In the third installment of a three-part series, our summer intern Celia shares more insights and expertise to help you build your best course schedule.
What are you doing outside of class?
In the first two parts of this series, I discussed classes, study habits, and priorities. But when deciding how many credits to take, there’s one more factor to consider: your other obligations. Is this the best time for you to be taking extra credits or should you wait until next spring? Take into account your specific circumstances and how other commitments may impact your semester.
Are you working or applying for jobs/internships?
For me, work is a constant. If you have a job, think about what it is, how much time you spend at work, how important it is to you, and what kind of toll it takes on your mental, emotional, and physical resources. If you’re getting class credit or industry experience, if you have a lot of responsibilities or it tires you out by the end of your shift, it might not be a good idea to add more to your plate. Depending on these factors, it might also be time to take fewer credits. Don’t forget that internships and jobs can be just as important as your classes, so make sure you leave yourself time and energy to be successful in those roles. And if you’re applying for positions, that, too, takes effort. Set aside time each week to focus on the job search, and make sure your schedule can accommodate that.
Are you doing any extra-curricular activities?
Does your dance team practice three times a week? Are you the treasurer of your service organization? Do you spend an hour coding for video game club each day? Whether you’re on your organization’s executive board or not, if you care about the work you’re doing or if you put in consistent time and effort, remember that overloading on classes could take away from that. Prioritize and make the decision that’s best for you.
Are you relying on scholarships?
During my college career, I’ve relied heavily on scholarships and loans, and these often have rules that can include a minimum credit requirement or GPA. Keep that in mind, and don’t jeopardize your scholarship by overestimating yourself. And, just like everything else, if you’re constantly applying for new scholarships, remember that it takes time.
My final piece of advice: Take advantage of your time at college. Learn everything you’ve always wanted to learn and take classes that truly interest you. If you want to take 18 credits every semester, go for it. I did, and it was completely manageable. But classes aren’t the only things that matter. Your other activities, roles, and achievements are what will round out your college experience. Use your time wisely, and find your passion. Don’t worry if you have to stay an extra semester, or an extra year, if that’s what it takes for you to be successful. Everyone is different, so don’t feel a need to do what you’re told to do or what you’re expected to do, do what’s best for you.
Celia M. is our marketing intern and a senior at Miami University. She is double majoring in creative and professional writing with minors in interactive media studies and disability studies. After graduation, she hopes to move to the city and begin her career in the publishing industry.
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