Success is all in the plan

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Welcome to my first and only installment of how I am going to help you, the exhausted and overwhelmed student, to not only transfer from Skyline successfully, but have a bit of fun while doing so. I’m speaking from personal experience, so do trust what I have to say. So let us begin.

See a Counselor It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it helps. These people aren’t those same lazy, worthless counselors that you dealt with in high school. No, these people actually care for you and want you to transfer as soon as possible. Being as lost as I was early in college, the counselors helped me figure out the ins and outs of college, and what classes I needed and should take to transfer as quickly as possible. Make sure to see a counselor at least once a semester. Also, it’s advisable to try to schedule an appointment with the same counselor over and over again. This way, this counselor will become more familiar with you and your goals, because if you keep switching around counselors, you might cause confusion for yourself, as different counselors may give you different advice on what classes to take and what you should strive for. Not only will the counselor inform you of how many or which classes you need to take in terms of general education, but they are available for vital transferring information as well.

Balance Your Schedule When I would schedule my classes for the upcoming semester, I would balance my classes based on how hard or easy I thought they would be, but also based on diversity as well. You obviously want to take as many easy classes as possible so that you pass all of your classes, but you also want to challenge yourself so that you don’t get bored throughout the entire semester either. Not only that, but take as many different classes as possible. For example, taking a Science, Math, English, P.E. and electives class in a semester would probably be a lot more interesting than taking two math and three science classes. The more diverse your classes are, the less likely you’ll have to load up on one aspect of general education at a later semester.

Be Realistic I learned the hard way of what I can and cannot handle a couple semesters ago, as I took the daunting task of enrolling in 19 units. I literally said to myself, “Hey, don’t worry, you’re a hardworking student. You can handle this.” Well, I was wrong. Not to mention the fact that I was practically working full-time. Granted, I passed all of my classes, but I was up between practically 1 to 3 a.m. every night, either studying for a test or doing homework. On top of that, I had no social life whatsoever, for staying home on a Saturday night became a consistent routine. Depending on your job and how often you work, you should take somewhere around 12 units if you’re working part-time, and 6 units if you’re working full-time. And if you’re not working, then you should take around 12 to 15 units if you want to attend school full-time. Think about it: taking three classes and passing all of them is obviously a lot better than enrolling in five classes, failing one of them, and dropping the other.

Seek Help I know how embarrassing it can be when you’re struggling with a course and you need to seek the advice of others for help. Of course we pride ourselves in trying to learn this hard, new material on our own, but we need to realize that we need help sometimes. So that’s where the TLC comes in. These people, both faculty and students, are here to offer tutoring service in Math, English or any other material you need help with. They work right at school, their hours are flexible, and they’re more than willing to help (it’s why they’re here). But if the TLC isn’t your cup of tea, then ask a teacher or classmate. Teachers obviously want to help us learn the material so that we don’t struggle in the class. Just because class is officially over, it doesn’t mean that the teacher’s services are over as well. I’ve talked to teachers both before and after class to help me with assignments or clear up material, and they’re more than happy to oblige. And if that doesn’t work either, then ask a classmate. Not only will this person be willing to help clarify things in simple terms, but who knows, you can end up making a good friend in the process. However, if you choose to neglect this rule, then you may unfortunately face the dilemma in the next section for my next advice.

Don’t Get an F Well…duh. Of course you don’t want to get an F in any of your classes, but if you’re on the verge of failing, then drop the class. Sure, having a W on your transcript doesn’t look all that great, but having either a D or an F looks even worse. Many students make the mistake of thinking they can pass the class even though they are struggling mightily with the material. They have this mentality that although they’re getting a bad grade in the class, that they can bounce back if they ace the next test. That’s easier said than done. A lot of the time, a huge exam or paper occurs after the last day to drop the class, and as opposed to taking the safe route and knowing when to quit, the students refuse to give up and set unrealistic goals for themselves, such as having to get an A on the next exam, paper or project. So if you’ve been having trouble through the first four months in class, don’t think that the light bulb inside of your head is going to light up and lead the way for the last few weeks of school. Also, it’s not a huge problem when you withdraw from a class, because you can retake that same class and replace the W with a better grade, or you can take a class that is of the equivalent.

Kill Two Birds With One Stone While at Skyline, go for a certificate or AA degree. “Why?” You ask. Many of the classes you need to take to obtain a certificate or AA degree fulfill general education requirements at the same time. Granted, you have to take a couple extra classes or elective classes to fully obtain the certificate or degree, but you might as well leave Skyline with an extra achievement, especially one that you can put on your resume. Going for this goal can not only help you find your eventual major, but it increases your chances of both transferring to a 4-year institution, and getting a job as well. You need 60 units to transfer out of a junior college, so you really have nothing to lose if you go for it.

Have Fun Obviously, this is the most important advice of them all. Make the most out of your experience at Skyline. On average, you’re going to be here for at least two years (depending on how well you follow my steps), so make an effort to get to know people. Join a team or a club of some sort. I did the same when I decided to join the newspaper staff, and not only was it a lot of fun, but I’ve made a lot of great friends along the way. You never know…you could meet your next best friend, or better yet, your sweetheart.

So if you have followed of all these rules and still haven’t transferred out of Skyline, then you either missed a step or did one incorrectly. Seriously, I’m just joking with you. However, each student has their own success on how to transfer as swiftly as possible, but I figured that since this is my last semester at Skyline, I could offer a little insight. So farewell and may you achieve whatever your goals may be in life.