One of the greatest advantages of college over high school is that you get the freedom to take the classes you want to take. With this, you also get the opportunity to build your own schedule. You can choose when your day starts, when it ends, what breaks you have, if you have any days off, and much more.
Building your schedule for your first semester can be a little rocky because you aren’t on campus yet. Once you begin to stay in the dorms and attend classes every day, you learn what type of schedule you like, and what you want to avoid. As someone who has been on campus for a few weeks, here is what I have learned regarding creating the perfect schedule.
My whole life, I have been an early-morning person. During the school year, I was usually up between five and six o’clock in the morning to work on homework, work out, or just take my time to get ready. In the summers, I played softball and was always getting up early for practice. On days we didn’t have practice, I was getting up at six-thirty to get ready for work.
Contrary to what many people say, when I came to college, this aspect of me did not change entirely. Of course, everyone has their own experiences, but if you are an early morning person in high school, there is a chance you will still be an early morning person in college, it just may not be as early as you are used to.
Starting your classes at eight thirty is not ideal, but do not let it intimidate you. If your class is offered at a different time of the day look into it, but if eight thirty is your only option, or if the professor you want only teaches at eight thirty, do not worry. I currently start four out of the five days of the week at eight-thirty. As I build my schedule for next semester, I am hoping to be able to start an hour or so later.
For those of you who are taking science courses that require a lab, my greatest suggestion is to schedule your labs in the morning. Most labs are in blocks of about 3 hours. I speak from experience when I say that getting this long block of class out of the way early in the morning is so much better than getting out of lab at five or even eight o’clock at night.
If you get your lab out of the way in the morning, you will have the rest of you day to catch up on work, maybe attend a few other classes, or just relax.
In planning my second semester schedule, I am hoping to have both of my science labs in the morning, one at eight and one at nine thirty, on separate days of course.
Ending time can depend greatly on when you start your classes. If you have early morning class, such as eight thirties or nine thirties, you will want your day to end early, around one or two. If you start your day later, such as eleven thirty, your day will have to go a little longer.
If you stretch your day too far out, it will feel like you are spending more time in class than you actually are. Additionally, if you are someone who doesn’t start your homework until after you are finished with classes, and you stretch your day out, you will be crunching to finish your homework at night and potentially staying up later than you should.
This leads to the next point I’d like to address, breaks.
While creating your schedule for the University of Iowa, you may be thinking that the campus is too big to schedule classes back-to-back. I am here to tell you that, with a few exceptions, this is not entirely true.
I personally enjoy having classes back-to-back because it leaves me more time in my day to do other non-class-related activities.
If you feel you need a break for lunch, due to location of classes, or for some other reason, I suggest doing an hour’s break. This is enough time for you to get to your next class, maybe work on a little homework, or grab something to eat, but it won’t take too much time away from your non-school hours.
These are just my personal recommendations for creating a schedule. A few other things to take into consideration would be what time you want to be done of Fridays, scheduling around a job or other commitment, and the location of classes that are far away.
However your first semester schedule ends up, do not worry. In this semester you will get to learn and discover your likes and preferences. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to incorporate these into your future semester schedules!