Lessons learned at school this semester

This is my first semester taking “real” classes. I’ve done a few electives and even some transferrable work, but this is the first semester where I took a full courseload of transferrable classes and knocked it out of the park, at least I hope so… grades post later this month.

What did I learn? Here’s the list

1) Math classes are better in class than online. Yes, if you are a math genius or already know how to do it, you can and maybe even should take it online. But if you’re unsure or haven’t taken math in a long time, its best to be on campus. They have a tutoring center, not that it was easy to get in there ever, and your professor is an invaluable resource. Even when it was something as simple as “In what order do we take these exponents?” it’s better to ask in class (or after if you’re self-conscious*) than to be stuck at home, with no assistance at all.

2) Check ratemyprofessors.com before selecting a class where you have multiple options. This goes doubly for online classes. You can get stuck with a professor that doesn’t respond to emails or forum posts, and is extremely strict with no way of contacting them when you’re not sure about an assignment. Also, professors are people too, and they have beliefs and agendas. If you’re lucky, they’ll keep it out of the classroom, but that rarely happens. Be sure to find out what their former students think about them, you might find that you wouldn’t want to be stuck with them for 16 weeks.

3) On-campus classes are much easier to prepare for. Yes, you have a lot of deadlines, and yes they are generally at least one a week. Once you get this into your schedule, you may find it a lot easier to accomplish. After all, you have to go to class and turn in your homework or research paper. If you don’t have it, you have to look your professor in the eye and tell them that you couldn’t manage to get it done. Online, there’s no looming figure that’s going to disapprove of your laziness. You just don’t turn it in and collect your zero. Maybe this one is only relevant to some of us who are motivated by disappointment and guilt, but I think it’s a big enough demographic that it’s worth noting.

3a) On campus classes give you more chances to meet and befriend your peers. Even if you’re older and are going back to school after years of working, like I am, you still get to meet interesting people (or kids) and see what views you share. I’ve made judgements about some of my classmates upon meeting them for the first time, only to find out that I was totally wrong after a few weeks of getting to know them better.

3b) If you’re not married or in a relationship, college is an amazing place to meet people. Some study that I’m too lazy to go find now stated that, “4 out of 5 long-lasting relationships begin in college” (unknown). And that statistic is basically made up, but there’s a study out there that says something along those lines. I know that I’ve met some very interesting girls this semester, and if I weren’t married, I would have made sure to include them in my study groups.

Those are the big lessons from this semester. I’m sure there will be more from next semester as well. Keep moving forward, never stop learning, and try to have fun doing so.

* Don’t be self-conscious, you’re paying a lot of money for this education, get the most out of it and screw what everyone else is thinking.**

** The truth is, they’re too scared to raise their hands as well, and are secretly thankful for you asking, because they didn’t know either.***

*** But try not to be the person who asks stupid questions every 15 minutes. We all hate that person by the end of the semester.

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