Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Woo! You’ve made it this far and are hopefully preeeetty excited about starting Freshmen year. There’s so much to look forward to from the giant sports games and parties, to finally being able to feed yourself cookies for dinner. Hold on, though. Don’t get carried away too fast–you still have classes to think about.

Planning out your first class schedule can be messy. Sometimes your college will block you into a schedule or prepare a guide to help you choose your classes, but that’s not always the case. Here are a few quick and dirty tips to keep yourself on track your first semester.

Hold off on taking your major courses

Unless you plan on taking an intro course, steer clear of major classes; we mean it. Your first semester of college will be a whirlwind of just trying to figure out how life works after high school. College academics can be even harder than those tough AP courses, which means that it’s good to set yourself up for success your first semester with classes you know you can do well in. Pick and choose from your best subjects and guarantee yourself an A+ and a big pat on the back.

GE’s are your best friend

No truer words have ever been spoken for the young freshman student. So many of you will be lost, wondering how in the heck you are supposed to commit all your studies to just one major when there’s a plethora to choose from. To ease the pain of choice, use your first semester to take major intro classes that also cross list as GE’s to get a feel for what interests you. Eventually you’ll figure out what you want to study based on that awesome bio lab you took or super interesting psych lecture, while still acing your first college classes. Piece of cake.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many classes

If you’re the type of person who is excitedly trying to take all the classes you can because you just love college sooooooo much, just breathe and hold back for a second. Like we’ve said before, first semester academics will feel a lot different than what you were used to in high school, and it might be a smart idea to take a light class load of just three or four lectures instead of taking the max amount units allowed to you. In this case, less is definitely more.

Taking a writing seminar will save your life

Even if you plan on being an engineer, you can’t get by in this world without being a literate, competent writer¬–especially in college. Most school’s will require you to take a freshmen writing seminar, and for good reason because having decent writing skills are necessary in any field. We’re not saying that you need to be an English major champion, but knowing how to write more than your typical five paragraph essay is pretty cool.

Start working on that foreign language requirement

Not every college will require you to take a foreign language, but for many liberal arts and business majors, having a second language under your belt will be a significant benefit when you enter the career world since it sets you up for international communication. Language classes can tend to get forgotten in the rush of exciting seminars and labs, but it’s best to get them out of the way early or intersperse them with really difficult classes. After two semesters you’ll be a Spanish or Mandarin speaking champion (which is a great trick at frat parties, just saying).

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the author

Gina Escandon is an English major at Cal Poly SLO, who lives vicariously among all the engineers and architects, and spends a lot of time holed up in her room writing for The Prospect or Her Campus. The one true love of her heart is Disneyland, and she one day hopes to live in a nice studio apartment with a bunch of puppies and a Keurig of her very own. Gina is so thrilled to be writing for The Prospect and sharing her semi-useful knowledge with you folks.

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