By the SMU Social Media Team
It’s like being at a buffet dinner: The idea of having a gazillion options might be exciting at first, but when actually inundated with so many choices, you lose your appetite as you feel increasingly overwhelmed and stressed. Indeed, having to pick your own classes might feel like a heavy responsibility. But rather than thinking of it as a “make it or break it” decision-making process, embrace a systematic plan to ease yourself into a new curriculum.
1. Go beyond the core
It might sound logical to cram all your requirements into the first semester to “get it out of the way.” But ensure a good mix between requirements that lead you towards a possible major, and other classes that add more dimension to your skillsets. It might not seem like a class in a humanities department would add much to your business degree, for example, but it might just improve your writing and communication skills — essential for any course of study or even career.
2. Take it easy
Always been a straight A student en route to university? Allow yourself some time, however, to transition into this new phase and avoid overloading your first semester or year with more classes than recommended. You might just excel — beyond academic performance — with some breathing room to make new friends and explore other interests.
3. Talk it out
Personally ask your seniors or other students – whether face-to-face or in an online group – about their favourite professors, and why they enjoyed a particular class. An inspiring lecturer could transform a subject commonly perceived as boring into one that is stimulating and worth waking up in the morning for.
4. It’s not a popularity contest
On the flip side, while it’s great to seek suggestions from your seniors or peers, don’t stop at feedback as a means of making a decision. A less-than-popular class might delve into a subject that doesn’t interest a wide audience, but might be personally appealing to you. Take a calculated risk and use this opportunity to seek out unexplored fields.
5. Get assessed
Conduct your research on how a particular module is assessed. If you excel at presentations and being a team player, perhaps a project-based course would be more appealing. That said, push yourself by honing new skills and strengths, rather than simply focus on getting a perfect GPA. Ultimately, when a subject really interests you, that top grade is going to come naturally.