BY SHILPA AMBADIPUDI
When registering for classes, students often find themselves stressed out, not sure how to make a good schedule. First time students either do not know what to expect or don’t know the ins and outs of creating a manageable schedule, but returning students have succeeded in figuring out what does and does not work for them. It takes some time to make the best possible schedule.
As America’s youth grows up, they are pressured to take on more and more in preparation for future points of their lives. By the time someone reaches their junior year of high school, they should already be volunteering and looking for a job. They have to start learning how to use their time effectively to get everything done. However, a high school student has a very set, predictable schedule, at least when it comes to school.
College is a completely different story. Students get to choose when they have class and when they don’t, provided the times they are searching for are available. While this flexibility may seem like a good thing, registration time seems to put more pressure on college students than finals week. There is so much stress that comes along with registration. Just because their official title from the age of 5 to around 24 is “student,” that does not mean that is all they are. Several County College of Morris students have commitments at home, as well as jobs they need to show up to and clubs they need to attend, and they need to learn how to schedule those responsibilities around class or learn how to schedule class around those obligations.
So how do students manage? Psychology major Melissa Aumente had a clear cut idea.
“I used to go to Montclair University, and it was a lot harder there,” Aumente said. “When I was there, I used to start by looking at all the days and times the classes I needed were offered, and made lists with their call numbers with my first preference schedule, my second preference, and so on. On registration day, I’d log in 10 minutes before my registration time and look to see if the classes I wanted were filled up, and if they were, I’d cross out the preferred schedules I’d need to cross out so I wouldn’t waste time trying to register for classes that were filled up.”
Aumente mentioned that it was different now that she was at the County College of Morris. “There aren’t a lot of class time choices at CCM,” Aumente said. “Most classes are only offered at one time. But there aren’t specific registration times. You can log in and register for classes as soon as it opens as long as you see your advisor first.”
When she was at Montclair, Aumente said her availability was as wide open as it could be.
“I had no clubs to schedule around and made sure to only work on weekends so I could focus on school over the week and get the best class times,” Aumente said. “I learned pretty early on that even though I may have to take some early morning classes, I should try to avoid 7 a.m. classes, and I definitely wouldn’t take a 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. class in the same semester.”
Now that she’s at CCM, Aumente works more hours and in order to make it easier on herself, she took as many morning classes as she could.
“I also kept Fridays open, and took one afternoon and one evening class on Monday so that if I work late on Sundays, I don’t have to worry about it interfering with my sleep and class schedule,” Aumente said. “Of course this meant I couldn’t take certain classes I wanted to take this semester, but they are all offered next semester as well, so if I can work as much as I can this semester, I can afford to be more flexible with work next semester.”
Aumente said the best advice she had for making a good schedule was to take mid-morning and afternoon classes.
“Morning classes are okay, as long as they are not too early, but the last thing you want to do is get stuck with a class that runs until 9:15 at night, I find myself finding it easy to get a good schedule at CCM, and even though there’s still some stress involved thanks to the fear that I won’t get the classes I want, it’s not as bad as when I was at Montclair.” Aumente said.
Some students do not find it so easy however. Joel Bockhorn, a business major at CCM, knows that school is more important than a part time job, but did try to schedule himself so he could work more.
“I started a job over the summer last year as a valet, and wanted to keep it, so I tried to give myself as many days off as I could,” Bockhorn said. “I couldn’t just work weekends because Towne Hyundai was closed on Sundays, but I ended up having three classes with no breaks on Wednesdays just so I could work.”
Bockhorn said he’s doing things differently this semester though.
“I quit my job before the semester started, and I knew I was going to do that so I spread my classes around when I registered.” Bockhorn said.
Bockhorn said it was important for him to line up different classes on the same days.
“I don’t want three on one day again, but I also don’t want class every day,” Bockhorn said. “If I can get two on two separate days, and one on another, then I’d have two days off. Last semester I got Monday and Tuesday off, and this semester I have Thursday and Fridays off. If I get another job, I’ll have ample time to work, but still not have too stressful a schedule. I also try to schedule myself with my friends who are in my major and need to take the same classes as me.”
Bockhorn said his advice for students is to try to pick the most efficient schedule that still allows time for a job and activities.
“Oh, and night classes really suck, and night classes on Fridays are even worse, so I’d say try to finish as early as you can on most days,” Bockhorn said. “Especially Fridays.”
Night classes seem to be a grievance of many students.
Aumente said she wondered if professors hated them as much as students do.
CCM professor Jonathan Kalafer did not seem to.
“I think it is always a good time to learn. There are no bad times for class,” said Kalafer.
Biology major Hannah Martin said this answer is, typical for a professor to say.
“They probably don’t have any scheduling issues the way we do,” Martin said. “They probably don’t need to get home at a normal time like we do.”
However, Kalafer does not agree. Kalafer, who is teaching a night class this semester, said he knows the importance of having free time and thinks it’s important for students and professors alike to share their schedules so they can have time for friends and family.
In this way, professors are similar to students. Martin also had a conflict two semesters ago with one of her classes, and her adviser was able to help her revise her schedule so she could take all the classes she needed and graduate from CCM on time.
Martin said that she wasn’t sure if her adviser could do anything to help, but deciding to reach out to her was the best decision she could’ve made.
“It helped immeasurably and gave me a new appreciation for the professors here,” Martin said. “They really do want you to succeed, and they understand that we have scheduling conflicts even if they don’t, and do their best to help. Ever since then I’ve always shown my schedule to my adviser and have her give me her thoughts before I declare it permanent.”
When getting cleared by a professor for advisement, it helps to ask for a recommendation on scheduling.
It’s hard to get the perfect schedule, but by following the advice of other students and teachers, it is possible to make the best schedule for you as an individual, and hopefully reduce the stress that the words ‘registration week’ bring.
POSSIBLE SIDE BAR IF YOU NEED IT FOR SPACE
Things to avoid:
- Night classes
- Early morning classes
- Having too many classes on the same day
- Issuing more importance to jobs or clubs than to class
- Having class every day
Things to strive for:
- Days off
- Classes with friends
- Moderate class times
- Adviser approved schedule
- Allow time for clubs and a job
- Allow time to spend with friends and family