Sunday, January 25, 2015

5 classes to add to your university schedule

You may already have too many classes scheduled for this year, to begin with. Also, your hobbies and social life barely fit into the few free hours left. How can you add more classes and keep your life together? Fear not because these particular classes will actually maximize your time and will add quality to your university experience. 
Here are the extra classes you should consider this year:

If you only choose one class, then this must be it. The first thing you should master before you dip into the pile of textbooks and projects is your time and energy. If your university doesn’t offer such a class, you will have to find your own source. A few good places to start are Creative Live, Skillshare, Iversity and Udemy, that offer short courses or in depth classes, usually for free or a small fee. Podcasts are another great source of information, that can be listened to while on your commute, during breaks or while exercising. If you prefer the good old way of learning through books, pick one or two and go through them. If all else fails, read trustful websites (Lifehack, Popexpert and Levo are a few great ones) and blogs that provide helpful advice on the topic.

Taking a sort of time management class will help you get more organized, focus on long term goals and cut down your time by developing optimization systems for daily tasks. If you embrace the right habits, you will get more done in less time, worry a lot less because you will have control over your schedule, time and energy.

If you already play a certain sport or are part of a team, this is already crossed off your list. For the rest of you, going to the gym will require additional time and effort, especially in the winter months, so having your physical activity in your university schedule will make it easier to stick to it. Consider anything you like, from swimming to yoga. Persuade a friend to attend the class with you, so it will be more fun.

Committing to a physical activity class will give your body a break from the long hours spent sit or in front of the computer. It will also prevent you from crushing down during stressful and sleepless exam periods. Not long into it and you will appreciate all the negative feelings being released and welcome the fresh energy burst.

Whatever it is that you already enjoy doing or something you have been curious to try for a long time, it’s time to sign up for a class. Most universities provide a wide range of extra curricular classes and it will be easy to find something you like. If not, try to join a group of people with the same interest. It could be as simple as a book club or as specific as you like. In case you prefer more individual hobbies, sign up for an online class, which you can find on Craftsy, Skillshare and many other websites.

Scheduling time for your interests and hobbies is a healthy practice to keep a balance between what you have to do and what you love doing.

Having an extra class in what you are studying will help you shift the perspective and boost your confidence. At the end of my first year of studying Architecture, I invested in a private AutoCAD (a technical drafting computer program) class. The same lectures were held during the second year at the university. What I got out of taking the class early was confidence during the class, more time to practice (which I wouldn’t have during the second year with all the load) and more experience to tackle other classes and projects (for example, I could represent an idea better in less time for most other classes). 

This concept takes different meanings for each field of study, so find what might be of interest to your subject. Invest on a private coaching session with an expert, take an advanced class or use your summer break to get ahead of next years most challenging areas for you.

While not technically a class, you should preferably apply for an internship as soon as you can. This will not only make it easier to gain a paid one (or several ones) and land a great job upon graduation, but it will give you what no class can – practice. We are aware that things in every industry are far from what we learn through books, so getting out there on the real world as early as possible will help you gain knowledge and will also give you confidence to prioritize your time and effort according your goals. 

The internship should be tightly related to something you are passionate about, otherwise you will find reasons to drop out of it. Being around encouraging people will help you evolve and be proud of the extra time you are spending. Just try to land a flexible opportunity, with a few hours commitment each week, so it won’t eat up time from your studying. 

Doing several internships from early on is particularly beneficial for those of you who are considering freelancing or entrepreneurship before or after graduating.

| Love, Lisa |

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