Andy Carr, Intern for IBJ
In high school, every day is a set schedule; school is a routine block of time in the middle of the day, and it’s pretty much continuous from beginning to end. Wake up, go to school, participate in whatever extracurricular activity you may be a part of, and go home in the evening to do your homework. Your time is pretty regimented, and it’s easier to know when you will and won’t have time to get things done. In college, you may not start class until 2pm one day. On another, you might have a three-hour break between class in the middle of your day. It can become difficult to narrow down a consistent time to work on out-of-class assignments; you won’t always be able to count on evenings to do your work. The best way to deal with this is laying out your weekly schedule, and making note of the time you have available to work between classes. That way, you can work on your assignments throughout the day instead of letting them pile up in the evenings. It sounds simple enough, but it’s amazing how many people (myself included) don’t take advantage of their time during their first year. Get in the habit early.
Another issue that comes out of having classes all over the clock is that sometimes, lunch isn’t accounted for. Classes in different departments don’t keep each other in mind when laying out time slots, so you could end up with a Finance class from 10:00 to noon and a Biology class from 12:10 to 2:00, which likely doesn’t leave you enough time to get food. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do to avoid this is try to schedule your classes so you have a break when you need it. Many schools do online registration on a first-come, first-serve basis, so the greatest help you can give yourself is waking up on that early morning of registration day to be one of the first people registered. If you do, however, find yourself without a lunch break, you better be getting up in the morning with enough time to pack a lunchbox or swing by one of the dining options beforehand.
You may be asking, “All this hoopla about scheduling classes, and I’m just hoping to make friends!” That’s a reasonable concern. Many students find that they are the only person from their social circle or high school going to their respective college. It can be daunting to think about being stuck in a place with multiple thousands of students, all unrecognizable. But fear not; you’ll likely make some of your best friends during your time in college. Here’s a tip: don’t worry too much about trying to make friends until you get there and are settled into your routine. Many universities provide social networking services for incoming students to find friends, but, frankly, my recommendation would be to not bother. You may connect with some people of similar interests, but more than likely, you’ll have drastically different schedules, or you’ll find that your common ground was relatively superficial. You’ll meet plenty of people in class and in whatever activities you involve yourself in. You’re better off looking for clubs or teams you can join based on your interests. That way, you’ll be spending quality time working with and getting to know like-minded people; it’s a much better way to make meaningful relationships than looking through a list of names on a website. So, don’t worry about showing up with no friends; just be open to the idea of meeting new ones, and put yourself out there to make it easier to meet them. More than likely, most of your peers will be feeling the same way, and they’ll be looking for friends too.