Some people have all the luck when it comes to class enrollment. During this time of year, you’re probably going to see Snapchat stories or Facebook posts of your colleagues boasting of their perfect schedules for next semester — commuters end class by 2:30pm everyday; residents don’t begin class until 2:30pm everyday. But sometimes enrollment doesn’t always work out since some classes tend to fill faster than others, thereby turning your “perfect schedule” into complete crap (or almost crap). Over the last six semesters, I’ve had some great class schedules and some not-so-great schedules. I actually created my next semester schedule just a couple of days ago, which is why I decided to write this post. Since time is obviously of the essence (speaking of time, when is your enrollment date???) and I don’t want to drag this intro on for too long, here’s what you need to know on creating the perfect class schedule.
Avoid early morning classes if…
- You prefer doing work and studying in the morning. I personally am horrible at doing work at night. I get sleepy around 10:30p.m. because I have so many classes that require so much attention during the day (welcome to college, Jasmin). So, I prefer doing work and studying in the morning hours. Unfortunately, this semester I couldn’t get around having to take an 8a.m., so I don’t have as much time to work and study in the morning. Starting your day with putting a dent in the mountain of assignments on your desk is good because you’ll (hopefully) be well-rested and attentive enough to get shit done.
- You have the late shift the night before. If you work until 3a.m., you probably don’t want just four hours of sleep before you have to wake up for class. If you can’t avoid an early morning class right after your shift at work, try to leave a gap in your schedule after that morning class so you can at least take a nap.
- You have a really long commute in the morning. Personally, I wouldn’t want to sit in an hour of traffic at 7a.m. to get to class on time, but this depends on you. If you like driving in the morning then maybe morning classes are something you would like. But if you’re bothered by the fact that the first thing you’d do in the morning is hit the road for angry car horns, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and your coffee staining the front of your shirt because you just slammed on the breaks to avoid an accident then maybe rethink early morning classes.
- You prefer to sit down for a full, proper breakfast. I have been attending a three-hour 8a.m. twice a week for the last nine weeks and, let me tell you, barely getting to stuff a granola bar in your mouth before class SUCKS. First off, a granola bar isn’t enough to keep me full. Second, there’s no eating or drinking allowed in my classroom. Normally, I’d break that rule anyway, but staff at my school are extremely strict about this because there are computers and other pieces of equipment in there and I have seen people be punished for breaking the rule. Third, we don’t even get a 10-minute break, so there’s no stepping outside to finish up your granola bar. As a result, I have been eating what’s quick and simple for breakfast: junk food. And I hate doing this to myself, so I created a schedule where I don’t have super early classes so I can actually take the time to make a healthy, filling breakfast for myself. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you know the drill.
- You simply aren’t a morning person. Why punish yourself? Figure out what times are best for you to wake up and start classes an hour or two after that. Keep in mind that doing this may mean that you’ll have a few classes that run into the evening, but if you’re cool with that then it’s totally worth it.
Enroll in early morning classes if…
- You’re a commuter and you prefer being able to go home early. I have a lot of commuter friends who make going home after class a priority. A lot of commuters don’t try to stay on campus for longer than they have to and who can blame them — driving up and down for college is NOT easy. If you’re a commuter who doesn’t mind the early morning commute if it means you get to end your day at 2p.m. then early classes will probably work in your favor.
- You study better in the evening/night. Get all your classes over with so you can have ample time to study afterwards. Some people are just better at focusing during this time than others.
- You’re an early bird. Well, good for you. I seriously admire the skill it takes to actually love waking up super early. I’ve had hell in the mornings when it comes to waking up, so to help myself out I started doing a few things to make my mornings more exciting. But more power to ya if you love the rise and grind of 7a.m.
- You enjoy a peaceful campus. I’ll admit that the campus is more peaceful in the early morning than it is at other times of the day. There are no people on their skateboards cutting in front of you at the last minute, no people walking slow as hell in front of you like they don’t have anywhere to be — ah, yes, you can’t argue with the serenity of a campus at 7:30a.m.
I just really wanted to pay special attention to morning classes and when you should and shouldn’t enroll in them because I know for a lot of people (myself included) morning classes can really make or break their schedules, and not simply because of the promise of less sleeping-in that comes with them. Really consider everything above before you decide to enroll in a morning class. But now that that’s over, here are my other tips for having a schedule your friends will be jealous of.
1. Make sure you’ll have enough time to get to each class.
I don’t know what made me think that I could walk from one side of campus to the other for my next class in seven minutes. Oh wait, my degree requirement did. Basically, I can’t even walk that distance on my huge ass campus in 10 minutes. Give me 15 and I’ll make it through the door just a little out of breath. Don’t put yourself through the pain of having to do a 20-minute walk in 10 minutes. Of course, at times it may be unavoidable because of required classes — especially if there’s only one section of a class offered. If this does happen to you, let your professor in the previous class know that you might need to leave five minutes early to get where you need to be on time, and let your professor in the following class know that you might be a few minutes late because you’re basically walking from Mars.
2. Don’t enroll in a class that meets at the same time as your favorite club.
If you live for Culinary club or the dance team at your school, make sure you can actually attend the meetings. My entire freshman year, I couldn’t attend some of the clubs I wanted to because I had class at the same time their meetings took place. Some clubs don’t always know ahead of time what the meeting date/time will be for the following semester, but try to go off of their current meeting time. Usually, they keep it.
3. Check ratemyprofessors.com for reviews on potential professors at your school.
I used to not care what professor taught my classes but then I got a D in a class I put too much effort into. Familiarize yourself with each potential professor’s teaching style. Do this by checking out ratemyprofessors.com or simply asking upperclassmen who took the classes already. This can help you save so much grief by not having to suffer because your professor’s teaching style doesn’t match your learning style.
4. Avoid having class on Fridays.
There have been a few semesters where I has zero classes on Fridays and, let me tell you, the feeling is AMAZING. Usually, many campus offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so it’s really nice to have the whole day to make appointments, run errands, and visit the offices I need to visit. I can also go home at any time on Fridays, or take trips to the city and not have to worry about being back before class. I also like using my Fridays to workout and study. You’re pretty lucky if you can manage to not have classes on any one day of the week, but use that day wisely!
5. If you like taking naps during the day, make spaces in your schedule.
I know many people who have the luxury of having one class in the morning, a break for nap time, and then class again later in the afternoon, and I’m honestly jealous. Well, kind of. I don’t take naps. But that’s still pretty awesome, especially if your dorm room is relatively close to all your classes. Naptime is something to be aware of for next semester, especially if you get limited sleep the night before.
6. Avoid evening classes if you have a long walk back to your dorm or if you don’t like driving at night.
Can you tell that I’m rarely able to avoid this scenario? Late night walks back to your dorm room are nice and relaxing in the summertime or even in the fall, but during the winter time, 0/10 do not recommend. Long walks on icy ground or in blustering breeze are extremely miserable.
7. Throw in a class that’s just for fun.
You can start your day at 1p.m., have ample time for naps, and have the best professors at the school, but the icing on the cake is when you get the chance to take a class that isn’t required of you purely for enjoyment. It makes your experience much more fun. I’m not a Business major but there’s this social media marketing class that I’ve been eyeing for the last couple of semesters. This semester, I was able to enroll in a creative writing class because I wanted a way to get my creative fiction juices flowing again and decided that this was my chance to do so. It’s actually my favorite class this semester! Go out of your way to enroll in a class out of curiosity rather than out of necessity.
What are your tips for creating the perfect class schedule?