Simplifying Scheduling

Freshmen orientation: it’s a barrage of information about university versus college requirements (what’s the difference?!), credit hours (how many do I need?), and individual course loads (how do I go about constructing MY ideal schedule?). It’s all a little overwhelming, not to mention more than a little confusing—at least initially. This is the beginning of a process that will largely define the academic aspect of the rest of your college career: registering for classes. You have your newly printed DARS Report and a course catalog in front of you, but where to go from there?

Well, the first stop is to your Tier 1s and Tier 2s, also known as “university requirements,” which are the most basic, fundamental classes available—courses that every Ohio University student takes to graduate.

The DARS, which is essentially just a compilation of the classes that any one OU student must pass in order to earn a degree, as well as minors or specializations, lays it all out for you. Required classes appear with minus signs to show that you have not yet completed them. Conversely, plus signs accompany the courses that you may have already garnered the credits for (by testing out or from high school AP classes). Your DARS is specific to you and your particular area of study, which is where your “college requirements” come into play. It may seem like a lot of mumbo-jumbo at first, but believe me, it soon becomes so familiar. You’ll pore over and scrutinize that DARSeach quarter.

But for now, as an incoming freshman, you’ll most likely sign up for a lot of introductory core courses. These are your General Education Tier 1s and 2s.

Since seniority rules here at OU in regard to when students get to sign up for classes and classes tend to fill up, freshmen should prepare an alternative schedule in case their first-choice classes don’t work out. I would even recommend an alternative for your alternative.

Don’t worry, though. If you don’t get the journalism classes that you want right away, they’ll still be there when you really need them. After taking Journalism 101 last quarter, I tried and failed to enroll in the next class in my sequence. By the time my scheduling date rolled around, all the open spots were full. This led me to fill up my schedule, this quarter and last, with general education requirements—classes that I saw as pesky placeholders to endure before focusing on my major. Between then and now, I’ve realized just how wrong I was.

The core requirements I’ve taken, instead of simply boring me with useless information to forget soon after taking the final exam, actually did just the opposite. It’s become apparent to me how my knowledge from my core courses can and will contribute to my future career in journalism.

My Sociology 101 and 201 classes, both Tier 2s, have taught me to see the world through the “sociological perspective,” drastically changing the way I view many social issues such as poverty and racism. I signed up for Soc 101 by default, not knowing what else to take, and it ended up being my favorite class fall quarter.

Because topics from my sociology classes, especially social issues, piqued my interest, I wrote fairly in-depth research papers about affirmative action and the social implications of Hurricane Katrina for English 151. I expanded my knowledge on these topics and refined my research skills. Many of my sources for these papers came from the media, such as magazines, newspapers and even the radio, proving the integral role journalism plays in every issue and debate, and demonstrating how it brings them to life.

Even from my statistics class provided relevant and interesting information when we learned how data can be distorted and statistics manipulated when presented to the public. In my opinion, this is important for future journalists concerned with media bias.

One last piece of advice: talk to other students! Ask about interesting classes to fill up your tiers. There’s so much to learn and knowledge to one day to apply to a news story or an investigative reporting piece. As journalists, we need this assorted view of the world, since no one wants to be the boring writer who only writes about writing!

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