It’s back to school season, and you know what that means: time to say goodbye to summer and start hitting the books. Here are some things you can do to hack your college schedule and start your semester off on the right foot, even before you even get your first syllabus.
Create Alternative Schedules
You’ve done it. Somehow you’ve managed to create the perfect class schedule, snatching up all the courses you need while avoiding those dreaded 8AMs. But just because your schedule looks perfect doesn’t mean there’s not a kink in the system, waiting for someone to find it. Sometimes professors change session times, meeting days, or class sizes before the first day back. To avoid additional stress later, compile a few alternative schedules with classes you need to take at various times. This way, should something happen to your dream schedule, you don’t have to start back at square one when rushing to design a new one before all the spots fill up.
Try Obscure Jobs
On campus jobs are a great, convenient way to make money without having to leave school grounds. They can be especially great for students who don’t have a car on campus to get to a job. To optimize your schedule even more this fall, check out the more flexible jobs on campus such as dorm receptionists or remote positions. Does your school have a digital publication like a weekly newsletter or prospective students blog? Often times those employment opportunities offer a steady paycheck and the ability to work from the comfort of your own dorm. If you work remotely, you can even make your own hours! Check in with your institution’s career resource center to see what opportunities are out there.
Plan, Plan, Plan
At the start of the school year, all you’re trying to do is make it until Thanksgiving break. But if you can set aside some time to map out some of your more long-term goals, it can really help you optimize your semester. If you don’t know your major requirements, arrange some time to sit down with your faculty advisor and go over exactly what you need to take to graduate on time. Draft a rough outline of what classes you’re planning on taking over the next few years. Doing this means you’ll be aware of which classes are only offered at certain times during the year and you won’t miss out on a requirement just because you didn’t think to look.
Consider Online Courses
If you have a rough work schedule or you want to take two classes but they’re offered at the same time, investigate online courses. Sometimes your school will offer a section or two in each subject online throughout the traditional semester. Even if your university doesn’t offer a way to grab credits digitally, there are other schools that allow you to earn transferable credits online. A word of warning however- sometimes these online sessions are offered at a lower credit rate. Always check to make sure you’re getting the credits you need in order to meet your graduation goals on time.
Deck Out Your Desk
The more organized you are with your work, the better work you produce. To make good study habits, invest in the things for your space and habits for your productivity that will make you want to hit the books. You can remind yourself of important material or appointments with anything from neon sticky notes to iPhone calendar notifications. If you’re studying in your dorm, make sure you have good overhead lighting and maybe a view of grass. Studies show seeing greenery makes you more focused. Just don’t get stuck gazing at the clouds through your open window when you’re supposed to be memorizing Shakespeare!
With a new semester comes a whole new list of struggles. Hopefully you can take these tips and optimize your schedule this fall so you can start your school year off smoothly!If you liked this article, check out some of UnCollege’s other great tips here.