Noah Knows Best: Your course load needs to be perfect. Here’s how to make it happen.

Course registration can be a very complicated process, and many wind up unsatisfied with what they choose. Here’s a guide on how to pick a schedule that works best for you.


Kevin Wu

(Kevin Wu for WSN)

Noah Zaldivar, Staff Writer

One of the most stressful parts of college is selecting which classes you’re going to take each semester and when you’re going to take them. You log into one of NYU’s many online portals, pull up the page for course registration, add courses to your shopping cart and enroll. Seems simple enough. 

The issue for most students, however, arises when they try to put together a schedule they like. Some people load up on morning classes, thinking it’ll free up their day, but all it does is make them constantly tired and irritable. Others don’t pay attention to class location, and wind up only having 15 minutes to walk a mile from sociology to biology.

NYU is a highly flexible school regarding how classes are structured and where they take place, but some don’t know how to take advantage of that. In order to prevent problems like these, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to help make sure your schedule — and your semester — are in top shape. 

First and foremost, determine your priorities. When do you feel most productive? Do you plan on getting a job during the school year? Are you a morning person or a night person? Are you the kind of person that uses work as a distraction from your own crippling loneliness and inability to deal head-on with your problems? Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you can get cracking on scheduling.

No matter what kind of person you are, you’re going to need free time. Whether you use that time to do schoolwork, get a part time job, see friends or just explore the city, you need flexibility. That’s why, if possible, I recommend trying to get at least one day a week without any classes, preferably a Monday or a Friday. This means you get a long weekend every weekend. You can treat yourself to a nice lunch, sleep in or even go home for the weekend — the possibilities are endless.

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of being able to structure their week this way, whether it’s because of certain classes or other obligations mandated by their program. To these people, I say, “yikes!” and wish them the best of luck. 

As for the timing of your classes, it’s important to consider how you like to structure your day individually. In general, scheduling your classes for the middle of the day can give you time to grab lunch and get a little bit of work done in between each of them. Morning classes can be a great way to boost your productivity and give you more hours in the day to work. On the other hand, if you’re not a morning person, then don’t even bother. It’s just going to exhaust you for the rest of the day, and chances are you won’t be getting all you can get out of your classes because you’ll be too tired to pay attention. 

Some people enjoy having the day to themselves and taking night classes. Personally, I can’t relax if I know I need to be doing something later on in the day, so I try to avoid them when possible. You should never feel like school is overwhelming you, and maintaining a healthy, consistent routine is key for mental health.

This next tip is very important. Always, and I mean always, look up the location of each of your classes in advance. Not doing your research is a very easy way to stress yourself out once you eventually realize you have a minimal amount of time to go a maximal distance. At the start of my first semester at NYU, I didn’t check the address of two of my classes and wound up giving myself a 15-minute window to walk over half a mile. I shouldn’t have done that. Don’t do that.

Last, but certainly not least, for the love of all that’s holy, research your professors. Rate My Professors is an easy, accessible way to make sure things are going to be peaceful between you and your instructors. Even if your schedule is terrible, and you have to wake up at six in the morning to trek to class, and you have four whole minutes of free time in the entire day, a good professor and an engaging class can make it all worth it.

At the end of the day, you’re not going to get all the classes you want, and you’re not going to get them in the exact order you want — it’s just not possible. But, by dealing with those sucky scenarios, you’re going to find yourself in new situations and environments that could turn out to be life-changing. Every day is a new opportunity, and every terrible class is another reason why you should’ve listened to Noah. Because Noah Knows Best.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Noah Zaldivar at [email protected].