*Written in December of 2019, Amelia writes about her experience with University workload. Read about her experiences below!
One of the things I was most curious about as I came into college was what the classes would be like, and how heavy the workload would be. Before choosing a college, I read a lot of reviews on sites like Unigo and Niche. Something I noted that was a constant among many reviews of Tufts was this idea of a very heavy workload. This made me incredibly concerned about my ability to keep up with classes and get the ‘college experience’ while still keeping up my grades. I also recognized that high school classes, AP or otherwise, would be entirely different than college classes. This made me nervous- college classes were an unknown, and I worried I wouldn’t have the skills to cope with them.
I can fortunately tell you that college classes were not nearly as bad as my fears made them out to be. Currently, as a first semester freshman, I am taking 5 classes for a total of 17 SHUs (semester hour units). I should also preface this by saying that there is absolutely no need to take on an overwhelming workload your first semester. I found my first semester fairly manageable, but I think part of that is because I did research about the workloads each class would have. I know students taking less SHUs than me who are just as busy with their work, if not busier. Do what feels right for you, and try to not feel the need to push yourself too hard during your first semester.
Classes vary a lot based upon the professor and the subject matter. I’m taking an introductory science class right now in order to complete one of my undergraduate distribution requirements. I am not a huge science person, but I do really enjoy the material covered in the class. That being said, this is one of my harder classes to prepare for. It’s completely different from any high school course I have taken, which I think is why I struggled more at the beginning. The class is entirely lecture-based, with no outside readings or homework. When I studied for tests, it was entirely based on the notes I took in class, which was really challenging for me, since I had never really learned how to take notes in high school. To cope with this, I started asking my friends in the class to share notes and study with me. I found this to be immensely helpful, and can fortunately tell you that I will not fail this course.
Other classes are really easy to study for. I’m taking a course on religion right now, and it’s one of my favorite classes. I truly enjoy the readings, and the professor explains things in a very straight-forward manner. Additionally, before tests he gives us an outline of what we may possibly see on the exam, and well as the format. With this information, it’s much easier to tailor my study plan in a way that works for me and the structure of the exam.
As a whole, the structure of college classes vary greatly from class to class. And they are harder than high school courses. That said, the great thing about college courses is that you can actually learn about what interests you. Moreover, I’ve found the teachers to be much more engaging as a whole. Perhaps this is also because I deeply care about what I’m learning about, and I’m surrounded by people who also care. So try not to let a fear of a differently structured class or an unfamiliar workload discourage you. In my experience, college classes are far better than high school courses, and with good time management skills, the workload is definitely manageable.