A (long) Day in the Life
Hello from Week 7! Midterms are still in full swing, finals are coming up soon, and the class offerings for next term just came out -- what better time to do some reflection on what a typical day looks like for me? Students here take anywhere from two to four classes a term. This doesn't seem like a lot, but our ten-week terms mean that our professors try to squeeze what would be learned in an entire semester at other schools (or a year in college-level high school classes) into ten very short weeks.
A typical day for me can be either pretty hectic or pretty calm. Classes here are offered either on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays (MWF) or Tuesdays/Thursdays (TThr) and a few different slots are offered for classes later in the day. (Check out our class schedule here.) Classes that are MWF run for about an hour and five minutes, while TThr classes run for a little over two hours. There are also “X-hours” that some professors require while others do not use them or are optional -- these classes are almost an hour long and meet usually on either Tuesday or Thursdays.
My schedule this term feels a lot like high school. I take four classes a day and have a break in between two of them to grab some lunch and get some work done. Since I am taking four classes, my extracurriculars this term are very much “do at home”; I have sporadic meetings mostly on the weekends and do everything else online (like writing this blog!). I also teach Spanish Drill every MWF morning from 7:45-8:35 am (Colleen’s post sums up drill pretty well!).
The good thing about having all these options in class scheduling is that everyone eventually figures out when they work best and what classes work for them. I would never take a 6B willingly -- although they only meet once a week, they meet for three hours from 6:30-9:30 pm. A few of my friends love it, though, since three hours allows for more class time discussions, or viewing a film, etc. Most of my friends, however, will never willingly or happily take a 9L again (9Ls start at 8:50 am).
I learned early on that I cannot focus in two-hour classes. Although most professors give a break halfway through the class period, I would end up tired by the second half and wouldn’t absorb information as well. Nowadays, I try to take classes that are offered MWF unless I absolutely need/want to take a TThr class. I also work better earlier in the day -- it helps me get more work done since my days are longer and keeps my afternoons free for studying/running errands/etc. Usually, I’m up by 7:15 am and end up going home around 9 pm to fall into blissful sleep by 11. Then again, that’s the goal. The norm -- especially during midterm season -- looks more like this: waking up 10 minutes before drill and rushing to teach, not getting home until midnight or later, and falling into a deep slumber only to do everything again the next day.
I'm still trying to figure out my perfect schedule for peak academic performance -- but until then, I'll keep testing out new combinations of classes. The beauty of the ten week term is just that, it's over in ten weeks and I can try again.