Creating your college schedule is equally the most dreaded and anticipated experience for freshmen. If you’re lucky, a good schedule can allow for a four-day weekend that can be spent in typical college fashion, if you catch my meaning. Or, if you’re not a morning person, you can try and organize all of your classes to start after 12:15 so that there is plenty of time to sleep in. The ideal college schedule is one that you will spend your four years here perfecting and trying to obtain. You’d best get a jump on it now.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the perfect college schedule is a myth designed to give hope to the underclassmen come registration. There are too many factors, including upperclassmen filling spots and seat capacity, that affect the actual execution of the ideal schedule. Not to mention that Fairfield’s Core and specific major requirements tend to muck up those late-morning or long-weekend plans.
You, the class of 2019, will be registering at this Orientation. While you may be tempted to just throw any class you can get into a sequence that will allow for plenty of free time and late mornings, I would caution against it. I know that it’s very early to be pulling the “plan for the future” card, but speaking from personal experience, I wish someone would have urged me to consider that at my own Orientation. It’s never too early; you’d rather have taken the time to sort everything out instead of scrambling and stressing fall semester of your senior year.
For those of you who are entering with a declared major, look at the Core requirements for that particular school and try to register for some of those classes in addition to those of Fairfield’s Core. If you are coming to Fairfield undeclared, then register for some of the general electives that you will need in order to graduate. My advice would be to complete the religion requirements first; this is not always a subject one can take when abroad. Additionally, it would be beneficial to take religion and philosophy classes earlier rather than later because by the time you are a sophomore, you will have declared your major and you will want to focus on your major classes instead of these more work-intensive types core requirement.
I touched upon study abroad briefly and while I know that you’re only freshmen, if you are considering this opportunity at all, I would advise you not to complete all of your Core as soon as possible. As many classes pertaining to majors are not accepted at foreign universities, I would save Core classes for time spent overseas. Taking your visual and performing art credits abroad would be a much more rewarding and interesting experience. Imagine studying Giotto in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance or taking archaeology in Ireland like me, where we learned about the development and different types of castles. We even went on a field class and explored a few different ruins in the surrounding area, such as the castle at Clonmacnoise. Trust me: Getting out and actually seeing the art and buildings itself is more fun than simply looking at it on a PowerPoint slide.
You will not be meeting your academic advisors this Orientation, so I would suggest meeting and talking to your advisor when the school year begins. I will be honest and admit I did not do this; my advisor was not as helpful to me as she could have been. As my advisor was in the Dolan School of Business, she was knowledgeable about what I needed to complete to fulfill my business requirements, but was unable to help me plan out my schedule for my double major in English. This left me to have to take initiative on my own of my schedule. While some of you may not be faced with such a dilemma as mine, my point still stands: get to know your advisor. They are a resource of knowledge about classes and can point you in the right direction if you are ever having problems. You can also change your advisor if you switch majors or if you happen to grow close with another professor who you would prefer to go to for guidance.
When scheduling, also be mindful of classes that can count in more than one area. If you plan to take on a minor, some of the those classes that count towards your minor requirement can also count for your Core. For example, if you are a women, gender and sexuality studies minor, you can take a 200-level history course as part of your Core that is WGS-focused to also count for your minor. Look online at the course catalog for classes that can fulfill multiple requirements, especially if you are a double major or pursuing a minor.
Now that you’ve thought about all of the logistics of what classes to take, it all comes down to timing. Having just graduated high school, you’re probably imagining that waking up and going to an 8 a.m. class isn’t that difficult at all. But it’s so much tougher than it sounds. The same goes for turbos, which are classes that meet once a week for two and half hours. While some of you may be used to block scheduling, sitting in a classroom for that length a time for only once a week can be challenging; you have to perfect your time management skills and balance the amount a reading that must be done for the week. I personally like turbos, and taking one or two a semester for me isn’t a problem. But I would cap my turbo at two a semester and personally evaluate if this type of class is right for you.
I know that this is a lot of information to take in and it may seem overwhelming, but I hope you take this as constructive advice for your futures. As you excel here at Fairfield over these next four years, you may not always have the ideal schedule. However, doing what you can to graduate on time is what really matters. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from professors, good luck in all you do and for those of you that have a four day weekend — enjoy.