Hey guys! For all of you new Jays reading this blog, you’re in the right spot. Just because you’re already admitted doesn’t mean you can’t read my blog. I’m here to help, and more importantly I’m here to help you. So, here’s some advice from my experience. Both for surviving the classes you’re in now, and for when it comes time to sign up for more near the end of the semester.
First – ONLY BRING YOUR LAPTOP TO CLASS IF IT IS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY NECESSARY!!! I cannot stress this enough. I don’t care how dedicated of a scholar you are, computers are not going to aid you unless you need to take notes really quickly. I attended my Theology class with ever intention of using my computer to take notes and I spent it trying to beat the score of the kid beside me in “Robot Unicorn Attack.” For one thing, I never did and for another I never paid attention. In my 300-level Classics course the next semester, however, I did use it for notes. So, just make sure to ONLY bring it if you REALLY need it.
FUTHERMORE it can also be really distracting to the people around you. For example, see the Rainbow Unicorn Attack guy. Also, my Ethics course last semester had a few laptops and they were almost never paying attention. Some of them weren’t even on facebook and that was the worst – they were blocking the view of the board, not paying attention and you couldn’t figure out what they were doing.
Don’t be that guy.
Second – Find your perfect study place. And actually spend some time there. The library is good for some – it’s quiet and you have resources right there to help you out. For others, it’s really eerie and quiet and cold and they don’t want to spend any more time than they have to there. That’s fine; try Skutt, or the first floor of Creighton Hall, or the study room in your dorm, or that really pretty area in Rigge/Hickson-Leid. It’s really tempting to just work in your room but it can be so distracting, especially if you’re close with your roommate or if you live in a loud dorm. In my experience, you hold yourself a bit more accountable when you’re not “at home”. Also, for bonus motivation, don’t take your laptop charger with you!
Third – when it comes to registration time, use Ratemyprofessors.com. It’s a resource, and it’s mostly accurate, and it’s very helpful. In the end, you may be screwed over with that Anthropology professor that the reviews recommended you enroll an extra semester rather than take, but you may have ended up with the least-worst-rated Theology professor at the same time. Check it.
Fourthly – don’t panic about registration times. They tend to suck, but there’s nothing you can do about them. I recommend that you do not check the nest until about two or three days before you register, otherwise you might end up planning your schedule around class X that is full when you go to sign up. Stop panicking, it will be better next year.
Fact: The time you get for registering, except when it comes time to register for your first semester of your freshman year, is dependent on how many credit hours you have. So, for you readers still in High School – take those dang AP tests, they’ll come in handy next year. Your first registration experience is totally random.
Fifth – actually do your work. Yes, I know, this is totally obvious but I have a story. See, my first semester I was in Math 201. It’s a basic class(and, thanks to it, I never have to take another math class ever again! haha, suckers) and the homework answers were, for the most part, in the back of the book and completion. We would have graded 1-or-2-question “homework quizzes” that we could compare our answers with our neighbors every day, and for the tests she would provide practice exams on blueline that were the same basic format. I barely got my B.
It is so easy to get behind once you miss a single thing. Just keep going, and do the work.
Sixth – going back to preparing for next semester. Talk to your peers about what books they have, and what they need. You can sell your books to them, or buy them from other students rather than the book store. They’re really overpriced(not sorry bookstore!) in most cases. Another resource is bigwords.com (shamelessplug), where you can enter the isbn, and they compare prices all over the spectrum so you can get the cheapest books. There should be a facebook group for your class, and for you freshman that means that older students will probably be posting there too. I’m also fairly certain there’s a book exchange group.
Fact: To figure out the isbn numbers of your books, and what you need specifically without relying on the bookstore to package it all for you, here’s what you do: Go to the NEST, student services, registration, student detail schedule, the term you need, and then “view course materials” another way is after you register, going to the “worksheet” and clicking on the CRN number.
That’s about all I have for you this time, welcome to another awesome year, let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for reading!