1. Taking classes that I actually like.
As I began scheduling classes, I realized just how vast my choices are now that I've entered an entirely new educational setting. Yes, there are still core courses required for every student, but they don't even come close to filling up my entire schedule. For example, for my first quarter I'm taking classes in a few different areas of interest to see what I like best. Rather than taking classes that I have to take, I'm taking classes that I want to take. What an exciting concept! Even though I'm not thrilled about homework, essays and finals, I cannot wait to learn more about subjects I'm excited and passionate about. A class centered entirely on the multitude and variety of food in Chicago? Sign me up!
2. No more seven hour school days.
Another reason I'm excited to dive into my classes is that I have more free time than ever before. Instead of being in class for seven hours straight, five days a week, I'm in charge of choosing which times work best for me. I decided that it was worth it to cram all of my classes into a three day period so that I would have four days off. This allows me to get more involved with student organizations and activities, pursue my hobbies/interests, as well as, get a job. I definitely won't be complaining about four day weekends every week.
3. Freedom to change my mind.
If I decide that I no longer want to pursue a career in a specific field, all I have to do is talk to my advisor and figure out my best plan of action. College is all about changing your mind and finding what you love, and the lack of pressure to know right away is something that I didn't expect. As an undeclared major, this is especially important to me because I want to see what's out there and sample of variety of classes before deciding what I want to do for the rest of my life.
4. Ability to choose my professors.
Ratemyprofessors.com is an extremely valuable resource for college students across the entire nation. Before scheduling classes, I was able to see which professors would work best with my learning style, and which ones wouldn't be as good of a fit. Even though I wasn't always able to get into the classes with the professors I wanted, being able to look through reviews of all of them was helpful in the scheduling process.
5. Being assigned an advisor.
We all had a guidance counselor in high school, but how many times did you actually meet with them one-on-one? If you're like most high school students, your answer is probably fairly low. In college, it's a completely different story. I've already been assigned two advisors, one is an advisor in my major and the other is an advisor in the honors program that I'm a part of. When I attended orientation, they helped me immensely with scheduling and figuring out a solid plan for my educational path. I had expected to be pretty much on my own because it's college and we're all supposed to be "experiencing the real world" and all that jazz, but my advisors went to great lengths to help me figure things out in regards to not only my schedule, but being a freshman in general. I can't wait to continue to meet with them throughout the year!
6. Less "busy work."
This one is huge for me. Throughout high school, many teachers constantly bombarded me with homework that was not beneficial to either me or my teacher. Frequently, a teacher would give an assignment and tell the class that we needed to do it simply because we didn't have any graded work in yet. For me, this seemed pointless and I tended to get pretty frustrated. Although it's scary that in college your final grade only depends on a few tests/papers, it also makes me relieved that I'll never have to do any more "busy work."
Although my classes will be challenging, having a say in my education makes it a lot more exciting than torturous. More time out of class also means more time studying but hey, at least I didn't schedule any 8 AM's!
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