As of tomorrow, I register for classes at Xavier University for the start of my adventure as a graduate student. However, before I even contemplated attending graduate school, or graduating college for that matter, I had to worry about the required classes. These classes are ones that a majority of the students at IU will take at one point or another. It is not all easy going classes and graduating college takes hard work and dedication to a better future. It takes going to class, doing homework, and putting up with dreaded classes if only for one semester.
The math department is notorious at IU. Calculus I (and other Calculus classes) is a difficult class and isn’t for individuals who are not willing to put in the work. It is a class that meets almost any of the math requirements for most majors, aside from math majors of course. I took Calculus in high school as a dual credit course through IUB and it was difficult to say the least. The best tip I can give you is rework homework problems, ask questions, ask for tutoring if needed, and do not give up. When you figure out a problem, without a calculator of course, it feels great!
For Finite, the advice I have is very similar to that of Calc classes. Take your time answering questions on homework, but be sure to do your homework. Seriously, any point is better than a zero in the gradebook. A 50% will always look better than a 0% or late assignment. My brother is currently a freshman at IUPUI who took finite last semester. It was rough and I remember him asking me how to complete a problem or where he can look up the steps to practice problems. The more you are exposed to these types of problems and the more you study the theories, not just the answers, the better off you will be. Calculators are useful on homework but are not useful when you cannot use them on exams. Just remember better to learn the material initially than to wait until the night before. Expect long homework assignments with multiple parts and frustration over certain sections of the material. If you have great time management skills, this class will be less of a problem.
W131 is an initial college English class that everyone takes or takes an equivalent of. Once again, I took this in high school. There is a ton of reading and it must be done in order to correctly follow formatting, to write about the right topic and to better synthesize and elaborate on your argument. It makes you a better writer and is actually advantageous even though very much stress-inducing if you are a procrastinator. I actually miss W131 because it was always fun to write a paper based off research you did to support your claim from the resources you read in class. Make sure to write multiple drafts and this is coming from someone who STILL hates writing rough drafts. My rough drafts were torn apart in W131 and it made those papers much better. The more time you spend on your papers, the better. Only sometimes does a quickly thrown together rough draft work out in the end.
For COLL-P155, or speech in non-technical IU registration terms, the more prepared you are the better. These speeches, depending on the topic of the course and your professor, can be very interesting. My lab instructor in the fall of 2015 was hilarious. I hated the lectures but the speeches given by everyone were always interesting.The course has changed since I took speech, but we used to have to watch lectures and take a midterm and final (worth a large percent of our grade). Participate in class and write those outlines. Watch the lectures if there are some given online and really do practice. I still hate talking in front of people even though I’ve been giving speeches since elementary school. The more I practice, the slower I talk during the actual presentation and the more collected I am to finish with answering questions. Don’t be discouraged if this class is your worst nightmare, it will be over soon (so maybe volunteer first to give the speech??)
Two words: intensive writing. Sounds like a nightmare to most people but it actually was not the worst class I have taken so far. However, I do like to write papers and can whip out a long report in a couple of hours. Best tip for this, if you’re comfortable being critiqued constantly on your papers then write many drafts of the same paper and have peers in class or your friends/family review them. For some people the more feedback they get, the better the paper will turn out to be. For me, it was the opposite actually and my papers typically were worse off after being peer-reviewed so I elected to not participate in those days. Be aware of attendance and little assignments that can really make a difference in your grade. We were supposed to tweet a couple times of week with designated hashtags designed to relate to our readings for that day/week. Those points saved many people’s grades. These papers take time to write and it really is miserable to stay up all night writing a paper you had a month to do so.
The foreign language departments at IU are some of the best in the country. Foreign languages are fascinating and why wouldn’t it be fun to learn to communicate with new people all over the world? The best tip for foreign language classes at any level would be to practice vocabulary and complete immersion. In high school, the Spanish classes were forced to be in complete immersion for three or four hours a week (3-4 classes periods a week). It really does make a difference because the more vocabulary and grammar you pick up from talking, the more other things in the language make sense and the easier it will be to understand what is going on in the class. Just be ready to navigate native acc.0ents though!
Want the best tip of them all? Studying for these classes gets you one step closer to earning that degree!