Plan For College
University life is a new start for students. During the process of freshmen fitting into this new environment, they will definitely face a lot of problems and troubles. Unlike when they were in high schools, they will have more courses to choose and take, more decisions to consider, and more skills to develop. When freshmen experience these things, most of them are excited and feel competent. However, the results are not always what they expect. They will gradually find their lives are in chaos since they lack different kinds of plans. As a freshman at UC Davis, I have learned that the lack of long-term studying plans causes students to choose courses blindly and waste precious time and the absence of short-term plans affects their work and exam performance.
Freshmen often take unnecessary courses in the first year when they do not consider long-term study plans. This trivial choice of courses will then affect their whole coursework and career progress to some extent. One common phenomenon is that some students would like to blindly choose courses just to follow their friends since they are lost from the various choices. They do not have long-term goals for four years, sometimes because they are not sure about their majors. Although it is correct for students to explore their true interests in the first year, and even the second year, “many students find themselves [wanting to obtain] two college majors, a minor, or a certificate that may help them later in their careers” (Webb, n. d.), but they should at least have a range of subjects and orientations about what majors to choose when they register for classes, otherwise, they will waste time and have difficulties obtaining their career goal.
For example, a sophomore at UC Davis pouted and said, “The most regretful thing in these two years was I did not do a study plan earlier” when I asked her the importance of a long-term plan for freshmen. Hu decided to double major in both Computer Science and Managerial Economics just in the second quarter of her sophomore year. As I mentioned before, most students think it is normal and not late to choose majors in the second year. However, this affected Hu a lot because the courses she has to take for her double major are too many to finish just in the next three years, even if she takes summer sessions. She said: “I wasted too much time and chances in the first year. If I thought about these kinds of questions earlier, I would have enough time to double major.” Also, the courses she has to take for each quarter are over her ability, so she cannot guarantee a high GPA. She is burdened this quarter and finally decided to take one more year to realize her object. This example shows you will face a severe situation if you do not consider a long term goal earlier.
Time in the university is really short and precious. You have to carefully consider the goal you want to reach. “A study plan is an effective way to help you navigate through your college education in an organized way” (Create a Study Plan, n. d.). If you have a barricade in setting a long-term goal, such as you are confused about the majors, you need to at least choose one or two areas and take relatively basic courses since you have limited time to try different courses and make a decision. If you are not sure if you want to study in Nutrition or Food Science, you can take Chemistry courses first since Chemistry is the required basic course for both majors. Also, plan a deadline to decide on your major and then, reconsider your plan seriously.
Most students face a serious problem with managing their time when they lack short-term study plans. College requires students to have strong abilities of studying because of different due days of homework and exams. When some freshmen first use this new system, it is hard for them to manage their time and easily get left behind. Some mistakes will lead to serious results, such as leaving the professor with a bad impression and getting low scores on tests and assignments; Some students do assignments just several hours before the due date, which largely decreases the quality of work and sometimes even makes students miss some assignments. Some students will then fail courses when this bad habit forms. I experienced this severe problem last quarter that I failed one course because I was late on two major assignments. Life in the first quarter is really fast that it was over my expectations. There were so many midterms and papers that crashed on me that made me could not breathe. I did not find how serious these due days were until I was late on one major assignment, which then reduced twenty percent of my total score. Since I did not do any plan for every day or week work, I tried to keep all the schedule work in my mind, but I usually missed some of them since there was no reminder.
At this time, short-term study plans are especially crucial for students’ daily study. “One goal is to help yourself become aware of how you use your times as one resource in organizing, prioritizing, and succeeding in your studies” (Time Management, n. d.). Here are some solutions mentioned by one of my interviewers Kristine. She is a freshman at UC Davis who had a 4.0 GPA in the first quarter. She told me the most helpful thing to stay in a good academic status is keeping set weekly plans. There are only two steps for setting a plan. Firstly, set a rough plan for this week by checking the syllabus and courses’ calendars. You could know some crucial tasks in this week, such as midterms and major papers’ due dates. You can then plan enough time to prepare for these tasks. Secondly, update the plan every day when you find some changes. These changes could be the changes of original tasks and new tasks need to be added. After you keep doing this every week, you can easily keep your study progress in control every time. All things you have to do in the correct time will be clearly shown in your plan view.
The lack of plans is a really a big and serious problem that leads students to wrongly choose course and manage time. This problem seems small and usual, but will affect freshman a lot. When you are in the first year at UC Davis, you have to pay a lot of attention to your plans at the beginning of first quarter. Your blind choices of majors will slow your whole coursework progress or even more serious that you have to spend more time to realize your goal. Your feeble capability of managing time will also makes your life in chaos. After you read this article, make a plan as early as you can and persistently follow your plan during the whole study life, then you will find your study life is perfectly well-organized and you will feel at ease even when you are facing a lot of work.
“Create a Study Plan.” (n. d.). Retrieved from: http://www.howtostudy.com/create-a-study-plan/
“Time Management.” (n. d.). Retrieved from: http://www.studygs.net/timman.htm
Trisha, Webb. (n. d.). “To Declare or Not to Declare…That Is the Question.” Retrieved from: http://www.collegeview.com/articles/article/to-declare-or-not-to-declare-that-is-the-question