The title basically says it all. I had classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week this past semester and that was it.
I did not enjoy myself.
I did try to make the best of this situation, but it really wasn’t ideal for me and I’ll do everything I possibly can to avoid it in the future.
I took five classes this spring, for a total of seventeen semester hours. Four of those classes met on Tuesdays and Thursdays, meaning that I spent a total of about seven hours in the classroom on those days. On Wednesday, I had one three-hour class in the morning.
When I registered for those classes months and months ago – last fall – I had no idea just how challenging this scenario would be. I know people who swear by this schedule, but it’s definitely not for me.
For a start, the sheer amount of coursework I was required to do within a short amount of time was so stressful! On any given week I would leave my last Tuesday class and trudge home trying to remember everything I had to do: An essay draft, homework problems, several hundred pages of reading.
And that’s only for the Tuesday-Thursday classes! My Wednesday morning writing workshop was pretty intense, which meant I often had some things left to do in order to prepare for class the next morning, such as writing down some discussion questions about the novel we’d just read.
With the M-T-W-Th-F schedule I’m used to, my workload is far more evenly distributed. I don’t object to the amount of studying and homework I have to do under that system! I just can’t hack having everything smushed together into three days, apparently. Juggling the assigned readings, for instance, was quite difficult in the classes where we read more novels than short stories.
There’s also the fact that I felt burnt out and miserable by Thursday night, but aimless and lazy on the weekdays when I didn’t have class. Oh, I tried my hardest to do all the reading and writing and analysis that was required of me. Frequently, though, my brain went “no class = a day off” when that was actually the very last thing it should have been thinking.
By the time Tuesday rolled around, I would have had four days off, instead of having just the weekend off. (Not to mention that during other semesters I’m already into a schoolish frame of mind on Tuesday because I have class on Monday.) And that just did not work well for me at all. IT’S THE DEPRESSION, YOU GUYS.
Working so hard on three days of the week and then not having many other formal time commitments for the rest of it was not beneficial to me. I try so hard, but I just… don’t have the same amount of energy that neurotypical people do. I kind of already knew that I need balance in my life prior to this semester, but the events of the past few months helped to solidify my conviction that I need to do a little every day to be my best self – not try to do everything all at once.
I don’t want to completely dissuade you from trying out this class schedule for yourself, but it can be tricky. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it if it’s your first semester of college or your first time taking a heavier course load!
Not everyone has the freedom to spread their classes over the whole week, though. Most of time restrictions/conflicts – jobs, limited access to childcare, commuting instead of living on campus – concern older, quote-unquote nontraditional students who have returned to school for another degree or certificate. But these problems can be part of anyone’s life, so I want to make it clear that I do understand that not everyone has the option to take classes five days a week.
It is hard, though. It’s very hard work and I was honestly quite surprised when I received my results for the past semester and saw how high my grades were. (Two As and three Bs!) There were times when I wanted to drop a class, or thought I’d fail one, or didn’t get out of bed for two days straight, but I made myself keep going. And it was worth it.
If there’s anything you should take away from this post, it is this: I want you to think very carefully about this decision, because being in class for seventeen hours in three days and then studying the recommended two to three hours per hour you were in class is no joke. But if you think through all your options and decide to do this, I believe in you. YOU. CAN. DO. IT.