Here’s a true story from my freshman year:
As an admitted student to Illinois, you usually register for classes late spring in your senior year of high school. Such was the case for me. This meant I had my class schedule set for at least a few months before the semester started. Except I, in all my infinite wisdom, decided that I needed to change my schedule two days before first day of classes…without consulting anyone. I changed classes and altered the time for another. For those keeping track at home, that’s four out of five classes altered. It was a total panic move, and an attempt to “gain control” in a situation which I felt (for whatever reason) was decided for me.
Later, in October of the same semester, I met with my academic advisor and she told me I had already completed my foreign language requirement. There was no need for me to take the (deceptively challenging) Italian 102 class I panic signed up for. However, because it was already mid to late October, I couldn’t drop the class. Obviously, I’m not proud of this story. And, undoubtedly, most of you might think “this kid’s crazy, there’s no way I would do something like that.” I hope that’s true, but just in case, here goes:
You need to meet with your academic advisor at least once a semester. I made it my rule after the freshman year debacle, and it has served me well ever since. Your advisor is your friend. Want to graduate a semester early? Your advisor knows how to do that. Want to know what gen-ed classes to take when you have options? Your advisor can provide info on what might serve your situation best. Want to study abroad and need to schedule classes accordingly? Your advisor can do that. And then some.
Meeting with my advisor gave me peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about what classes I need to take anymore. I know what my GPA needs to be for study abroad. And, I know that if things go wrong I have someone who can help. I have had all of my classes planned out and ready to go for over a year now. It’s not a brag, it’s what happened when I told my advisor what I wanted to major and minor in. She walked me through it in about 15 minutes. One 15 minute conversation figured out the next five semesters of my academic life. Even Geico can’t beat that. Talk soon.