you’ll get in the groove of starting your work on Fridays to make the rest of the weekend that much simpler. If you’re a new student or just unsure of the direction you want to go in your education, a lot of people will encourage you to get your required classes out of the way. This is a good strategy, but I’d also suggest that you take one or two classes a semester that you’re really interested in. If you only enroll in basic math, writing, history and science courses, you may not find that they pique your interest enough to compel you to take more. If you’re interested in writing, take a creative writing class. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about computers but have no idea where to start, enroll in a class that will get your feet wet. Feel like going to Italy someday? Start learning the language! Don’t shy away from courses that start with the word “Introduction”—everyone has to start somewhere, and you have nothing to lose! This also applies to those of you who have declared a major. It never hurts to minor (or even just take classes in) something that seemingly has nothing to do with your actual major. When I toured my college, I met a girl who was majoring in psychology yet minoring in studio art, and I have a friend who wants to be an accountant but has a passion for linguistics as well. While thankfully my schedule next semester is comprised of classes that are all required for my major (no more gen-eds for this girl!) the small size and rigid requirements of my program mean that there is only one time option for each class, so I wasn't able to choose my preferred days and times myself. It’s okay, though; I’m sure I’ll get used to my 8:00 a.m. course, despite the fact that it’s earlier than any of my classes have been since high school. I also was fortunate enough to get Fridays off for the second semester in a row, hooray for me! What about you, Fastweb users? How are your next-semester schedules shaping up? Let us know in the comment section below!

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