Amanda Blackman’s declassified school survival guide pt. 2

Students can follow these tips to make the most of core classes.
Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

Everyone has been there: finally taking a core class requirement that’s been shirked off semester after semester, but there are some classes that just don’t appeal to some students and some that are just plain ol’ painful that need to be suffered through. Here’s how to make this sucky situation a bit less miserable. 

Go to class. Yeah yeah yeah, the last thing that’s going to come to mind for these classes. But listen: If motivation is low in class, think of how low it will be outside of class. Studying is hardly likely in these scenarios. Absorb that information as it comes. Also, don’t fall behind. Playing catch up with low motivation is a losing battle. 

Don’t procrastinate. Think of it this way: Hating the class a little now means most likely hating it even more in the future. The sooner that presentation gets finalized or that term paper gets turned in means that the pain of doing the assignment will be shortened. Students should save their future selves from agony.

 Talk to the professor. While their class might feel like the worst, let them know what’s going on. Get to know them so they can learn more about the student they’re teaching. Chances are if one student is struggling in the class, many more are. Give them feedback about aspects that are a struggle with, and who knows, maybe it can make the class less terrible for everyone else. 

 Focus on subtopics you like. Most gen-eds have open-ended assignments. Take advantage of the broad scope and find a way to focus on what is actually interesting. Criminal justice majors, write that research paper about a cold case. Information systems majors, give a presentation about database systems.  

 Make friends in the class. Nothing brings people together like common hatred. Finding someone to vent to alleviates the dread of going to class. Or who knows, maybe a class rock star can help out in studying and sharing their passion for the subject. 

Remember that this is temporary. If everything has been done to keep the class in perspective, or at least marginally interesting, and it just isn’t working out, remember that this class is only four months. Four months and then all of the papers can be recycled and the textbook can be sold. Once it’s over, it’s over for good.  

Remind yourself why you’re in it. This is college. When graduation day comes, the magnitude of this achievement will overshadow this class. Life will not be this class. Life will be pursuing passions with a degree, a.k.a. not this class. College isn’t meant to be easy, so when things get hard, keep the end in sight. 

 Not every class will be amazing. Some classes are guaranteed to not spark joy. Just remember, this class isn’t all of college. Think how good it’ll feel to check that core requirement off and move on to the classes that do spark joy.

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