Challenge Yourself

One of the scariest and most exciting moments as an incoming freshman at the University of Illinois was class registration. I remember being herded into a large computer lab with 30 other students, expected to know what classes we were supposed to take. With a dangerous case of “senioritis,” my mindset was to register for the easiest classes I could while satisfying as many general education requirements as possible. If I had to guess, I would say many of you incoming freshman are thinking the same thing.

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

My advice today: register for courses that will challenge you, stretch your thinking, and, well, satisfy those general education requirements.

The first semester of your freshman year will be tough regardless of which courses you take. You are in a time of adjustment and new freedoms, and it can get a bit overwhelming. But believe me when I say this: getting your tougher courses out of the way right off the bat will pay off.

For all of you education majors, I’m really talking about MATH 103. I had a very tough time with that course and actually ended up switching majors because of it (though now I couldn’t be happier with switching to middle grades education). MATH 103 will challenge you, stress you out, and reward you greatly. Hard work really does pay off in your next four years.

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For example, would like the chance to study abroad for a semester? If you work hard and get your coursework done, and if you succeed academically, studying abroad is a very possible (and incredible) option. For me, hard work led to the opportunity to take a semester off and focus on building up my resume through working and volunteering. Plus, saving money on tuition, of course.

When you register for your courses, use the students who are there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask them if a course is historically easy or difficult, and don’t be afraid to take the courses that may seem impossible. After all, college has an incredible way of stretching your thinking in ways you could never have imagined.



Class of 2020
I am studying Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Social Sciences and Literacy in the College of Education. Although I now reside in Champaign, I am originally from Vernon Hills, a Northwest suburb of Chicago.