The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The woes of crafting a class schedule

This week marks the seventh straight week of classes since the semester started, and except for Labor Day there’s not been much rest in between. In light of this year’s nonstop nature I’m sure the upcoming four day weekend is gradually becoming all the more necessary (and similarly difficult to wait for).

For me though, I know when it gets to be midway through the semester the one thing I look forward to most is seeing next semester’s course offerings. Whenever I discover which courses are going to be offered, sometimes I spend more time planning the next semester’s schedule than I do working on my actual work for my current classes, which can be problematic at times.

There’s something about setting aside time to plot out credit hours, course subjects, professors, course times and all the other factors that go into making an ideal schedule that can be really appealing. And of course since all of my friends are overachievers we like to spend a lot of time talking about scheduling so we can ensure we’ll actually graduate on time amongst considerations of multiple majors.

But sometimes picking classes isn’t always so fun. You might have a semester where you’re saddled with multiple courses for a single major, which might make you never want to look at the subject again. Or, it might get to the point where you’ve been putting off all your GEC requirements for too long and you have no choice but to take them all at the same time. No one wants to be taking classes they don’t enjoy.

Unfortunately, like it or not, a good schedule can really make or break your semester. Some people end up being able to make a schedule where they don’t have any classes on Friday, which seems to be the holy grail of class scheduling.

Of course, the problem one often encounters there is that all the other classes have to be stacked back to back on other days like Tuesdays and Thursdays, which can make for quite a long day indeed.

I know I for one have nearly all my classes on Wednesdays (one of which is an hour and twenty minutes) as well as meetings with at least three different clubs, and by the time I’m actually done with all my obligations by 9 p.m. I’ve received such an intellectual beat down that I don’t even want to think of looking at schoolwork.

While college certainly gives a lot of latitude in class selection, sometimes things just aren’t going to work out to your liking. I can guarantee you that you’ll have at least one class within your major that’s only going to be offered at 8 a.m. and attendance is going to be part of the grade so you’re not just going to be able to show up to the exams and skip all the lectures.

Alternatively, at some point you might have to take a class at night that meets once a week and goes for three straight hours. While such classes can certainly be engaging at times, three hours is a long time to sit for any subject. And it’s likely you’ll have friends in the same boat as you, so you’ll at least have people with whom to commiserate, but nothing can really remedy the dissatisfaction of a lousy schedule.

That’s not to say that you can’t make the best out of a bad situation though. One piece of advice I always offer people is this: when it comes to scheduling, always leave room for at least one class that doesn’t relate to anything in your major.

There’s always the chance that it might put you at 18 hours, but that’s certainly not the end of the world. It doesn’t even have to be an elective; everyone has to take at least a few perspectives while they’re here. Don’t look at them as an obstacle in the way of you graduating early or SMU trying to squeeze more money out of you for extra credit hours.

Your perspective or cultural formations classes can often be some of the most rewarding classes you’ll ever take here. I know I still have one perspective left to take before finishing my GEC requirement, and I’m planning on taking a drawing class. As a dysgraphic, I cannot reproduce any sort of signature and my handwriting is illegible to anyone but me. I don’t have a single artistic bone in my body and I can’t draw a circle, and that’s exactly why I’m looking forward to taking the class. It’s one subject in which I’m completely illiterate, and I feel like it’s the one thing from which I can benefit the most in learning it.

You’re not always going to have the chance to take classes in as diverse of subjects as our perspectives offer; take advantage of the chance while you can.

Brandon Bub is a sophomore majoring in English and edits The Daily Campus opinion column. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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