Every semester it’s the same for me — I get a bit ambitious. I peruse the boulevard of classes in the schedule trying to play out the “perfect” semester for both me and my family. But even more than that, I try to find a way to go that extra mile when it comes to classes. “I can handle 15 units…maybe even 16 if I just find the right ones.” And some of you may do REALLY, REALLY well (and I commend you), but I am not one of those people! So here is my brief bullet-point list of thoughts when it comes to “Adding, Dropping and Everything in Between”
- Uncertainty. So you need to carry a full-time load but you are feeling a bit “iffy” about a course or two. That’s fine, add the extra class and then if you feel that the “iffy” class isn’t going to work you can still drop it. You should be able to tell within the first two class meetings.
- Dropping ≠ quitting. Dropping a class because you realize it’s not what you expected isn’t terrible. You aren’t a “quitter” for dropping…you are being sensible. You can always take the class the next semester (or following year depending on the frequency of the course).
- Try to stick to 12 units (or whatever the full-time load is). I know some of us are overachievers, but you want to make sure you have time for studying, homework, children, home life, etc. Don’t overdo it just to get one more class marked off your list. The last thing you want is to overwhelm yourself to the point of dehydration, constant pony-tail hair and children not remembering who you are! Remember, slow and stead wins the race!
- Leave breathing room for that thing called life. I know this may sound like it belongs in the bullet just above this, but I cannot stress to you how often life happens at the most “interesting” times. You want to be able to adjust your schedule accordingly.
- Research. When figuring out your schedule, invest some time in researching the class and maybe even the professor. There is this term called “Goodness of Fit” (no, not the math version) that refers to how well a child and teacher will work together in regards to the child’s temperament. I believe this similar idea can be attached to professor-student relationships as well. Same goes for classes — while there are some classes you must take in regards to your major, when it comes to general education classes you have quite a range to work from. So investigate before you commit to just one option!
- W’s — I know, I know. They are scary and are like the pirates black spot to most people. However, a few W’s isn’t going to mar your transcript. It is far better to have 2 W’s than 2 F’s. If you thought that the class you enrolled in was going to turn out much different, or if you have had something unavoidable come up in life – take the W. Don’t be a tragic hero.
I hope this list helps. I suppose I could call it “tips” but really this was just me “thinking out loud” for those of you who have dealt with adding, dropping and the repercussions of both! Overall, you want to avoid putting yourself in to a situation where you have way more than too much on your plate. It is more important to learn something and learn it well then to cram in an extra class or two in order to graduate early. Enjoy your time in college, don’t let it be a blur!